It’s hard to pin someone like Melody Barrows down. Not only is this Westfield High School senior an honor student who scored a five on her AP Psychology exam, but she is also a member of the Spanish Honor Society, a cadet student teacher and mentor, involved in community theater and has recently signed a letter of intent to wrestle with Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan next year.

“I started wrestling when I was in the sixth grade,” she says. “I knew my dad did it, so when the middle school team came around looking for new members, I asked for a piece of paper.”

Needless to say, her new athletic interest raised a few eyebrows from those who didn’t think it was appropriate for a girl to hit the mat, but Barrows would not be dissuaded. In an effort to ready her body for competition, she trained at a local gym before joining the team in the eighth grade. She said there were a fair amount of teammates who didn’t feel comfortable wrestling her, but eventually she won them over.

“I worked hard to be accepted by my teammates,” she says. “I didn’t always have a practice partner. There were times I couldn’t get any matches at the meets because the other teams didn’t want to fight me. I get it, but it was hard to make people believe that I should be here.”

Her persistence paid off and she’s proven herself to be one of the top female wrestlers on the Indiana Girls Team. During her sophomore year, Barrows took second place at the North Regionals and third place in the State Tournament for high school lady wrestlers. The following year, she took first place at the North Regionals and second at the State Tournament. She hopes to complete the circle this year by taking first at state.

When she is not training, Barrows is involved in choir both at school and at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. She also takes part in theatrical productions at Westfield High, Carmel Civic and Westfield Playhouse.

“I’ve been in Guys and Dolls, Grease and Legally Blond and it’s a lot of fun,” Barrows says. “We do a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. In between those, I wrestle so it all works out.”

Barrows says time management is the key to keeping her various activities on schedule as well as the work ethic she learned from her parents Misty and Chris. She had no doubt that she will rely on those same skills next year when she is at college and striving to train, study and get the most from the experience.

“I’m going to major in history education with a minor in theater so I am still going to be involved in productions as well as the wrestling team,” she says. “The good news is that they are willing to work with me in order to make it all fit so I won’t be pinned into one box any time soon.”

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