Tomahawk native Alyssa Lampe named assistant wrestling coach at Linfield University in Oregon
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MCMINNVILLE, ORE. – Tomahawk native Alyssa Lampe was hired as an assistant wrestling coach at Linfield University in McMinnville, Ore., on Jan. 5.
Lampe is an accomplished wrestler with accolades dating back to her time at Tomahawk High School, when she became the first female wrestler to qualify for the State tournament. After high school, she continued to compete nationally and internationally, accumulating a stunning list of achievements.
Scott Nelson, Linfield University’s Chief Marketing Officer and Associate Vice President, said the announcement of Lampe’s hire “generated buzz all over the country in the wrestling world because it’s another sign that women’s wrestling is rising fast.”
“Clarissa Chung is the coach at the new women’s team at the University of Iowa, and she and Alyssa are old friends and competitors,” Nelson stated. “The two of them moving into the coaching ranks is seen as evidence by many that a new day is here for the sport nationally.”
“I’m very excited to have Alyssa joining our program and coaching staff,” said Linfield head wrestling coach Chad Hanke. “She has been one of the best wrestlers in the world for a long time and will have an immediate impact on our program.”
Lampe’s wrestling career: Tomahawk and beyond
Lampe began wrestling when she was just five years old.
“My brother was so small he didn’t have a partner, so my dad asked if I wanted to wrestle,” Lampe said. “I just fell in love with the sport after that. I love how hard wrestling is, how physically and mentally demanding it is.”
Lampe grew up wrestling with male teammates, who never treated her differently as a girl among boys, she said.
Lampe noted that her coaches “were amazing and did a great job helping me feel included and fighting for me.”
“People became more accepting of me, I think, when I qualified for the state tournament my sophomore year of high school,” she stated.
That feat was accomplished in 2004. In punching her ticket to the WIAA Division 2 State Championship that year, she became the first female wrestler in Wisconsin history to do so.
Throughout her years at THS, Lampe compiled an impressive catalog of athletic accomplishments. She earned 12 letters in three sports, competed at State nine times, and was named the Lumberjack Conference Runner of the Year in 2004.
Lampe wrestled at State three times in her high school career, placing second in Division 2 as a senior in 2006.
Lampe’s wrestling career at THS changed the face of the sport forever, both in Wisconsin and beyond.
Bob Skubal, who coached Lampe in high school alongside John Arnott, Bob Garrou and Kurt Weyers, said Lampe’s triumphs at THS garnered the attention of wrestlers around the Badger State and the country.
“Her success on the mats in high school was never seen in any program throughout the United States,” Skubal stated. “When she finished as a state runner-up her senior year, she was the talk of every wrestling program. She had achieved a level that no other female had reached – she had worked her way to the State finals in a male-dominant field.”
Skubal said Lampe is “one of the finest wrestlers to ever step on the mats.”
“She was a pleasure to coach and watch,” Skubal stated. “She was always a class act, both on and off the mats. I feel strongly that we may never see another Alyssa.”
After graduating from high school in 2006, Lampe continued to make an impact on the wrestling world, racking up accolades around the globe while representing the United States.
Lampe was the U.S. Open individual champion in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2019. In 2012 and 2013, she was a bronze medalist in international competition.
In 2013, she was chosen by her peers and coaches as USA Wrestling (USAW)’s Women’s Wrestler of the Year. She was also selected as the U.S. Open’s Outstanding Wrestler that year.
Lampe retired from wrestling in 2015, but decided to make a return in 2019. She went on to win nationals and was named the U.S. Open’s Outstanding Wrestler for the second time.
As a member of the U.S. national team for a total of six years, Lampe remains in contention for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team as it prepares for the 2024 Summer Games.
Looking back on her career, Lampe said some of her favorite accomplishments include being a two-time junior world bronze medalist and a two-time senior world bronze medalist, being named Women’s Wrestling Athlete of the Year in 2013, coming out of retirement in 2019 and winning nationals, and being named to her new position at Linfield University.
“My favorite memories are being able to travel the world pursing my passion and making lifelong friends with people from different parts of the world,” Lampe stated.
Lampe looks to make Linfield ‘wrestling powerhouse’
In her new position at Linfield, Lampe will recruit and build the university’s first women’s wrestling program.
“With recruiting now in full swing, Linfield expects to compete in its first varsity matches in the fall of 2022,” the university’s website states. “A handful of wrestlers are currently competing as a club in preparation for the coming season.”
“We intend for Linfield to become an NCAA powerhouse on both the men’s and women’s sides,” Hanke said. “Alyssa and I will work hard to make that happen in the years ahead.”
Lampe seconded Hanke’s desire to make Linfield wrestling a force to be reckoned with, adding that she also wants to help coach athletes to become All-Americans.
“I’m most looking forward to helping athletes achieve their goals – academically, athletically and in life,” she stated.
As she begins blazing yet another trail in the wrestling world, Lampe offered advice to young girls who are interested in the sport.
“Follow your dreams and passions, and let no one stand in your way,” Lampe said. “If it’s something you really want and you put in the effort, you will find a way to achieve it.”