North Texas Daily

Avery Souders breaking barriers on UNT wrestling team

Avery Souders breaking barriers on UNT wrestling team

Avery Souders breaking barriers on UNT wrestling team
October 11
12:12 2016

By Troy Guter and Lydia Meeks

Wrestling isn’t just a sport to junior Avery Souders, it’s a mindset.

For the past eight years, Souders has spent countless hours perfecting her craft. And the results show nothing less.

“I’m a little hard on myself,” she said. “I’ve gotten second at nationals two times in a row.”

Souders started wrestling as a freshman in high school because of her older brother, Austin. After reaching All-American status twice in high school, she was then recruited by King College in Tennessee.

But an early injury forced Souders to watch from the sidelines for two years while others battled for the national title she always dreamed of.

So in the Spring of 2014, Souders made the choice to move closer to home and attend UNT. There was only one problem – UNT didn’t have a women’s wrestling program at the time. After careful deliberation, Souders decided to join the men’s wrestling team under the guidance of Andre Metzger, who won two national titles at the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and 1982.

“He believes in you when you don’t always believe in yourself,” Souder said. “He doesn’t think any goal is too big. “

Upon joining the team, Souders became the lone female wrestler at UNT for the 2015 season and was unsure of the level of respect she’d receive.

“I’ve definitely come across coaches that almost belittle me because of the fact that I’m a girl,” Souders said.

Senior Taylor Swanson was the team captain when Souders joined in 2014 and admitted to not having much experience wrestling females. Despite this, he admired how Souders contributed to the team.

“She brought a level of intensity and skill that most don’t bring to the mat room,” Swanson said. “Most people can’t match [it.]”

Assistant coach BJ Sterling also saw a certain resiliency from Souders.

“She’s the hardest worker in the room in my opinion,” Sterling said. “She has the stats to back it up.”

Souders battled with the boys for months leading up the national championship in Allen, Texas, where she was finally able to put her talents on display. She fought for two days, and wrestled the top talent in the nation before losing a nail-biter in the finals.

It was a tough loss for Souders, but her drive and will led her back to the mat in 2016 in search of that elusive title once again. The story of her success inspired a few girls to join her in this competitive journey. Although the men and women work as a team during practice, Souders teaches the women some of her secrets, like the inside trip.

And although “national title runner-up” has a nice ring to it, Souders has bigger aspirations.

“One of my big goals is to wrestle on the 2020 Olympic World team,” Souders said.

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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