Breaking Barriers on the Mat

Three American High students break the status quo

James Salazar

Staff Writer

Wrestling is a sport that is predominantly played by boys; traditionally, it is thought as “too rough” for females to play. People do not typically expect to see a girl in a unitard, matching up against other boys on the wrestling mat.

That is before three girls at American High School decided to break the barriers, as junior Annie Wilson and sophomores Kayley Ho and Kiana Camacho all decided to join the wrestling team, with Wilson and Ho returning from their sophomore and freshman campaigns respectively.

“Freshman year I was not athletic at all,” Wilson said. “Wrestling is and continues to be the only sport I have ever [played] and at first [I joined wrestling] because I couldn’t get cut from the team. Then over the span of the season, it transformed into something that I needed. Wrestling gives me a sense of pride that I don’t think any other sport can.”

However, another of the three wrestlers chose wrestling over other sports because of their perceived lack of talent at other sports.

“I had already tried out other sports sometime in the past and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy them or being able to get very far in them,” Ho said.

But for one of the wrestlers, there was another driving force behind their desire to succeed on the wrestling team.

“I went home and told my family about wrestling and they kind of laughed it off because I was never really athletic,” Wilson said. “So I decided to prove them wrong and I have been dedicated to wrestling ever since.”

On the other hand, Ho received a little extra push from one of her family members that caused her to join the team.

“Before high school, my brother suggested me to try out wrestling because he thought it’d be good for me and I just stuck with it.” Ho said. “We would always mess around [as kids], and he really just wanted me to push myself.”

However, even Wilson was not entirely sure how she, and other female wrestlers would be accepted or treated differently by the rest of the boys on the wrestling team.

“Initially my freshman year, I thought the boys on the team would look at me weird or have snide remarks,” Wilson said. “At first they gave us the awkward side glances when we had to partner to drill moves. But in actuality they treat me like their little sister they all hate but have to love because she’s so annoyingly funny.”

Like Wilson, Ho also realized that a little persistence was all that was necessary to be accepted by the rest of the boys on the team.

“I think that at first they might [have] questioned it a little but if you just keep on going they’ll eventually see you as another one of them,” Ho said.

Unfortunately, Camacho was not available to be interviewed.

But according to Wilson, wrestling is more than just something to do after school, and an activity to put on a college application. It has taught her more than the wrestling moves she expected to take from her experience.

“Wrestling gave me more than a sport to do, it’s a life lesson,” Wilson said. “It taught me that there will be stronger, faster, or more talented people than you, and you just have to work on being a better you everyday.”

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