The W.O.W. Team of Pennsylvania battled our very own Beat the Streets girls this weekend in the first ever NY-PA Women’s Dual Meet / Wrestle Around. Sandy Bonilla and Ruth Leger of Brooklyn put on some impressive performances with Sandy hitting a well-timed fireman’s throw in her first match. Ruth went toe to toe in both her matches against Kasey Krucek of PA, with the first match going to criteria and the second match going to clinch after the 2nd period. Kasey ultimately earned the win both times. Both Kasey and Ruth will represent their home states of Pennsylvania and New York, respectively, at the coming Junior Nationals at the end of July.
Jessica Zarowny and Natalie Rogers also showed promise in their competition debuts. Natalie and Jessica’s match went to the 3rd period with an ultimate win by Natalie based on criteria. Natalie Cortez of Brooklyn opened the dual up in a tight match against Megan Penny of PA. Honorable mention should be given to Cassidy Ferrell of PA who put an aggressive, technically sound performance in the lightweight matches of the night giving up at least 10lbs to her lightest opponent, Nyasa Bakker of Brooklyn. While Nyasa has been out due to injury recently, her performance this weekend shows promise for the coming folkstyle season.
The history of the “wrestle around” dates back to the late 1990’s where Brookline High School in Massachusetts had one of the first Women’s wrestling teams on the East Coast. Given that there are usually no more than 1 or 2 girls on all-male squads, holding formal Women’s dual meets is difficult. Addressing this challenge, parents at Brookline organized informal “wrestle arounds” so that local girls on all-male teams could practice against people more closely matched in muscle mass.
For many female wrestlers, these informal wrestle arounds were one of very few chances they had to compete amongst other women, and to more accurately gauge how far their own wrestling had progressed when the element of male to female muscle strength was taken out of the equation.
Because female wrestlers tend to be geographically spread out and immersed in men’s wrestling, programs such as the Beat the Streets Women’s Program and the W.O.W. program strengthen the Women’s wrestling network and awareness of the womens freestyle wrestling circuit. The World Championships have included women for decades, but many in the United States are still surprised to see women wrestling. In the interest of network-building, a picnic was held for all the competitors and their high school teams coaches after the competition this weekend.
Special thanks to Shane Strumwasser, our volunteer referree, Hana Askren, volunteer assistant coach, and Justin Hoch, our volunteer score keeper. This dual could not have gone on without you. Also, thanks too to Chris Rogers for providing sandwiches for the picnic and a much more savory alternative to my cooking.
Lastly, thank you to Mike Torriero, Brian Giffin, and the entire team at Beat the Streets, whose support without which this program would not exist.