Breaking stereotypes: ADMHS Women’s wrestling team debuts

Isabella Crandall preparing to wrestle an opponent.
Isabella Crandall preparing to wrestle an opponent.
Photos by Asaad Ansari

Wrestling is in season.  The Athens Drive’s women’s varsity team has started the season off strong, going undefeated in multiple meets. Women’s varsity currently holds a 3-0 record.

“The season has been going very well! The women’s team only has six of the twelve weight classes filled (meaning they forfeit the points for the other six if the other team has a girl at the weight) and they have still been winning, which says a lot about the girls we have. Everyone has been putting in a lot of work in practices and it is showing when we compete,” said Samuel Wenzel, wrestling coach.

In previous years, they’ve had a combined team with both men and women, but this year the program was able to form a women’s varsity team; there are six girls on the team this season.  

“This is my third year coaching wrestling at Athens Drive. In the previous two years, we just had one co-ed team. This is the first year we have a women’s varsity and they are crushing it,” said Wenzel.

Traditionally, wrestling is a male sport. This is something that many people see as a single narrative, the sport only being for men. Evelyn Goodman, a sophomore at Athens Drive High School, wants to keep the sport growing.

“Why don’t we have enough girls? Because people need to realize that wrestling is not a men’s sport anymore, women’s wrestling is growing,” said Goodman.

Goodman is driving people to realize that women’s wrestling is growing and that there is a place for girls in the sport. As a female wrestler, she wants to change this perception and raise awareness that women’s wrestling is growing and should be acknowledged as a legitimate sport.

“I think it’s a very new thing, this is the first year that the state has recognized it. It’s new and starting up but I think with everything that’s going on, more girls will start coming in the next few years,” said Isabella Crandall, senior.

Crandall commented on the recent recognition of girls wrestling in the state. She mentions that being on a team of girls that wrestle gives her a new experience compared to her previous teams that were filled with boys. 

“My favorite part about wrestling is probably when we work hard at practice and then you see the results on the mat when we win,” said Goodman.

Wrestling is both a team and individual sport, meaning that the individual performances affect both the wrestler and the team. Each wrestler contributes points to the team’s score total based on their performance. A few ways an individual can earn points for their team are by winning a match, performing takedowns, reversals, escapes, and near-falls. The team with the most points at the end of the meet wins. 

“The team has done a great job coming together as a unit. In wrestling, it can be difficult for programs to bridge the individual-team gap, but they have done this very well,” said Wenzel.

 Wrestlers strive to improve and win, they also care about the success of their teammates as much as they care about their own.

“The harder you work, the better you end up becoming. It builds an unmatched comradery that can be seen by watching how invested wrestlers are in their teammate’s matches at competitions,” said Wenzel.

Wenzel values hard work and teamwork in wrestling, even though they compete in practice, wrestlers celebrate their successes at their meets.

“Our most experienced wrestler, Isabella Crandall, has won both tournaments we have competed at and has been helping our less experienced wrestlers learn new techniques in practice,” said Wenzel. 

Crandall recently placed first at the Green Hope Grapple. Crandall mentioned the technical part of wrestling being her favorite, she enjoys building on her technique. 

“I think the technical part is my favorite, like just getting to improve my technique. The experiences that come with it. Once you get to a higher level, you get to try new experiences,” said Crandall.

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