By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Sisters seek boxing titles in Texas


Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Sarah Garrison practices her punches with her sister Monday morning.

Two amateur girl boxers have fought their way to nationals and are ready to represent Wyoming at the national tournament.

The sister duo, who compete separately, are Sarah Garrison, 13, and Emily Garrison, 10,  of Rock Springs. They have both earned spots at the Junior Olympic National Championship. The USA Boxing Junior Olympics tournament will take place June 25 through July 2 in Dallas.

Sarah, who has been boxing for four years, won the Wyoming Junior Olympic/Prep Title, the WyoMonDak Regional title, and the Division 10 Silvergloves Regional Title for the last three years. The WyoMonDak Region is made up of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The family has another incentive to make the trip both of their girls qualified this year.

Emily, with only a year's experience under her belt, also qualified for the national tournament. She competes against eight, nine and 10-year-old girls that weigh 70 pounds. She fought in the Wyoming National Prep Junior Olympic Tournament, the Wyoming State Games and WyoMonDak Regional Championship to earn her a spot at nationals.

Sarah competes against 13 and 14-year-old girls between the weight of 112-119 pounds and has received the fight-of-the-night award from four out of her last five tournaments. 

"That's quite an honor," Sarah said.

This award is given to a competitor who put on the best fight regardless of gender, Amanda explained. Sarah is a south paw, or left-handed fighter, and had two knockouts in the last five tournaments.

Sarah isn't new to the sweet science, and even though she has qualified for nationals twice so far, this is the first time she will attend them. The last two tournaments took place in West Virginia and the family just couldn't afford a big trip like that, their mother, Amanda, explained. With this one being in Texas, the family can host enough fundraisers to attend the event. 

Sarah said the family is getting close to raising enough money. The girls were at the Golden Hour Senior Center's Yard Sale selling chocolate suckers, which were shaped like red boxing gloves. They also reached out to local businesses to obtain sponsors and Amanda started GoFundMe and Facebook accounts.

Those who would like to donate can do so by going to Both Rock Springs TacoTimes will host a fundraising event on June 20 for the girls. All of the money raised will help pay for a room, meals and travel fees. The girls are hoping to raise about $3,200.


How is started

"We kind of wanted something (that was) a little bit of a challenge," Sarah said.

William Garrison, the girls' father, was in boxing when he was a teenager, Sarah said. She felt is brought the family together because it was a common interest. 

"Emily didn't really have a sport," Sarah said. "She wanted to, so I suggested it and she took to it as well."

With both girls now boxing, William and Amanda, had to drive them to other states so they could compete. Both quickly discovered joining a local boxing league wouldn't work for them.

The couple formed their own boxing club called the Garrison Boxing Club. Both Amanda and William have become certified officials and coaches so they could travel with the girls to their tournaments and coach them too.

It's not uncommon for the girls to travel to Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado for bouts. While the girls are used to traveling, Dallas will be the farthest they have ever traveled.

"Finding these girls matches has required us to travel quite a bit," Amanda said.

However, she has noticed the number of amateur girl boxers seems to increase each year, which is great for them. It means they will have more chances for matches. Amanda said safety is extremely important to USA Boxing, which is why they are strict on the ages and weights of each competitor.

Emily joked that if she won the national title she would sit down and eat a big bar of chocolate. Something she isn't able to do now because she has to watch her weight to compete.


Setting the sights high

Sarah and Emily both have their eyes set on the Olympics. Sarah said it's kind of an option. This tournament is kind of a qualifier to see whether or not one is good enough to advance to the Olympics. 

The girls train at least three hours a day, six days a week. Sarah said the day starts off with them completing their punching-bag routines. Then, while Amanda teaches Zumba classes at the GHSC, the girls practice their footwork and foot drill routines.

They practice shadow boxing, balancing and speed. At home they work out in the basement by sparring with each other, endurance training or completing dead lifts.

With all of the training and traveling, the family decided it would be best for the girls if they attend the Wyoming Connections Academy, which is a Wyoming online public school.

Sarah has a few boxing idols, including Gennady Golovkin, Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. Emily likes Ward and Muhammad Ali.

Although both girls want to be like their idols, they want to get into an Ivy League college first. Both of the girls have maintained a 4.0 GPA, while taking tough classes. Sarah was told she may even be able to skip a grade because she was doing so well.

The girls may be young, but they already know what they want to major in and which colleges they would like to go to.

Sarah has her sights set on Harvard or Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her electrical engineering degree, while Emily wants to go to Harvard for her architecture degree.

Sarah and Emily know just how hard it is to get accepted into one of these schools, which is why they would like trip to the Olympics to put on their resume. Not a lot of people can say they've been to the Olympics in girls boxing.

They girls admitted they don't have much of a social life, but they have made friends with other female boxers.

They know it is a sacrifice to make, but with a goal as big as the Olympics sacrifices must be made.


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