Jericho High School is one of many schools that now incorporates girls in its wrestling program. The wrestling team, comprised predominantly of boys, now includes two female wrestlers, freshmen Emily G. and Sasha R. It seems most people are in support of females and males wrestling together.
Many staff members at Jericho High School are supportive the females who have taken on this challenge. Ms. Queen, who advocates for female empowerment, said “Female wrestlers should absolutely be able to wrestle with males because if you are putting yourself out there in the male world, get ready to roll up your sleeves.”
Principal Ms. Rosenberg expressed her thoughts as a parent. “My son wrestled here for six years, so there were times when he was wrestling a girl. He felt it was sometimes a little odd. I guess that’s something you have to get used to if you’re the guy or the girl.”
In addition, varsity wrestling coach Mr. Brodsky believes females should be encouraged to participate. “To me, I don’t look at them as a female or a male, I look at them as a wrestler. I think that the respect level that goes on among the girls and the guys on the team is unbelievable,” he said.
Assistant wrestling coach Mr. Demetres believes that having females on the team is a great asset. “Our girls this year worked extremely hard. I don’t think that there’s any difference between the girls and the boys,” he said.
Emily G. and Sasha R. are honored to be part of the team. When asked how they felt wrestling boys, Emily said, “I’m pretty comfortable. It was pretty awkward at first, but after some time, it became normal.” Sasha agreed with her teammate, and said it seemed that the boys became more scared of wrestling them the boys. She also has hopes for where the team will go in the future. “I think it would be very interesting if there was an all-girls team, but it might take a while because not that many girls want to do it,” she said.
Freshman wrestler Kian G. gave his opinion on having girls on the team. “I wrestled a girl in a scrimmage once and my coaches just told me, ‘Listen, they are a girl and they did wrestling so just treat them like anyone, so that’s what I did.” He added that the addition of the girls has furthered the diversity of the team.
Towards the end of this past season, motivational speaker Rohan Murphy visited with Jericho High School’s wrestling team. A very successful wrestler who lost both of his legs at birth, Murphy spoke to the members of the wrestling team who were then given the opportunity to wrestle with him. Murphy never wrestled a girl, but has seen them compete and he is supportive of the matter. Referring to having girls on the team, he said, “That’s great for the sport. It is helping the sport grow.”
Wrestling the opposite gender may seem odd to some people, but the Jericho community and many others appreciate that females are taking on the challenge to wrestle with males. Jericho High School’s team is thriving with the help of their female wrestlers.
—By Leetal Prezelmayer and Lauren Steinberger