Mountain Ridge girls wrestling continuing to progress, Fulks leading the wayJan 05, 2024 09:58AM ● By Josh McFadden
Maddi Fulks, in the center with the white shirt, placed second at the 6A state girls wrestling tournament a season ago. The junior has high hopes this season as she works to compete for top honors once again. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Birch)
With a sport as new as girls wrestling, teams are bound to have inexperienced competitors. At Mountain Ridge, there are some newcomers, but it’s nice that wrestlers like Maddi Fulks has some matches under her belt.
Fulks is one of the top wrestlers on the Sentinels’ team, having started as a freshman. Now a junior, Fulks has emerged as a team leader and steady performer on the team. It was largely thanks to someone else that Fulks got involved in the sport and joined the Mountain Ridge squad.
“I got interested because I had a friend who wrestled, and she convinced me to join,” Fulks said.
Prior to the 2020–21 season, girls who wanted to wrestler could join their schools’ boys team. But the Utah High School Activities Association sanctioned girls wrestling in 2020. This gave Fulks and high school girls like her more opportunities to participate. She loves competing and overcoming challenging obstacles.
“I like winning,” she said. “I also like knowing that I participate in a hard sport. It's hard but super rewarding.”
Head coach Brandon Birch is thrilled to have Fulks and counts on her not only for results on the mat but to help the other girls on the team. He also appreciates her daily efforts inside and outside of the wrestling room.
“[Fulks] is a valuable addition to our team,” he said. “Ever since her first year as a freshman, she has demonstrated strong leadership abilities, and they've gotten stronger every year. She works hard every day in practice and in the classroom.”
During her first two seasons with Mountain Ridge, Fulks qualified for the state tournament. Last season, she placed third in Class 6A in the 170-pound class.
“She is poised and ready to make another run in the state tournament,” Birch said. “She is one of the captains on our team and is a great example in every aspect a coach would want. She is an awesome person as well. She is well-liked by everyone and is a friend to all. Our team wouldn't be the same without her.”
Fulks echoes what her coach said. She wants to perform well at state once again and find herself at the top of the podium this year or next. For her team, Fulks is hoping the Sentinels can put together a strong season.
“My goal is to place in state again and get first place at least once,” she said. “My goals for the team are getting past the second round of state with more wins than losses. We need to work even better as a team and work as a unit and not for individual successes alone.”
As a wrestler, Fulks said she has good stamina and can continue to give her best and produce even during long, grueling matches. She sees herself as a good motivator too—someone who can inspire and lift up her teammates to be at their best when their best is required.
Still, Fulks is learning, developing and improving. She said there are aspects of the sport she is still working on.
“I need to improve my overall technique and thinking in my matches,” she said. “I feel like I would do even better once I learn how to chain multiple moves together.”
With another year left at Mountain Ridge, Fulks is unsure what the future holds for her in the sport and in life in general. She has a laid-back approach in this regard but is confident that good things are in store. λ
“I'm not sure what my plans are after high school,” she said. “I'll just go with the flow and see where that takes me.” λ