Girls Wrestling

Jillian DeVoe, Pylon Online Editor

Women compete professionally in the same sports as men everyday. Basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, but wrestling is one sport where women are continuously overlooked. We’ve all seen the pro wrestlers jumping around in the WWE cage, but how do they get there? Especially when they don’t have an early opportunity to compete and see what it takes?  

Over the summer the Kansas State High School Activities Association decided to add girls wrestling to the winter sports season. 

The association decided that this is necessary because of all the girls that are, or have been, interested in wrestling. The changes may not seem very transformative in the league at first, because the adaptations will depend on the amount of interested girls. In the past, girls have been allowed to compete as part of the boys wrestling team, but this addition will allow female wrestlers to have more options and be viewed as legitimate contenders in the sport. The new plan is to treat the wrestling practices and tourneys like track meets, and having the boys and girls practicing together, as well as competing in the same meets. The teams would be under the direction of one coach. Adding a separate coach for the girls would depend on the amount of participants. 

History and Government teacher John Corman is currently the head coach of the team, and was pleased with the turnout of girls for the first official year of the girls league. “This is more than we’ve seen here at Central in a while, we’ve got some girls that are going to be coming up through the system down the road too, so I think it will be something that’s easy to build off in the future, (…) I’m happy with the numbers that we had come out,” Corman said. 

Our Central High School wrestling program currently has a total of 6 girls, and sophomore Makayla Anderson is one of them. “There are two heavy weights, three light weights, and then there’s me who’s 170 and doesn’t have a girl in my weight (class), so I wrestle the heaviest of the three lightweights, Kate,” Anderson said. The girls usually don’t wrestle the boys at practice, but they still practice as a team and do exactly the same things. 

“We do exactly what the boys do. Warm ups, wrestling, conditioning. Everything is the same concept, just we are girls, and they are guys.¨ 

The girls travel with the JV to meets and the meets will work kind of the same way. “We would wrestle the girl(s) in our weight class, unless there isn’t one (…) and in that case we would have the choice to say ‘I’ll wrestle him” or ‘I’d rather not’,” Anderson said. 

Junior Katelee Jennings says, “It all depends on preference, some girls don’t want to wrestle guys and don’t have to. There are some all girls tournaments and others will have girls and guys but the girls will be pooled together. Some duels won’t have girls and so we might have to wrestle a guy, if both people are okay with it”. 

Jennings has had experience with wrestling for a high school team before as well as a connection with wrestling as a child. “I did wrestling at my old school and my dad was a wrestler, so I grew up watching it on TV and always thought it was really cool,” Jennings said. 

Jennings wrestling background gives her a leg up on the other girls who might not have had the same opportunities. “The only thing I’d change would be to teach more complex moves to the ones who had wrestled before”. 

Like all the wrestlers, Jennings has high hopes for the season, “The team this year looks really good and they are picking up moves quite well. Everyone on the team works hard, which is really hard to find.” 

While the players may be excited for their season to come, Coach Corman is enthusiastic about the future of the program, “I think it’s a good thing to get started, when it actually gets rolling I think it’s going to work much better. You know the initial phase of everything it always feels awkward because you’re trying to get everything set and not everybody’s used to it, but I think down the road when the state of Kansas has everything set up and teams have done it for a number of years, it’s just gonna become something that’s normal, it’s just an every year thing.