Where it all started...

[Note: AJ may not have been the first school to put girls on the mat.  However, it appears they by far had the most female wrestlers.  More information is expected soon.]

Andrew Jackson Fundamental Magnet School - Chalmette, Louisiana

Coaches at Andrew Jackson when the teams had girls: Jim Ballantyne, Rick Zimmer, Cody Hesser, Eric Desormeaux, Mike Hesser, Jimmy Monaghan.

On February 1st, 1994, the article to the left appeared in the Times-Picayune.  It is about Jessica Bayard, an Andrew Jackson eighth-grader who, among about 15 other girls, decided to join the wrestling team earlier in the school year.  The article was about her first non-forfeit victory.  She thought she would quit after the next season because they boys would be too strong.  She didn't.

Jessica and several of the other young ladies continued wrestling through high school.  Among those, a few competed at a national level including one, Kellie Odinet, who competed in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Open Greco-Roman national championships - the first girl ever to qualify for that event.  The following year the AAU held girl championships and shortly thereafter the United States Girls Wrestling Association (USGWA) started holding tournaments for the young ladies of the sport.

From 1993 to 2005 as many as 17 girls were members of Andrew Jackson wrestling teams which were coaches by stellar members of the Louisiana wrestling community. 

Below are some photographs compliments of Cody Hesser:

Kellie Odinet
Hope (Shenck) James
Other Andrew Jackson Girls (with some Andrew Jackson boys and Allie (a girl who competed on a team from the Northshore):
Sara (Albarado) Hogan, Erin Ballantyne, Kaylie Barthelemy, Kelsy Barthelemy, Jessica Bayard, Brooke Costello, Morgan Hannigan, Whitney Nussbaum, Kellie Odinet, Ashley (Oltmann) Lopez, Hope (Schenck) James, Colleen Vosbein
Allie, Hope, Brooke, Kaylie and Kelsey  at the USGWA Championships in Michigan in 2004  Brooke and Hope at the USGWA Championships in Michigan in 2004   Brooke, Hope and Allie at the USGWA Championships in Michigan in 2004 Hope and Whitney 
Jessica and Kellie  Sarah and Morgan  Erin Ballantyne and Ashley (Oltmann) Lopez
 Morgan and Colleen Ashley (Oltmann) Lopez Brooke Costello Colleen Vosbien 

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