The power of perseverance: How Diamond’s Josey Crisp overcame the odds

Sports

DIAMOND, MO. — One of the most basic, yet important lessons athletes learn almost from day one
Is about never to give up. Even if the odds aren’t in your favor, you never know what can happen.
The journey of Diamond high school wrestler Josey Crisp is the perfect example of the power of perseverance.

Standing on the mat at Cable Dahmer Arena, getting ready to wrestle in her first girls state wrestling match is something Crisp never actually thought she’d be doing.

“It was a goal to get here but I didn’t think I could actually do it,” said Crisp.

The first ever girls wrestling state qualifier in diamond high school’s history was now on the big stage.

“She’s worked hard. Both here and the girls we’ve had in the room,” said Diamond wrestling coach Bill Gray. “We’ve all worked hard and being able to put us on the mat on the state level is huge.”

But to understand the magnitude of this moment for Crisp, it’s important to know how she got here in the first place.

She’s only been wrestling for two years, but she’s come a long way from where she first started.

“I was really bad,” said Crisp. “I’d just fall over and I wasn’t comfortable touching people at all and I wouldn’t talk to anyone.”

Crisp caught on quickly and was getting better by the day.

“Josey has become the teacher,” said Gray. “She was only the one of the two or three returners we had in the room so she was teaching as well and I think that helped her confidence getting into it.”

Her improvement translated into a stellar regular season. She even set a new single season win record within the program. When it came to the post season, Crisp placed well enough at districts to advance to sectionals where she would face some of her biggest challenges yet.

Not only did she have to take on the #1 seed in her first match at sectionals, but she was going into it with a heavy heart. Just a few days before she was set to compete, her mother passed away. Despite everything that was working against her, Crisp was determined to succeed anyway.

“I feel like there was this doubt and I didn’t like it and I was like why am I thinking that,” said Crisp. “Like, I can do this and people around me were like ‘I don’t know.’ So I was like I can prove them wrong.”

During that first match, Crisp was down by one point heading into the final period. While she may have been down, she was far from out.

“She worked hard and got through towards the end of the period and hit a roll and caught the girl and was on top of her with like 20 seconds left to go and ended up pinning her with 10 [seconds left],” said Gray.

Josey had won and after securing a victory in the next round, she made it to the sectional finals.
Almost everyone in attendance that day, even people with other teams were rooting her on.

“It was just a situation where Cassville, the whole Cassville section was right there behind me in the corner and just they got into it and it was a good time,” said Gray.

While she may not have won the sectional championship match, she did secure a spot in the state tournament to the pleasant surprise of so many and even herself.

“It meant a lot to me that I got that far when I was placed in a really bad spot and like all odds were against me basically and I proved them wrong,” said Crisp.

Josey lost her opening match at state. But like she’s done several times before, she fought back to pick up a win in the consolation bracket before getting emliminated.

If there’s one thing we all can learn from Crisp, it’s that when life has you down, it can bring out a strength from within you that you never quite knew you had.

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