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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Girls wrestling in the ring

Abigail Rudy
Take down, Gilbert has a newspaper hung in his room showcasing 2023-24 Altoona Mirror wrestling all-stars. There are three girls who appear in this photo, showing girls can wrestle too.

Sophomore Akira Kenawell is making her move by trying to start a girls’ wrestling team.

“I want to start a girls’ team because I have an interest in wrestling, and I’m sure that there are other girls that have an interest,” Kenawell said. “ The eighth graders that are going to be coming over from the junior high, they might have an interest. I know that some of them are wrestling there, and they’re doing really well. I just wanted to make them have a place where they can go.”

With the help and support of the boys’ wrestling coach, Joel Gilbert she is making a plan.

“I have talked to Mr. Gilbert, and we are going to talk to the principals,” Kenawell said. “When we get the okay to make it happen, I’m going to put flyers up around the school and then information sheets students could pick up at the counselor’s office and maybe at Mr. Gilbert’s room.”

“I think the girls should be given an opportunity to join the sport,” Gilbert said. “I’m choosing to help her because I’m the wrestling coach here. That’s why I’m a high school boys’ coach right now. It’s a great sport. There’s a lot to learn from it.”

The current team is open to anyone who wants to wrestle. There is one girl who wrestles on the boys’ wrestling team, junior Jadyn Beeny.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit hard being on the guys’ team because wrestling guys and not girls, I always feel like the guy is going to win just because it’s a hard mentality. You don’t have anyone to relate to and you are the only one in the locker room. You don’t have anyone to converse with so it can be a little difficult,” Beeny said. “Sometimes it’s like you feel very down, and sometimes I feel very down and very embarrassed that I don’t have anyone there, so it’s more so a lone wolf. Then I don’t want to go and wrestle because there’s not a lot of motivation when you don’t have anybody else.”

“I thought about joining the guys’ team but in the end, I just didn’t want to because there’s a lot that goes on in the locker rooms. I’d have to be separate from everybody and basically feel separated from the team itself,” Kenawell said.

Many other schools and places have started a girls’ wrestling team. Find more information about girls wrestling at SanctionPA.

It’s a great opportunity for girls, I mean, it’s not going to be easy. There are going to be a few things that will probably hold them back. But overall, we want to do it. The school will support them, and I believe there will be a lot of you that will support them more on the way to give them an opportunity.”

— Gilbert

“I believe Beeny is the only one that has made it through with joining the guys team. I think the boys just are much stronger than the girls and that kind of makes them a mismatch. So with the mismatch, the girls get discouraged at times, but if you had multiple girls there, and they were able to wrestle someone very similar in their built in physique there would be a better outcome,” Gilbert said.

“I have been trying to start girls’ team since last year, but I tried to recruit girls last year. They just couldn’t do it, so for anyone who is trying to start a girls’ team that’s really motivating and even if there are just four girls even that is good because you have someone to wrestle with that knows what you are going through and you are able to have a girl practicing partner,” Beeny said. “It’s very motivating that girls now want to start wrestling.”

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About the Contributor
Abigail Rudy
Abigail Rudy, Reporter
Hi. My name is Abigail Rudy. I am a junior. This is my second year writing for Mountain Echo. I enjoy reading and walking my dogs. I have four dogs and two cats. I love nature and being outdoors. I am looking forward to writing more stories this year for people to read.

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