Lady Gaucho Wrestlers Tackle Down Stereotypes

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Lady Gaucho Wrestlers Tackle Down Stereotypes

The Lady Gauchos pose at a wrestling practice: these athletes are breaking gender norms in school sports.

The Lady Gauchos pose at a wrestling practice: these athletes are breaking gender norms in school sports.

Photo by Megan Gauer

The Lady Gauchos pose at a wrestling practice: these athletes are breaking gender norms in school sports.

Photo by Megan Gauer

Photo by Megan Gauer

The Lady Gauchos pose at a wrestling practice: these athletes are breaking gender norms in school sports.

Rachel Gauer, Reporter

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As the winter sports season recently came to a close, the Gaucho wrestlers prepared to either advance to the North Coast Section (NCS) Championships or finish their season. However, the agenda for the wrestling team is quite different: all female wrestlers automatically advanced to the NCS championships due to the lack of girls on the team. 

Junior Lillian McCoy wrestles Sophomore Connor Gloster.

This season there were roughly 50 wrestlers on the team, with only about nine females. Though this is less than 20 percent of the team, this number is higher than average: for the 2017/2018 wrestling season, only about six percent of high school wrestlers were female nationwide, making wrestling a highly male-dominated sport.

That being said, females are the clear minority in the sport; despite this, the Lady Gauchos give it their all. Sophomore Skyler Finley shares how she feels as one of the few female wrestlers on the team.

“Being surrounded by guys, it’s not intimidating, but I feel like I have to prove myself more to the guys. Because girls wrestling is not as well known or popular,  there’s not as much respect and knowledge about it, so it makes that a little difficult. However, it’s not anything that’s too overwhelming or anything that I can’t handle,” said Finley.

Junior Lillian McCoy has made her mark on not only our school’s wrestling team but also the national girls rankings: McCoy is ranked eighth in the nation in her weight class. Though she has found many successes in her time as a wrestler so far, she did not see that success when she began. Beginning the sport in her seventh-grade year Kenilworth Junior High School, McCoy shares about the troubles of her start in wrestling.

“I showed up to the first practice [in seventh grade]. I was actually dying: there was so much conditioning and so much pain in my body that I didn’t even know how to register it. Soon I actually started to like it, but I didn’t want to tell anyone, so I just kept coming to practice. So then the first meet came around, and I asked my dad for all of the wrestling gear the day before. It was funny because I wasn’t even good and I lost a lot my first year, but I just fell in love with it. 

Photo by Megan Gauer
Sophomores Kaia Stites and Skyler Finley practice together after school.

Though wrestling can be very intimidating, Sophomore Kaia Stites explains how the intimidation can help with gaining self-confidence.

“As a girl, it boosts your self-confidence. I know that a lot of girls very insecure about weight because wrestling revolves around weight, but I think it is a way to get over your insecurities. We have to walk around at tournaments with our weights sharpied on our shoulders, and everyone can see. You just get used to it,” said Stites.

The girls also have found a special connection with not only one another but also the entire team through their common sport. Stites shares her outlook on the wrestling bond that they all share.

Freshman Mykaela Obermann and junior Arora Viera are two of the nine female wrestlers at the school.

“Wrestling is great for me because now I have a community of wrestlers and when I walk down the halls I see all these other people who are on my team.  We all consider our team as a family since we spend so much time together. I think everyone else feels this way too, so it is really nice and cool to have that support,” said Stites.

This past season, junior Lillian McCoy and junior Arora Viera both advanced to state after the NCS competition. McCoy finished in fifth place in the girl’s tournament.

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