Toccara Montgomery

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Toccara Montgomery
Personal information
Full nameToccara Montgomery
Nationality United States
Born (1982-12-30) 30 December 1982 (age 36)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Height1.67 m (5 ft 5 12 in)
Weight72 kg (159 lb)
Sport
SportWrestling
StyleFreestyle
ClubSunkist Kids Wrestling Club
College teamCumberlands Patriots
CoachKip Flanik
Joe Corso

Toccara Montgomery (born December 30, 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a retired amateur American freestyle wrestler, who competed in the women's heavyweight category.[1] She won four U.S. national titles (2001–2004), scored two silver medals in the 68 and 72-kg division at the World Championships (2001 and 2003), and finished seventh at the 2004 Summer Olympics, considering one of the most dominant female wrestlers in United States sporting history.

A graduate of University of the Cumberlands, Montgomery has also served as a member of the wrestling squad for the Cumberlands Patriots, and eventually became a graduate assistant coach for three consecutive seasons. Since 2010, Montgomery has been currently working as a full-time head coach for the women's wrestling squad at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri.[2]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Montgomery began her sporting career at the age of fifteen, when she checked out a practice for the newly formed wrestling squad at East Technical High School in Cleveland.[3] Despite that the sport had been exclusively competed only by men, Montgomery joined and then trained full-time for the team under her head coach Kip Flanik. During her stellar high school career, she won the 2000 U.S. junior national title under the 68-kg division.[4]

After graduating from high school in 2001, Montgomery attended the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, where she competed for the Cumberlands Patriots wrestling club. During her collegiate career, she helped build the team into one of the top women's wrestling programs in the nation. She compiled a perfect 29–0 dual record, and also claimed the 2004 Women's Collegiate National Championship title in the 158-pound division. In 2006, Montgomery graduated from Cumberlands with a bachelor's degree in education.[2]

Freestyle wrestling[edit]

In 2001, Montgomery joined the U.S. world wrestling team, and eventually earned her first senior berth at the World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she took home the silver medal in the 68-kg division.[5] On that same year, she became the first ever American to be named the Women's Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling because of her outstanding success to the sport in her major international debut.[6]

While competing internationally, Montgomery achieved four U.S. junior and senior national titles (2001–2004), and obtained two Pan American championship trophies in 2002 and 2003. She also captured the gold medal over Canada's Ohenewa Akuffo in the 72-kg division at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and then picked up her second silver at the World Championships in New York City, New York, falling short to Japanese wrestler and four-time defending champion Kyoko Hamaguchi by a 4–1 deficit.[7][8]

Montgomery qualified for the U.S. women's wrestling squad on her major debut in the women's 72 kg class at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Earlier in the process, she won a silver medal at the World Championships, and then guaranteed her spot on the U.S. team by overwhelming her rival Kristie Marano from the Olympic Trials.[9][10] Montgomery suffered another defeat from her longtime rival Hamaguchi in the opening match with a tough 4–8 decision, but wrestled her way to pin Bulgaria's Stanka Zlateva within the halfway mark of the six-minute limit to close the prelim pool.[11] Despite missing a spot on the semifinals, Montgomery seized an opportunity to compete against Canadian wrestler and her former rival Christine Nordhagen in the classification match, but failed to overwhelm her for another time in the mat at 3–8, placing seventh in the final rankings.[12][13] As she left the Olympic Games empty-handed, Montgomery made an early retirement from competitive wrestling at the age of 21, and instead turned her focus to being part of the coaching staff in Cumberlands.

Coaching[edit]

While attending the University of the Cumberlands, Montgomery helped build a women's wrestling program that had been immediately turned into one of the top sporting ventures in the United States. Because of her enormous contribution to the needs of the nation's college sport programs, she was promoted to a full-time position as a graduate assistant coach for the Cumberlands Patriots wrestling squad upon her early retirement from the sport in 2004. After officially receiving her master's degree in instructional leadership from the Cumberlands in 2009, Montgomery accepted a major offer from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri to serve as the head coach for the Lindenwood Lions, making her the third American woman to do so on the women's college varsity wrestling squad.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Montgomery's parents are Tara and Paul Montgomery. When she was fifteen, her father, Paul pleaded guilty for double murder, and was sentenced to a 30-year to life imprisonment in southwestern Ohio.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Toccara Montgomery". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Newton, Daniel (5 May 2010). "Lindenwood names Olympian Toccara Montgomery as new women's wrestling head coach". The Mat. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  3. ^ Lilly, Brandon (27 June 2001). "Wrestling; A Sport Opens Its Mats to Women in U.S." New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Downing wins silver medal at Canada Cup in Calgary, Canada (Aug 5–6)". USA Wrestling. 11 August 2000. Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Canada wins gold at wrestling worlds". CBC Sports. 25 November 2001. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  6. ^ Abbott, Gary (20 April 2002). "Toccara Montgomery named 2001 USA Wrestling Women's Wrestler of the Year". USA Wrestling. The Mat. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  7. ^ Fuller, John (5 August 2003). "Miranda, McMann and Montgomery set to wrestle for gold medals this evening; George in the semifinals". USA Wrestling. The Mat. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  8. ^ Finley, Bill (15 September 2003). "For the U.S. Women, a Gold Is Hard to Come By". New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  9. ^ Abbott, Gary (23 July 2004). "Olympic Games preview at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. in women's freestyle". USA Wrestling. The Mat. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. ^ Mihoces, Gary (28 July 2004). "Gardner back in Olympics". USA Today. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Miranda likely to advance to medal round". ESPN. 22 August 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Wrestling: Women's Freestyle 72kg". Athens 2004. BBC Sport. 15 August 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  13. ^ Abbott, Gary (23 August 2004). "McMann qualifies for gold medal match and Miranda for bronze medal match at the Olympic women's wrestling". USA Wrestling. The Mat. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  14. ^ George, Thomas (27 June 2004). "Wrestling for Family and Country, A Homebody Blazes a Trail Abroad". New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2014.

External links[edit]