Girls Grapple with Wrestling at NPHS

Kalina Kornacki, staff writer

With the winter sports in full game mode, it’s safe to say that this season will definitely be a season to remember…for the wrestlers at least. 

  Julie Wichtendahl (Sophomore), Annalise Carioti (Freshmen), Anna Distel (Sophomore), and Noran Elmahroukey (Senior) are all the girls participating in wrestling season, 2019-2020.

“In several states across America, women’s wrestling is the fastest growing sport,” Shane Mallory, the wrestling coach for New Providence says. “The girls mainly wrestle at the boys’ matches and then we schedule any girls’ tournaments that are available during the season. The big push will be to create a full girls’ wrestling team that can go and compete with other girls’ teams.”

Having girls competing at these tournaments and matches is a huge push towards how others view wrestling. Usually seen as a male sport, the statistics for the amount of female wrestlers has skyrocketed. Since 2004, women’s wrestling has been recognized as an Olympic sport. There are also over 70 colleges that sponsor a varsity wrestling program for girls, making it one of the fastest growing sports at the scholastic and collegiate levels. 

Many girls, like Wichtendahl and Distel, get mixed responses when telling people that they are female wrestlers. Distel says, “I take pride in saying that I am a part of the wrestling team. Most people I talk about it with actually find it very cool.”

Wichtendahl receives a much different response. “Telling people that I am a girl wrestler like teachers, adults or students, can be hard because they might express their opinion based on their religion or society standards. There are people that grew up to think that this is a man’s sport, but that has changed.” 

As Wichtendahl says, wrestling is still seen as a male sport. But these girls are working to change that.

“Girls can excel at wrestling and enjoy the sport just like the guys can if they are willing to put in hard work,” Carioti states. “The coaches also treat the girls and boys equally. Both are expected to put in long hours of training to excel.”

In order to excel, there needs to be practice. Practices for all sports is difficult, no matter what sport you do. Athletes everywhere can agree that the practices they go through are intense, especially when conditioning is involved. But it seems that wrestling practices are on a whole other level of difficult. They are heavily dedicated to cardio, which makes the wrestlers stronger in a 6 minute match. According to Distal, the conditioning is “rough and very fast paced” and sometimes, the wrestlers even go into “the hallways for sprints”. 

Even with these challenges, the girls are making their mark in the gym and on the mats. “I am finding out that there are some teenage girls more willing to challenge themselves and build [more] toughness than boys,” Coach Mallory says. “Girls are proving they have toughness and willingness to be challenge[d], that some boys do not.”

The toughness in the girls isn’t the only quality they have mastered as wrestlers. Coach Mallory also sees them as being “battle tested, mentally tough, used to and respond well to adverse circumstances, resilient, disciplined, structured, hav[ing] excellent body awareness, accountability, responsibility, and supreme confidence.”

As the season progresses, the girls hope to continue seeing progress in their skills and improvement in their attitudes when walking onto the mat or into a match.

Wichtendahl says that, “I want to be more aggressive and this will help my moves and the whole match.”  

These girls are hardworking, dedicated, and incredible at what they do. They are always willing to put in the extra effort to learn more and grow in their sport. We wish them the best of luck for the future and cannot wait to see how they succeed!