Toccara Montgomery opened doors for women wrestlers – and wrestlers of color – with her career as an athlete and coach.
Montgomery became the first African-American to earn a medal at the women’s world wrestling championships, bringing home the silver at the 2001 Worlds. Three years later, Montgomery earned a place in the history books by becoming the first black woman to earn a place on the U.S. women’s freestyle Olympic wrestling team, competing at the 2004 Athens Games. (The Cleveland native placed seventh in the 72 kilos/159 pound weight class.)
Among Montgomery’s other accomplishments in international wrestling, she was a two-time World silver medalist (2001 and 2003), and a gold medalist at the 2003 Pan-American Games. In 2001, she was named the FILA International Female Wrestler of the Year, just the third American and first female from the United States to win that honor. She was a member of the U.S. women’s freestyle team each year from 2001 through 2006.
Closer to home, Montgomery had wrestled and coached at University of the Cumberlands, helping the Kentucky-based school to become one of the top women’s wrestling programs in the nation. As a wrestler for the Patriots, she had a perfect 29-0 dual record and won the 2004 Women’s Collegiate National Championship… then became a graduate assistant coach at her college alma mater. In 2010, Montgomery took the helm of the women’s program at Lindenwood University in suburban St. Louis.