Williams with something to prove on the mat at state

Jocelyn Williams is reckless.

The Homewood-Flossmoor senior wrestler admittedly “throws her body around” on the mat. The result, so far, is three concussions, a torn meniscus, ankle ligament issues and a sprained shoulder joint. The concussions sometimes cause headaches. She wears an ankle brace and is otherwise often just sore. 

Homewood-Flossmoor senior Jocelyn Williams will wrestle for an individual state title at 235 pounds. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

The ankle will be surgically repaired, but not until after Williams wrestles for a 235-pound state title Feb. 23 and 24 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. The scalpel can wait. She’s got something to prove. 

“People really don’t understand girls wrestling, and I don’t look like your typical girls wrestler. I’m very girly. People wouldn’t expect that but I’m very girly,” she said. “I really want to show people you can be girly and you can go onto the mat and turn into a whole different person.” 


Girly or not, Williams said she’s a smarter wrestler this season than she’s been in the past. Only three years into her wrestling career, she said the technical part is coming more easily now.

“I started trusting my coaches more,” Williams said. “I pay attention more. I used to just look at the other girl and just (wrestle). Now, I pay attention to her body parts, to the matches. I really study. I study my film, also.” 

She knows her opponents are studying her film, too. Williams has some inherent advantages, though.

She’s small enough to wrestle at a lower weight. Coach Scott Aronson calls her “mighty mouse.” So she’s quicker and more athletic than most of the girls she wrestles, even if she often gives up some strength.

“I’m not your typical heavyweight,” Williams said. “I like to prove that even though you’re small, you could still be strong.” 

Another advantage is her endurance. Williams believes she can wear down most opponents, when necessary. The hope is to do that in Bloomington, where she’ll likely have to go through Curie’s Aaliyah Grandberry, who Williams calls a friend. 

Grandberry pinned Williams in the first period of the sectional final. The two wouldn’t meet at state until the final, but it’s a rematch Williams is hoping to get. 

“She looks forward to challenges. I don’t see the normal fear that you see in other wrestlers,” Aronson said. “I think she’s got a couple tough girls on her side of the bracket but I think she’s going to meet Grandberry in the finals. I have total confidence that she can take care of everyone on her side.” 

Three other Vikings will come to state with Williams. 

Sophomores London Gandy (105) and Makayla Marr (125) also qualified. Junior Nina Hamm is going down in the hopes of picking up an alternate spot at 115 pounds. 

“I think London and Makayla have a great shot of getting to the podium,” Aronson said. “It’s brand new for them. They’ve got to win two in a row, otherwise it’s going to be a hard road for them.” 

After graduation, Williams will head to Allen University in South Carolina to study criminal justice and wrestle for the Yellow Jackets. It was important to her to attend a historically black university, though going so far away from home is a little scary. 

Before that, though, Williams wants to leave a legacy. 

“I wouldn’t be upset with myself with top three (at state),” she said. “I feel like I deserve (first), though, due to the fact that I’m small and I made it all the way through.” 

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