Women in Wrestling

A Sophomore’s Perspective On Learning From A Sport
Delaney Yablon, a sophomore, starting her match during the wrestling season.
Delaney Yablon, a sophomore, starting her match during the wrestling season.
Delaney Yablon

During my freshman year, I went out for wrestling. My Dad was an amazing wrestler and I always was amazed by the sport.

The strength, flexibility, and mindset of a wrestler is like no other. My first day of practice I vomited all over the inside of my shirt, probably half related to overexertion and half due to nerves. I went home and cried, embarrassed to look at myself and prayed—nobody saw what happened.

The next day at practice, it was miserable. Nobody wanted to be my partner because I was the only girl on the all boys team. Before practice, the big group of boys divided into smaller social groups. Everyone had someone, but I felt alone. I went to practice everyday that week until my bones felt crippled. I had bruises everywhere and mat-burned knees. The pain turned into power, hunger, and fuel. Which made me push myself harder everyday. My coaches gave lessons not only about wrestling but on how to become the best version of myself. I started prioritizing by eating right, lifting in my free time and going on runs. 

There is always someone working harder so you need to outwork them.

I strive for better technique on the mat, to get stronger, to build endurance and to become more flexible. Most importantly, you need to have confidence. I was never a confident person before wrestling. I hated my appearance and how I was perceived. 

On the mat you are by yourself.

You have coaches yelling on the sideline and parents cheering you on from the bleachers. My first match I was going up against an experienced girl wrestler. I put the headgear on, blocking the noise from my surroundings but not the internal noise. Deep breaths in and out. No time to think, it was solely based on muscle memory of what I had learned over the last two weeks. I shoved my mouth guard in, making it even harder to breathe. My thoughts ask, “why did I do this to myself?” 

Whistles blow, clock begins.

I made it to the third period, but I was beat. Though I lost by a lot, I still gave it my everything during those six minutes. My opponent won and we shook hands. The referee took her arm showing everyone the winner and I exit the mat with my head down—feeling like a loser. 

I was the lightest on my team, beginning the season at 96 lbs. My partners at practice all weighed much more than me. Being 20-30 lbs lighter made everything harder. Boys naturally have more testosterone, which makes it easier to acquire more muscle mass. That just meant I had to work harder and smarter. 

The season went on and I started to become discouraged. There was always either no girl in my weight class or I lost. However, finally it was my hand being raised, but I only felt somewhat satisfied. Of course I was thrilled, but I needed to win every match.

I had to be better.

No, I had to be the best.

I needed to break the typical comments I got based on girls wrestling. I had to prove that I have what it takes. 

I lost and won some matches that season. Wrestling helped me bring out the physical and mental power I have. I stopped caring about how I was perceived. I grew confidence and never put my head down. From last year to this year my body fat dropped from 22 percent to 11 percent due to all of the grind, blood, sweat, and tears poured on the mat. I ended up making a few friends who helped encourage me to keep going. This sport improved both my physical and mental health.

For that I am thankful. 

If you are interested in wrestling—do it.

Do not give up when it gets hard, and give it 110%.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Junker
Samantha Junker, Engineer
Grade: 10 Years as an Engineer: 0 How do you contribute to being a Roader? "I am a part of the orchestra." What song do you listen to the most? “Want you back” by Cher Lloyd What motivates you? "Writing pretty notes!" Why journalism? "I thought writing about what I wanted to write about would be fun and good practice for English class and college." 
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