Girl's Wrestling: Crossing the BarrierPosted: Updated:
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Wrestling: historically it was a sport for men to test strength, mettle, and desire. At Sunnyside, the school no longer sets boundaries in the sport on who can compete. If he or she has the determination, then get on the mate and wrestle.
Sunnyside head coach of 25 years George Paulus said, "You know I mean they all have two arms, two legs, and a head. So we can do everything we can with the boys with them."
Although coach's acceptance was immediate, some girls were still skeptical if the boys on the team would be as receptive.
Girls wrestler Yunuenn Garcia said, "At that time I was more concerned if my teammates would accept me. If they would like...be like...yeah that's cool that a girl joined. Or no it's bad."
Amber Rodriguez paved the road of acceptance for girls wrestling at sunny side. Last winter she achieved history, by placing fourth in the second ever girls state wrestling tournament.
She said, "I feel like a small town hero...in a way. Knowing that I actually inspired other girls and women to do wrestling in Eastern Washington."
This fall to help complete this transition of girls into the program, the Grizzlies hired a female coach.
Gina Hopkins said, "I'm their voice. I try to show strength, holding their head up. Right now we're going to get a lot of looks as we're evolving."
Yes it's true. Outside of Sunnyside, girls wrestling is still a novel concept, and may garner some misguided looks. However, that is of no consequence to the girls on the team. Wrestling is all that matters, not the public perception.
Garcia added, "I want the girls to know that they can do it. That they can win. Not just be like, oh just cause their girls and their up against guys they can't win. I've seen girls that can pin a guy, and that's pretty cool. I think that's awesome."