By Kyle Boldin
When considering female athletic inspirations, a couple names come to mind: Venus, Serena Williams, Simone Biles and Rhonda Rousey. All outstanding athletes in their respected fields, all with accomplishments that will inspire generations to come. So much so, the next generation has already been inspired, one of those people being senior Alexis Porter.
Hailing from the great state of New York, Porter has carved a name for herself in the world of women’s wrestling. She began her career as a young child, where she would be used as a wrestling dummy, for her older brother, as he practiced his moves. As time went on, Porter began to pick up the steps, and shortly after seeing her raw talent, her father placed her in a minors wrestling tournament amongst her male counterparts. After obtaining third within her first tournament, her wrestling career was just beginning.
Starting from the ground up, Porter often felt she had to prove herself, amongst her fellow teammates. In seventh grade, she remembers having a coach who, for an entire season, only called her “the girl.” It wasn’t until the end of the season when she gained a voice on the team when her coach began calling her Alexis. Continuing into high school, Porter became a three-time Junior Women’s Freestyle National Champion, and maintained a 20-12 record as a senior competing in New York State D1 Boys division. Her wrestling has even allowed her to travel abroad, as the US representative, competing in different international tournaments all across the world including France, Croatia, Serbia, Cuba, Sweden, Spain and Canda. As her career continued, various wrestling programs across the nation began scouting for her talent. But rather than attending a school with an already established program, Porter wanted to make an impact. While visiting schools, she fell in love with the McKendree landscape, and after talking with the head coach Sam Schmit, she signed to become a McKendree Wrestler.
When Porter first began at McKendree, the female wrestling program was in its beginning stages. With only a year prior, she saw McKendree as the opportunity to create a legacy, for generations of wrestlers to come, the chance to make her mark. Whether she is encouraging her teammates on the mats or waking them up for early morning practices, Porter’s work with the team continues to show every day. Fellow teammates Brenda Reyna, Andrea Sennet, and Felicity Taylor have competed for team USA in the Junior World Wrestling Championships in Trnava, Slovakia. While another fellow teammate Brandie Lowe was crowned the 191-pound champ after pinning and tech falling her way to the title match which she posted a 5-2 decision over teammate Destane Garrick. The team as a whole share the accomplishment of ranking third in the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships. Rain or shine, the team can always count on the Alexis Porter cheer section.
After college, Porter plans on competing in the upcoming 2020 Olympics before officially hanging up the unitard. While her career begins to come to a close, she looks back on her journey as a wrestler, on the laughs, the lifelong friends, the cross-country bus rides, the hardships and her accomplishments. She’s reminded that no matter where life takes her next, wrestling will always be a part of her life. Not just the records she set or titles she won, but the message she inspired that will resonate for generations of wrestlers to come: “you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”