BRIDGEWATER — Save the resume talk for someone else.
It’s not what Bryce Farley wants to talk about.
The Turner Ashby senior has had a decorated career, accomplishing quite a bit as the lone female wrestler on the team’s roster and setting a new standard, perhaps, for the future of the sport in Bridgewater.
But Farley has her sights on bigger goals this season and that leaves satisfaction hard to find.
“I don’t dwell over records or statistics because there’s always someone better than you, which is tons of motivation in itself,” said Farley, who has an 11-4 record this season. “I’m proud of how far I’ve come and my performance. But I, like any wrestler who takes the sport seriously, will never truly be satisfied because there’s always room for improvement. I strive every day to be the best.”
Farley began wrestling in eighth grade and has spent the past three and a half seasons in the 106-pound weight class for the Knights at the varsity level. In February of 2021, as a junior, she won the 100-pound championship at the Virginia Wrestling Association state freestyle tournament. She went a perfect 3-0 at the meet to capture the victory.
“Her improvement since entering as a freshman has been huge,” Turner Ashby coach Marshall Smiley said. “She had very limited wrestling experience — just a little at the middle school level — so she was pretty much starting from scratch. She is an absolute mat rat and you can’t keep her off of it. Her dedication, hard work and time has allowed her to really blossom and take off in the sport.”
As a freshman, Farley called herself “timid and hesitant” when she stepped on the mat, but said she has evolved since then. She said she began to take strides as a sophomore before truly finding her identity on the mat as a junior, when she won two state titles in the women’s division at VAWA freestyle and folkstyle tournaments.
“I’ve come a long way,” Farley said. “The training cycle and experience, which consisted of a wide range of new coaches and teammates, really pushed my improvement as a wrestler.”
This season, Farley went 5-0 at the Waynesboro Duals at WHS, finished third at the 48th Harrisonburg Invitational and was the first-ever female finalist at the Turner Ashby Holiday Tournament.
“Her biggest strength is her work ethic and toughness,” Smiley said. “Bryce didn’t have the most natural feel for the sport starting out. So to overcome that, she had to drill things a thousand times and develop great muscle memory. As I said early, she will outwork and put in more time than anybody else. If there is an area of weakness, she is willing to put in whatever time is necessary to overcome it and will do whatever it takes to be great. I can’t recall a single workout that she’s ever missed, never let an injury stop her from practicing and she works out year around. “
Farley said she has major goals this season, aiming to win a Valley District championship in the 106-pound weight class and eventually place at the Virginia High School Class 3 state tournament. In the VAWA women’s division, she hopes to capture more state titles and, most importantly, hopefully earn a scholarship to wrestle in college.
“Motivation is easy for me,” Farley said. “I have big-time goals in this sport and I know if I don’t stick to the everyday grind that is required, I will fall short. I have always been good at disciplining myself, even when it comes to sacrificing the fun stuff. My work ethic is also something I have never really needed to improve. Most people don’t enjoy the pain and hard work necessary to succeed in wrestling, but I love it. … My goals mean everything to me.”
There’s potential for Farley’s senior year to be a special one. She could become just the second girl ever to win a Valley District title and Smiley believes she has serious potential to qualify for states.
There’s also a VHSL-sanctioned all-girls folkstyle tournament at Hayfield on Jan. 29 that Farley said she has her sights set on winning. Last year, she won the VAWA folkstyle and freestyle tournaments.
“Those would be huge accomplishments for a girl that is competing with predominantly boys,” Smiley said. “There is potential there for a really special season.”
But for Farley, she said she remains focused, motivated on accomplishing those goals.
She said she knows she’s improved and is proud of the progress, but isn’t growing complacent.
The resume talk is fun for others, but not for Farley. She said she’ll save that for another time.
“Wrestling to me is one of the main things in my life,” Farley said. “It’s the most important thing to me besides God and my family. I put in numerous hours a week to better myself in the sport. I wrestle year round, 12 months a year. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not trying to improve.”