Wamego sees major growth in girls wrestling

Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 11:31 PM CST
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WAMEGO, Kan. (WIBW) - Through his years as the head coach of Wamego girls wrestling, Luke Meyer has never seen more than one middle school girl enter the program. This season, that number has risen to 11.

”I’ve never had more than one girl come out at a time for our middle school season,” said Coach Meyer. “This year we kinda thought was the same, and when we got to the start of the season, I had 11 girls show up. Only one who had ever wrestled before.”

At Wamego Middle School’s wrestling practice, you can now find all 11 of those girls practicing right alongside the boys team. The increase in participation matters a lot to girls like Isabella Stream, the only second year on the team.

“This is my first year wrestling only girls,” said Stream. “It makes me feel a lot more confident that I’m actually gonna pursue a passion in it.”

All it took for some first years like Rachel Barber to join was to just try it out. She says her favorite part of wrestling is taking down people and learning new techniques.

“I started watching wrestling here and there. And started just feeling like, ‘Oh yeah, I might like this.’ So then I just like tried it out and just felt good about it,” said Barber.

The team is even getting the high school girls team involved.

“While we’re in the middle school season, we’ll all kind of be together, which will be their teammates in the coming years,” said Coach Meyer. “So they’ll get to see what it looks like when they get to high school.”

Though finding opponents from other schools to compete with can be a bit difficult, Coach Meyer says seeing the impact this sport has had on these 11 girls does not go unnoticed.

“The self-confidence that it teaches these girls, it takes them to places that they’ve never been before. It helps them work through things that they’ve never worked through before,” said Coach Meyer. “Just to see their self-confidence grow is great for me.”