Students push for women’s wrestling team

Galen Posch

Led by junior Joanna Moreira, a group of students is attempting to form a Liberty women’s wrestling team to participate in the upcoming winter season. If they are successful, it would be the first women’s wrestling team ever at Liberty.

“There are girls out there who want to wrestle. But a few things are keeping them from doing that, and one is that they have to wrestle boys, which they don’t have to do anymore,” wrestling Coach John Gardiner said. “Now girls have their own wrestling tournaments, they have their own state championships and district championships, regional championships, and they wrestle against other girls.”

In past seasons, girls on the wrestling team have practiced with the boys and wrestled with boys in competitions. If a separate women’s wrestling team is successfully created, then girls will be able to participate in a separate wrestling league only for girls, have a team with its own coach and separate funding, and be able to hold their own practices separate from the boys.

Joanna was the only female member of the wrestling team during the 2012-2013 winter season. Joanna made the state tournament for girls in both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 season, placing 8th at state last winter.

“Joanna’s driving this whole thing. She deserves a lot of credit for how hard she’s working in trying to get this whole thing going,” wrestling Gardiner said. “For girls who are wondering, Joanna is a great leader, and if she’s the one who becomes the team captain, she’s a great person to have as a leader.

To form the team, seven Liberty students need to sign up by the start of the winter season; at least six students are currently expected to join the team based on a meeting held in late September.

Liberty would not be the first school in Washington to have a separate woman’s wrestling team. There is currently competition at the regional, district, and state level, and women’s wrestling tournaments regularly take place every weekend.

“I know there are girls out there who don’t want to play basketball or do gymnastics and for those girls we want to invite them to come out and wrestle if they want to play a sport and get in shape, especially if they have an aggressive type of attitude and they enjoy the physicality of wrestling,” Gardiner said.