The Wrestling Room

A place of pain,

A place of comfort,

The wrestling room is a paradoxical place. It represents strength and vulnerability. Competition and cooperation.

For many wrestlers, their wrestling room is a type of home. They know it, the routine, and people who are associated with it, and they feel comfortable there. On the contrary, it is also an uncomfortable place. It is where wrestlers have to move out of their comfort zone and to try new things. Where they often fail over and over again to eventually become better.

Many friendships are formed in a wrestling room; there’s just something about suffering, working hard and accomplishing something with people that creates a bond like no other. Some of my best friends have been made in a wrestling room (or in multiple wrestling rooms). The camaraderie of wrestling is unlike any I have ever seen before. There forms a brother or sisterhood between people, and you know that your people have your back.

It is a place of failure but also a place of improvement. Practices are hard, and often require a lot of trying over and over again. You have to put your moves to the test, and most of the time they don’t work on the first try, or the second… but maybe on the 102nd try. As they do work in the wrestling room, people are broken, but champions are made.

Long days and nights are often accompanied with wrestling. Coming early to practice, or staying later after to get better. The wrestling room lays wait for wrestlers to come take advantage of being on the mat. Competitions and tournaments are all day events, and so those long days are a time to show what you have been doing in your long practice days.

It is a place of respect. Respect of your coaches, your teammates, the mats, and respect of yourself. In our wrestling room, we listen to our coaches, do what they say, and shake their hands after practice. You respect your teammates, even if you don’t like them; part of that respect means not going easy on them, and being a good partner. Helping them when they need it, and lifting them up when necessary. You respect your opponents and their coaches. You both are trying to be the best, and you need to recognize and respect that. You respect the mats and other equipment that is needed for the sport. And you respect yourself. You hold your head high, keep your composure, and work hard to reach your potential.

The wrestling room is so many things depending on who you ask. A place of learning, of strength, of hard work.

For me, it is all of those things… it is home.

Time to Compete

It’s October, that means not only spooky season, but wrestling season.

November is when it all starts! (With the exception of some preseason competitions at the end of October)

For SFU, it all starts on Saturday!

The women will compete in their first tournament on Saturday in Calgary Alberta; the ‘Dino Open’. This tournament is a common first competition of the year for SFU, and serves as a good meet to get the team back into the competition mindset along with getting in some good matches with other teams from Canada.

The Men will kick off their season with the SFU Open on November 2nd. This is an international tournament for the men and women and will bring in some great competition for both sides from both Canada and the US.

The Women’s team is looking strong this year, returning as the runner up at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships. They will be losing two-time National Champion Dominique Parrish, but will have a lot of great talent returning and incoming for next year.

There are a lot of good women this year for the Simon Fraser Clan, and according to an article by American Women’s Wrestling, there are quite a few girls ranked in the WCWA. Some girls to look out for this year include Junior Ciara McCrae, Redshirt Junior Lauren Mason both ranked 3rd in their respective weight classes, Juniors Alex Hedrick and Alyvia Fiske both ranked 2nd, and Sophomore Serena Woldring ranked 2nd as well. Redshirt Senior Nicole Depa will be returning this year off an injury and will be looking to claim her first title after three 2nd place finishes.

The women’s team will also be adding 10 new members including sisters Karla and Ana Godinez Gonzalez, both National team members for Canada. Ana also comes off this summer as the Junior and Senior National Champion and World Team Member. Other girls to keep an eye on this year are Khaya MacKillop, and Victoria Seal.

As this new season begins, the Simon Fraser University Women’s Wrestling team looks ahead with hopeful eyes. With a strong returning team, they are hoping to continue past traditions of performing and representing the Clan well. They have high goals, and will be working hard to prepare for tournaments starting this weekend and all throughout the year.

The women will be competing in the WCWA National Championships in February, but will also be adding a NCAA National tournament for the first time in history. With a team full of good girls and a season full of good tournaments, the team has high hopes for this year.

Stay tuned for some great wrestling to come!

Women’s College Wrestling

“So do you wrestle for your school? With the boys?”

I get a lot of questions about wrestling, but this one (and ones similar to it) is probably the most commonly asked…

So, here’s some clarification.

The answer is yes, I wrestle for my school, Simon Fraser University. SFU, among many other universities, has a men and a women’s wrestling team. (Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @SFUWrestling) There are about 25 girls on my team from all over the United States and Canada.

Since SFU is an NCAA school, our boys wrestle with the other NCAA schools. Women’s wrestling however is not an NCAA sanctioned sport yet, so the schools with programs formed their own governing body known as the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association or WCWA. This is the organization that puts on our National tournament, and regulates the teams to ensure fairness and equality. There is a National Tournament every year in February, and last year there were over 60 teams competing.

But this year, along with the WCWA tournament, there will be an NCAA tournament as well! Exciting!

This summer, women’s college wrestling earned “emerging sport status“, one of the first steps in introducing it into the NCAA full time. A decision backed by many wrestling organizations including USA Wrestling and the US Olympic Committee as well. Check out this article for more information on that decision.

This is an exciting time for women’s wrestling, and introducing the sport into the NCAA will open doors for women and girls everywhere. Now, girls coming out of high school will not have to choose between a school where they want to go to for academics and a school where they want to go for wrestling. Many times, girls have to look at a school they want to go to, but doesn’t have wrestling, or another school that has it, so they have to choose between the two. Nicole Depa, one of the captains of the SFU wrestling team said that she thinks it is “about time! And it will be a great thing for women’s wrestling and sports in general.” Women’s wrestling is actually the fastest growing sport in the United States, which makes this announcement so exciting for girl wrestlers now and years to come.

These girls who wrestle are amazing. (And yes I may be a little biased) But they have high hopes and dreams, work hard, and create an environment for others to be their best as well. On my team, we have many girls on the National or World team for Canada and the United States, and this year, we have quite a few Olympic Hopefuls.

Another question I get is, “Is there women’s wrestling in the Olympics?”

And to that, I say yes, there is women’s wrestling in the Olympics.

Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in history, and the men have been competing in the Olympics since 708 BC, but the women first competed in the Olympics in 2004. This is the ultimate goal for a lot of women who wrestle, and that is what they are working towards.

So yes, there is a lot going on in realm of women’s wrestling, but just wait; it’s only just begun.