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Mary Kelly makes personal plea to wrestling community to save MacMurray College program

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Anybody who knows Mary Kelly realizes she is not one to back down from a challenge.

Kelly fought through a number of near-misses and battled through injuries to make her first U.S. World Team in women's freestyle wrestling this year. A past Cadet World Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist, Kelly placed ninth at 48 kg/105.5 pounds at the World Championships in late September in Guangzhou, China.

Now Kelly is prepared for another fight. She is doing whatever she can to help save the MacMurray (Ill.) College men's wrestling program.

MacMurray announced last week it is dropping wrestling after the 2006-07 season for financial reasons. Kelly's father, Jerry, a past NCAA runner-up for Oklahoma State, is the head coach at MacMurray. Her brother, Chris, a junior, is one of the wrestlers on the MacMurray team, an NCAA Division III school located in Jacksonville, Ill.

Mary Kelly wrestled one year for MacMurray College. She is now a resident-athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

"MacMurray is a great school to wrestle at and it's a shame that colleges are dropping these programs," Kelly said. "When my dad came there three years ago they only had two guys on the team and now they have 30. My dad's done a great job recruiting and everyone was real excited about this season.

"Nobody had any idea this was coming - I know my dad was pretty shocked about it. They say they are doing this for financial reasons, but MacMurray is a Division III school and can't give out any (athletic) scholarships. It costs over $20,000 a year to go there and there are 30 guys who are going to school there because of wrestling. It doesn't make any sense to cut the program."

Kelly said there is an online petition and addresses for the administration if you would like to write letters to help the program at She also has started a couple threads on message boards, asking the wrestling community for assistance in helping the MacMurray program.

"Anything you are willing to do - sign the petition, write a letter, donate money, or inform other people - would be greatly appreciated," Kelly said. "About 400 people have signed the petition already. We also are encouraging people to write personal letters to the administrators there."
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