Camden County girl wrestling champ wants her due

4 boy state champions for 2019 recognized, but not girl champion

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Camden County High School is known for its competitive wrestling. The school produced five state champions in 2019: four boys and one girl. 

But that girl, Alexa Downs, said she’s not getting her due from her high school.

Downs, the county’s first female state wrestling champion, said she’s not receiving the same recognition as her male counterparts. 

While Camden County High School has five official state champions, it only lists the four male champions on the back wall of the wrestling room, leaving off the first and only female state champion from the school. 

She was also left off the team’s website and yearbook on the pages dedicated to honoring all the other wrestling champions. 

Downs said the only recognition the school has given her is a take-home plaque.

Her coach, Jess Wilder, previously admitted to News4Jax that the school had yet to put up a sign for the female champion but said it needs to so “people will see that there’s a legacy or a tradition to start shooting for.”

Downs, who started her wrestling career seven years ago in Japan, puts in the same amount of work as the boys. 

“She doesn’t get any preferential treatment,” Wilder said. 

Downs is thankful they don’t take it easy on her, saying if they did, she wouldn’t be at the level she’s at now.

“Finally winning a state title is like, wow, all that hard work I faced for the past seven years set this in place,” said Downs, who has attended a different high school every year because her father is serving in the military, causing her to move frequently. 

In addition to the many state awards and titles Downs has won, she was awarded the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award, which will place her name in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Oklahoma.

The next step for her is to head off to Presbyterian College in South Carolina in August. It’s the first college in the country to offer Division I women’s wrestling. She said she hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Navy -- maybe with a stop at the Olympics in her future, too.

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