By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma– Claremore High School senior Kearanie Johnson takes girls state wrestling title home.
Johnson is the daughter of Muscogee (Creek) citizen Anthony Johnson and wife Desarae Johnson, and Amber Johnson. The Claremore senior has been wrestling since she was 4 years old. Johnson looked up to her dad, who is a former three-time state champion wrestler for Webster and was taught by him as a young child.
“My dad use to wrestle for Webster out of Tulsa,” Johnson said. “One day he took me into the room at Blue T and I liked how rough the sport was and competitive, I liked winning.”
Claremore’s first female wrestler, started out being the only female to wrestle her freshman and sophomore year. When junior year came around, Johnson gained 11 teammates for the all girls wrestling team.
As a wrestler, Johnson puts in many hours of practice in the gym. Before school, she would go to the gym at 5 a.m. then go to her team practice from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. After she eats dinner, Johnson heads back to the gym.
Johnson’s weight class in wrestling is either between 120 or 123 pound class. In Oklahoma City, when Johnson competed for state title in girls wrestling she was in the 127-pound class. She won state her junior and senior year.
When Johnson competed during her junior year for the state title, it was under an exhibition tournament. It was not until the next year in 2020 when the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association sanctioned a girls division in wrestling.
“Last year when I won state, it didn’t feel really special because it wasn’t official,” Johnson said. “This year after my match I started crying, because I was thinking ‘wow this is really over and it counts.’ Last year I counted it but this year it meant a lot more.”
Johnson plans to continue her education and wrestling career after high school. She has signed with Gannon University out of Pennsylvania and plans to study in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Then she plans on going to graduate school for Speech Language Pathology.
As a senior, Johnson is definitely going to miss her friends and teammates from high school wrestling but she is looking forward to college wrestling. There are two types of wrestling styles and according to Johnson, she will be wrestling freestyle in college where in high school she wrestled folk style.
“I’m ready for that change, freestyle is more fun,” Johnson said. “Freestyle is international, where everybody in the world wrestles this. Folk style is an American style of wrestling. Freestyle is more fast paced and exciting to watch.”
Johnson’s family, friends and coaches are definitely proud of her.