Greater Johnstown sophomore Mariah Harris is a trail blazer in the sport of girls wrestling.
Last weekend, Harris won her third consecutive Pennsylvania Girls State Wrestling Championships title at Susquehanna Township High School in Harrisburg.
Harris won her latest state championship in dominating fashion, pinning all seven of her opponents at 159 pounds. She joined Somerset 118-pounder Kat Luteri as area girls to place first in their respective classes at the state meet.
“I look to her to be a trailblazer in the sport and help girls get into wrestling,” said former Johnstown High standout wrestler Will Harris, Mariah’s older brother and one of her coaches.
Her brother Malcolm and Quenteen Robinson, two more former Johnstown stars on the mat, also coach Mariah Harris with the Band of Brothers club that practices at the former Johnstown Vo-Tech wrestling room.
“I’m learning from the best,” Mariah said.
Mariah Harris also placed first at 159 pounds in 2013 and won gold at 137 pounds in 2012.
“She has it upstairs. She’s the total package, straight A’s in school and she works hard,” Will Harris said. “She wrestles a lot like me. I don’t want to say she’s a bruiser, but she takes what she wants. She’s a very hard worker. She’s not a finesse wrestler or a speed wrestler. She’s a brawler.
“She’s 16- or 17-0 against girls. She impressed me this weekend.”
Mariah Harris is 26-5 this season.
She also participates on the Johnstown High team with the boys, but didn’t see any varsity time in a match.
“Her big thing is she’s trying to bring the sport to this area and have more girls wrestle,” Will Harris said.
Will Harris was impressed by his sister’s ability to adapt to a higher level of competition in later rounds of the state tournament.
“She was mowing through the girls. It wasn’t even close, but then she faced some adversity and she battled through it,” Will Harris said.
Will Harris hopes Mariah has an opportunity to wrestle in a national event this summer.
“We’re getting ready for nationals,” he said. “It’s important for her to see the next level. This is her dream. She wants to wrestle in the Olympics and college.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.