ST. LOUIS Montana Drum has competed on a wrestling mat
for most of her 20 years and now is a champion wrestler for the
Missouri Baptist University Spartans in St. Louis.
Drum, left, has been competing on a wrestling mat for most
of her 20 years and now is a champion wrestler for the Missouri
Baptist University Spartans in St. Louis. The Cherokee Nation
citizen from Neosho, Missouri, has a 17-6 record this year
and won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
National Championship in March. (courtesy photo)
The sophomore from Neosho, Missouri, has a 17-6 record this
year and won a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
national championship in March.
The Cherokee Nation citizen said she developed an interest in
wrestling when she was 4, tagging along with her older brother who
wrestled and her father who was a wrestling coach.
We went to a lot of tournaments, and I really like being
around there. My dad kind of picked up on that and he asked me jokingly
you want to wrestle? and I took off toward the mat thinking
he was meaning then. I was only about 4 years old. He joked and
said, next year you can when you turn 5. My mom was
like nope, she said. They didnt think
I would remember the next year, and I asked once I turned 5. They
had promised me, so they ended up putting me in, and Ive been
However, she had to wrestle boys, even throughout high school,
which she said makes her appreciate competing against only women
in college because wrestling boys was really tough.
She lettered in wrestling two years in high school, and her
team won the Class III boys wrestling title three of the four years
she was on the team. She was the first girl in Missouri history
to compete in Class III boys wrestling and win a district championship.
I was on the state team my junior year, and I won boys
districts...and that qualified me for state. I didnt place
there, but I got to wrestle in the boys tournament, she said.
It got to the point where I had to realize Im a girl
in a boys sport. It made me a whole lot better on and off
the mat, and it made me stronger knowing I could do something the
boys could do. I made a lot of boys cry and a lot of boys made me
cry, but its always been fun.
She wrestled at 106 pounds in high school. In March, she wrestled
at 127.9 pounds in the ASICS Womens University National Championships
in Oklahoma City and won an NAIA national title.
In the tournament, Drum wrestled her freshman teammate Erica
Mihalca for the championship. After a tough match, Drum eventually
pulled away and won by a 15-8 decision.
Drum said there are about 21 colleges that offer womens
wrestling. All of the womens wrestling teams in the country
belong to the Womens Collegiate Wrestling Association, which
was formed in 2008 and is the governing body for all collegiate
womens wrestling programs at NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA institutions.
The WCWA competes in the Olympic discipline of freestyle wrestling,
which allows competitors to be on their feet more. The womens
matches are two periods of three minutes. Drum said matches go by
faster and more points are scored in freestyle wrestling than folk
style or mens collegiate wrestling where wrestlers usually
lie on a mat trying to pin their opponents shoulders for a
Each winter the WCWA holds a tournament. In 2014, Drum place
fifth in the tournament and this past February placed sixth. She
said her competitors were well prepared and determined.
The girls that wrestle are very, very tough. You get all
different types of girls from all different places of the country,
she said. Were nowhere near what the boys have now,
but I think its a rapidly growing sport and its going
to continue to grow because its really fun. Seeing women do
what the men have done is quite an accomplishment for women.
Drum said she does a lot of conditioning such as sprints and
running to stay fit for her matches. She is also mindful of what
she puts in her body.
Its not just what we are able to do in the practice
room, its what you do on your off time, too. If youre
going out and putting bad things in your body that you shouldnt
be, youre not going to wrestle well and youre not going
to perform well, she said. You have to live the wrestling
lifestyle...or youre not going to feel good when you step
on the mat.
She is studying exercise science at MBU, and after she obtains
her bachelors degree she wants to continue her education by
studying physical therapy. Academics are important to her, she said,
and shes not one to go out and party. She understands
she needs to stay fit to wrestle and to do well with her studies.
My family is not well off, and I knew at a young age that
I needed to keep my grades up and get somewhere to better myself
and come back and help my family someday, so thats what Im
trying to do, she said.