Mirror Sports Writer
A lot of stories have been written on these pages about outstanding high school athletes – baseball players, softball players, boys who excel in football, volleyball and basketball, girls who excel in basketball and volleyball and so forth.
But this is the first one I’ve written – and I believe the first one I’ve seen – about a girl who can beat boys in wrestling.
There is such an athlete at Santa Monica High, a junior named Jasmine Green, who prefers to be called Jazy.
She has won three state individual championships and has finished second in the nation in competition with girls. In addition, she finished second in the Ocean League boys’ competition. In the state meet she defeated a boy in three straight matches before being defeated.
How does she do it at 115 pounds or less?
“She’s in the top one percent of strength among girls,” said Samohi wrestling coach Mark Black. “She has the strength of 70 percent of boys her age.”
Green is one of three girls who wrestle in boys’ meets at Samohi. She is regarded to have the potential to ultimately qualify for the Olympics.
That’s in the future. Green has one year of high school competition left.
“If she could reach the state in boys’ competition, that would satisfy a goal,” said Black. “She’s an outstanding student, someone who asks the right questions, works extremely hard, asks for no considerations because she’s a girl. She has superior technique.”
She’s also a fierce competitor and has a trait the great ones have in any sport.
“I wouldn’t want to oppose her if she lost her last match,” said Black. “You might get her once but it’s unlikely you’ll get her twice.”
Green competed in gymnastics and other sports when she was growing up in Santa Monica.
“She was an elite athlete before she got to us,” said Black. “She was third in the league as a freshman. She defeated seniors. She’s a real, true athlete.”
Black was the Samohi wrestling coach in the ’70s. He left in the ’80s and Norm Lacy became the coach. Lacy, best known as the last coach to win a CIF football championship at Samohi, coached a wrestler named Laurence Jackson, who is considered to be the best in Viking history.
Jackson was undefeated in three weight classes for three years. He joined the army, became an all-army wrestler and is believed to now be serving in Iraq.
Green has the potential to obtain a college wrestling scholarship. Should she become Olympic caliber, there could be wrestling for women by then. In the last Olympics, women’s wrestling was a demonstration sport in four weight classes.
Black, who returned to coach Samohi wrestling in 1987, is working with another premier Westside competitor in his duties with the Santa Monica Bay Wrestling Club.
She’s Hannah Askren, from Hamilton High, who became a three-time All-American and is trying to qualify for advanced international competition.
Samohi has another excellent wrestler in Yousef Syed, who didn’t place but won several matches at the state meet.
“In wrestling there isn’t Division 1, 2, 3 and so forth,” said Black. “There’s one class, and if you’re in you beat the best from 890 schools. There are 400 in Southern California alone.”