WESTVILLE (WCIA) — With every takedown, Berlin Kiddoo is wrestling her way to the top and making a name for herself along the way.
“My family was really into combat sports and so I joined a national team when I was around 14 years old,” Kiddoo said. “So I just started traveling with them and started wrestling with really good girls.”
The San Diego native moved to Illinois last summer, with several championships already under her belt. But despite winning plenty of medals on west coast, she’s been challenged in her first season with Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm, competing against the boys.
“Freestyle is mainly for women because that’s what you wrestle in college, but during high school I wrestle folk style, so it’s a little hard to transition for me,” she said. “And wrestling with the boys you get to build that competition and strength.”
That’s only helped her become one of the best girls in the country though. After a second place finish at the USA Wrestling Showcase in March, Kiddoo has been ranked among the Top-10 nationally in her weight class. And after the IHSA announced on Tuesday it will host the first girls’ state wrestling meet starting next February, Kiddoo will get the chance to compete against other girls to win a state medal. The two-day event will run concurrent with the IHSA dual team state meet at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington Friday and Saturday, February 25-26, 2022.
“This is an exciting development for the IHSA and for female wrestlers around the state,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “The number of female participants continues to grow, and we are proud to be able to offer an incredible venue and stage to recognize them on. This is an important step for Illinois high school wrestling as a whole.”
Over 800 girls across Illinois were eligible to wrestle during the 2019-20 school year after completing the required testing to determine their weight class, according to the IHSA. It’s something for Kiddoo to look forward to, as she continues to make history in her own right.
“She’s one of the most determined kids I’ve ever had,” Westville/Georgetown-Ridge Farm head coach Kirk Edwards said. “She knows the mentality, and she fits right in. She’s been a big asset to the team.”
“I definitely grew when I came out here, I was practicing a lot, getting to meet new coaches and try new things and learn a lot,” added Kiddoo.
But the soon to be senior still has more to learn as a hopeful college athlete. She wants to follow in her older brother and sister’s footsteps, who both wrestled at the next level.