Girls Wrestling Steps Into the Spotlight

Bria Dawson, Staff Writer

Girls on the wrestling team pose at a strength and conditioning session. Photo courtesy of the ON Girls Wrestling Twitter @ongirlswrestli1

For many years, Olathe North has had Boys Wrestling with girl wrestlers on the team. Josh Price, the Olathe North Athletic Director, announced the first official girls wrestling team. With a new coach and many new girls eager to learn the sport, coaches and athletes are preparing for the new season with their own team.

Catherine Duong, 12, and does wrestling as her main sport. Even though there was not a wrestling team for girls, she persevered and competed as a part of the Boys Wrestling meets. Even though she made it onto the team, being able to relate to the other boys on the team was a struggle.

“We never really talked to the boys when we were co-ed,” says Duong.

Alongside Duong, Liz Ruggles, 12, also competed with the boys team. While there was no wrestling team, many girls did not join the wrestling team. Because of this, female members on the team were not very common.

“In the beginning, there were only four girls when I started wrestling and that was record numbers,” says Ruggles.

Even with small numbers in the past, the girls team is growing and fast. Lots of new girls are ambitious to try something new and learn the sport. This gives hope to past members for the program.

“Now we’ve got like 20 girls on the team and I think it’s really cool seeing everyone try something super new to them,” says Ruggles.

A lot of stuff has changed for these girls this year, including their coach. Dylan Hitchcock has been a coach for twenty-one years, six of those years being the Boys Wrestling Assistant Coach. Record numbers show that Hitchcock will have a lot to handle.

My number 1 goal was to increase our numbers, we had 5 girls on the boys/ girls team last year, this year we are starting the season with 25,” says Hitchcock. “Any success we have in the future will be built off building up the numbers and creating a positive team culture moving forward,”.

Most of the girls on the team are new to the wrestling world. Hitchcock’s experience and ambition makes him positive for a great season to come.

“We are going to need to be resilient and confident and technically do the small things better than everyone else.” says Hitchcock. “I want to see the team have fun and learn to love and grow in the sport of wrestling,”

Being a coach takes a lot of time and effort. Even though there are some things Hitchcock wants to build in his girls for the season.

“I want to see the team have fun and learn to love and grow in the sport of wrestling,” says Hitchcock.

Programs and challenges are bound to come when making a new team. Although they are excited for a new season with their own team, there are some things that they are nervous about in this upcoming season.

“It’s a little strange because it’s so underdeveloped,” says Duong. “ I really miss the boy’s wrestling coaches because they were really nice,”.

Wrestling is known as a sport of muscular endurance and strength. Although these traits fit in this factor, those skills are not all that is needed in the sport of wrestling.

“Mentality. It’s at least 70% of it. If you believe you won’t do it, you won’t. It’s simple as that,” says Ruggles.

Everything for these girls this season is new. Issues are sure to come up and things will not always be easy. But with the positive mindset of the girls on the team, good things are sure to come for the first season of the Lady Eagle Wrestlers.

“As a team, I want us to win something as a team at a competition,” says Ruggles. “I just can’t wait to see what in five years it looks like,”.