Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

Wrestling’s biggest fan

Becky Wright is more than just the librarian at MPCHS, she’s also Panther wrestling’s biggest fan
Feb 20, 2018
Photo by: Karyn Spory Becky Wright is more than the librarian at Mt. Pleasant Community High School, she’s also the wrestling team’s biggest fan. Above, Wright looks at some of the wrestling articles she’s hung from the bulletin board as she stands in front of the wall covered with stars that she creates for each of the wrestlers’ pins and wins.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


Many may know Becky Wright as the librarian at Mt. Pleasant Community High School, but her true title is Mt. Pleasant wrestling team’s biggest fan.

Wright fell in love with wrestling long before she moved to Mt. Pleasant in 2008. Her father was a big wrestling fan and would take her to meets with him. “I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I like the challenge of it. They either win or lose and it’s on them. They can’t blame it on their teammates or the coach because they’re the only ones out there on the mat.”

“It’s totally in their control and if they want to work hard enough and apply themselves they can be successful at it,” she said, adding she believes it builds great character in the boys who participate.

Wright and her father both worked for the school district in Dallas City, Ill., her father as the bus driver for the wrestling team. When he retired, Wright took the wheel, literally. “It was kind of funny because one of my nieces was the manager the year I started driving. She was always asking me something or say ‘Aunt Beck this, or Aunt Beck that.’ It ended up the whole team started calling me ‘Aunt Beck.’”

By the time Wright left the school district the young wrestlers didn’t know where the moniker came from, she was just “Aunt Beck” to the team.

In 2008, her husband’s work at Shottenkirk brought the couple to Mt. Pleasant. “I didn’t come to the wrestling (meets) at first because I didn’t know anybody, but the first person I worked with was Pat Coen. I recognized his voice and discovered he had been a wrestler. We hit it off and he told me I ought to start going to the wrestling meets.”

And so she did.

During the day, Wright is in the school library, helping students find a book to read or teaching them the best way to use a search engine or reference book. In the evenings, she’s in the stands, cheering on the Panthers.

“My husband makes fun of me because I come home from the meets and I have to take an ibuprofen,” she says with a smile. “I’m pretty active when I watch and I’ve had people ask me which of the boys is mine. I just say ‘all of them.’”

“It’s good knowing that we have someone come and watch who is not related, someone that doesn’t have to be there, but wants to be,” said junior wrestler Nate Wallace.

“It means the world to us (to have her at meets),” added Jaden Davis, a sophomore on the wrestling team. “She is pretty much the team mom to all of us. She is part of the wrestling family.”

Even in the library, Wright’s love of wrestling shines through. One of the displays in the library is filled with wrestling memorabilia, including a singlet and pins. But it’s on the west wall, near the entrance that everyone can see just how big of a fan Wright is.

The bulletin board features newspaper articles on the student athletes, but it’s the wrestling team that dominates the coverage. And the wall surrounding the board is no longer white, it’s yellow and gold as the stars Wright has created for the wrestlers covers the wall nearly from the floor to the ceiling.

The yellow stars represent each pin a wrestler makes. Wright notates the wrestler’s name, weight, who they pinned, how long it took and the date. The dark gold signify a win, whether decision or technical fall.

“This is the first time ever I’m over the windows,” Wright said of how far the stars stretched along the wall. “We are having a super successful year. I’m just flabbergasted.”

At the end of the year, Wright gives Coach (Anthony) Blint all of the stars to be handed out to the students during their banquet.

“It’s pretty cool to us because it’s proof that she cares and wants us to be recognized for our hard work,” Davis said of the stars. “It really means a lot to us, not only do we get to look at the wall and see our own accomplishments, but we see that someone else sees how hard we work and cares how hard that we work.”

Davis first realized how big of a wrestling fan Wright was when he was in middle school. “I saw how much she and my older brother, Tyler, (a former Panther wrestler) got along. He even said she had planted a tree in his name in her backyard.”

When she and her husband built their house, Wright wanted a lush backyard, filled with trees. Each tree is named in honor of a Panther athlete and so every time Wright looks out her back window, she’s reminded of the Panther athletes she’s met and cheered for along the way.

“I started out with Jordan Cotton, he was the first kid I got attached to,” she said pointing out his tree on a map of her backyard, which notates which tree is named for which athlete. “I love all sports, but I was never very good at them,” she admits. “I guess I live vicariously through the kids.”

But it’s not just in her backyard Wright is reminded of the student athletes, it’s also every time she opens a book.

As the school’s librarian, Wright has witnessed her fair share of signing ceremonies, where a high school athlete commits to attend a college or university and continue their athletic endeavors.

When Jordan Cotton, who went on to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes, had his signing ceremony, Wright printed out his overdue book list and had him sign it. She then laminated it and uses it as a bookmark.

It’s a tradition she’s continued for each signing ceremony. “Whose ever bookmark I’m using I mention them in my prayers right before I go to sleep at night,” said Wright.

“It makes me feel good when I look through the stack and see all of those kids,” she added. “I tell the kids I need their autograph for when they’re famous. And we’ve had a couple of kids end up in the NFL.” Henry Krieger-Coble plays for the Los Angeles Rams and Leonard Westford plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

When the Class of 2018 says goodbye to MPCHS, so will Wright as she’s set to retire in May. But she won’t be far and she will definitely be cheering on the wrestling team.

“I’ve already talked to Mr. Leichty and I’m still going to come in and do the stars for the wrestlers,” she said.

Wallace and Davis, as well as the rest of the wrestling team are happy to hear she’ll still be rooting for them. “We have a connection with her,” said Davis. “She cares about us and we care about her.”

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