Girls Grapple With the Guys
As far as winter sports go, wrestling may be one of the most grueling. A match entails three exhausting rounds which require strength, wit, and sheer willpower. A true “man’s” sport…but not this year.
The 2011 Sequim High Wrestling team has several girls training, with at least two competing. Among the girls are freshman Kaylee Ditlefsen and sophomore Emily Halverson.
This is Kaylee’s third year wrestling, as she wrestled at the middle school level and enjoyed success throughout her past seasons. She began wrestling as an outlet to continue her passion for sports during the winter months, and was pleasantly surprised.
“I immediately loved it; the energy on the mat is incredible. It’s just the competition that makes you want to get better,” said Ditlefsen.
Emily’s journey on the wrestling mat is just beginning, and she credits her curiosity for the sport to her brother Dorian Halverson who has been wrestling competitively for a while now.
“I really like it so far. It makes you feel stronger, like mentally strong. You want to give up but you can’t. You have to keep going,” said Halverson.
Both girls agree that getting respect from guys on opposing teams has been a serious hurdle. “Some of the guys think were there just to play a guy’s sport. And they’ll joke or make comments but as soon as we beat them, or they even see us trying hard they definitely give us respect,” said Ditlefsen.
While the guys of the SHS wrestling team were skeptical at first, Emily has nothing but positive feelings towards them. “We’re all teammates and we all support each other. It’s all about the team,” said Halverson. Kaylee feels the same and said she thoroughly enjoys everyone’s company.
“I really like everyone and all the girls on the team are especially close because we’re usually off on our own,” said Ditlefsen.
So far Kaylee has won four matches, and lost three, but the guys she has lost to, are all state ranked wrestlers. According to Ditlefsen there are rarely hard feelings afterward between her and the guys that she wrestles. Ditlefsen said she once “ended up dating a boy that she wrestled at the middle school level.” For the start of her season, Emily attended an all-girl tournament and placed fourth.
Both girls continue to push away stereotypes and reverse gender roles in hopes of proving anything a man can do, is also achievable by a woman. These two strong, young girls are both determined to continue their success throughout the season and high school as well.
Kaylee even hopes to progress to the college level one day, and feels persistence and hard work may land her there. The days of the “man’s” sport are truly coming to an end.