WHEELING — A Buckeye Local graduate will be embarking on the trip of a lifetime Thursday and it’s all because of her love for wrestling.
Jess Battilochi, a 2009 graduate, is an assistant athletic trainer at Wheeling Jesuit University.
She was selected to work with Team USA women’s world wrestling team as it spends 10 days in Beijing, China.
“I am super excited. It’s a great opportunity for me to represent myself, my team, my school,” she said. “Working at Wheeling Jesuit and being an alumnus of Wheeling Jesuit, hopefully I can represent them well at the national level.”
Although she has known about the excursion for a couple of weeks, she still can’t fathom what is happening.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I am going to China,” she admitted. “I still can’t believe it is happening. I’ve always loved wrestling, so this is really a dream come true. I’ve never been out of the country before.”
She said that anything at the Olympic level athletic training-wise is volunteer work, unless you work at one of the Olympic Training Centers.
“Once you meet the qualifications, which is 3-5 years of work, they prefer you work in the sport,” she explained. “I applied in the spring. If they have something open up they will send out an email detailing what is open. Two weeks ago I received an email about the Beijing trip opening up. I told them I would be interested and I got the position.”
“Team USA has some women who have won world titles and are the best of the best wrestlers in the USA,” she continued. “I really don’t know much more about the trip.”
While the trip is a ‘work-related’ adventure, there will be some downtime for exploring.
“I plan to learn about their culture a little bit. I’ve looked up certain things about the trip like what types of food to try and different places to visit,” she added.
Battilochi played a lot of sports at Buckeye Local. She ran cross country and track and also played basketball.
“I dealt with some injuries so I worked a lot with a trainer named Perry Pritchard. He really taught me about the profession and I fell in love with it,” she said. “Ever since high school I knew that is what I wanted to do.”
After graduating from high school, she attended WJU where she got her undergrad degree in 2013. She then went to Ohio University where she earned her masters in athletic training a year later. She then spent a season with the St. Clairsville football team before a two-and-a-half-year stint at Edison High School. She has been back at Wheeling Jesuit for a year.
“Wrestling is my favorite sport to work with,” she allowed. “I’ve always loved it since high school and I love wrestling in the Ohio Valley. I work at the OVAC Tournament for those days. Being able to see the world because of wrestling makes it even better.”
In addition to wrestling, Battilochi’s duties also include rugby and women’s lacrosse.