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Grrrl power!

Bauhinia Chen ‘26

Feb 2, 2024

Blue Storm wrestling has seen a rise in popularity among female athletes. With each passing year, more female wrestlers are joining the team. 

Compared to last season, the team as a whole has formed close relationships with each other, creating a supportive and friendly environment, especially for the arriving females. Head coach Matt Shirk said, “I’ve seen a lot of growth in team culture. Everyone is buying into the team dynamic. This year, the team is becoming a lot more close-knit. The wrestlers often hang out with each other outside of practice. We spend so many hours here together. For them to continue this is huge, as it makes the dynamic better across the board, and it makes it more fun for us as coaches.”

In this encouraging atmosphere, girl wrestlers have showcased their notable progress across the season. “Although it’s not been going as well as I planned to, it's getting better. We’re making progress… As a whole, we’re developing. Overall, I’m very proud of them,” said Shirk.

The girls have focused more on growth than match results because the experienced players have set a good example of engagement. Marlo Williams ‘25 said, “I think from where we started to where we've got now, there’s been a lot of progress. We’ve been working really hard.” 

Claire Chow ‘26 added, “The girls have improved a lot. Elise [Gao ‘26] and I are the newest to wrestling. Marlo, Cocona [Yamamoto ‘25], and Lilah [Weisberg ‘25] have wrestled before, and they’re really helping us out. Personally, I’m learning a lot from them.”

In practice, wrestlers have been working to hone their skills. Weisberg said, “We’ve been doing a lot of drills and conditioning in our practices.”

Williams added, “We’re focusing on really locking down our technique. We all know what moves we need to do, but Coach is reminding us of all the little things to give us that slight advantage against our opponents.” 

Although the team has been making consistent development, there have been many injuries and illnesses along the way. Shirk said, “The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is injuries. We’re deep in the season for a combat spot, which is 100% physical. Our greatest task right now is just to stay healthy.” Gao said, “We are really having a hard time right now because a lot of our wrestlers are out due to COVID or ringworm.” 

Additionally, many wrestlers have begun to succumb to fatigue due to the demanding nature of the sport. Shirk said, “The wrestlers work hard every day, brutally. Physical contact alone is taxing.”

Gao added, “Wrestling is difficult because of how intense it is. You have to be physically and mentally fit. You have to show up every day, and it’s starting to take a toll.” Chow agreed, “The team is slowly burning out.”

Despite these setbacks, the wrestlers are always striving to be the best versions of themselves on the mats. The team’s goal for the rest of the season is to strengthen the girls’ commitment to the team and, most importantly, to have fun. Chow said, “For newcomers, Coach wants us to develop a love for wrestling and enjoy it.” 

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