Buckeye Local grad headed to China
WHEELING — A Buckeye Local graduate will be embarking on the trip of a lifetime today, and it’s all because of her love for wrestling.
Jess Battilochi, a 2009 graduate of the Connorville-based high school, 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 said. “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 a person works at one of the Olympic Training Centers.
“Once you meet the qualifications, which is three to five years of work, they prefer you work in the sport,” she said. “I applied in the spring. If they have something open up, they will send out an e-mail detailing what is open. Two weeks ago I received an e-mail 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. 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 said.
Battilochi played a lot of sports at Buckeye Local. She ran cross country and track and 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 and 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,” Battilochi said. “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 include rugby and women’s lacrosse.