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Wrestling decides to split formerly coed practices

Decision to separate wrestling  practices sparks hope for the possibility of a larger girls team

Originally published on November 9. 2021 by Alexa Terry (Staff Reporter)

Members of the girls wrestling team celebrate wins at metro championships in 2019. (Jared Daniels)

For the 2021 winter season, Ballard wrestling coach Jared Daniels has decided to split the girls’ practices from the boys’.  The newly separated wrestling practices contrast previous years when they were combined. 

The term “coed” has often been used when describing the team even though girls and boys compete separately at events. Coaches and players say that they hope this shift will change the school’s perception of wrestling and encourage more students to try out the sport. 

Junior Cass Sylves, captain of the girls wrestling team, stresses that the change could mark an important shift, especially for girls wrestling at our school. 

“We are our own team. You know basketball, girls basketball and boys basketball don’t practice together. Neither do we now,” Sylves said.

Daniels agrees with Sylves, saying that the Washington Metro league continues to recognize wrestling as a coed sport, which contradicts the way wrestling is run at the school level.

“Metro just recognizes wrestling as a coed sport,” Daniels said. “I just think this has got to change.”

Daniels hopes that with growing numbers, the teams will be able to win tournaments not only at metros, but at the state level.

“I think our girls can compete at a very high level in the state. And in order to do that we need a bigger team.” Daniels said. 

One of the main goals with this transition is to recruit more girls to the wrestling teams by correcting some of the harmful stereotypes that surround the sport as a whole. Daniels illustrates how girls have been apprehensive to join in the past because of this fear. 

“Girls have walked by and watched wrestling practice, and seen the girls out there competing next to the boys, not necessarily with the boys, but wrestling and practicing with the boys at the same time,” Daniels said. “In their head they get this idea that they have to wrestle boys, and that’s not the case.”

With the practices being split up, the program hopes to make it clear that girls wrestling does not require participants to wrestle boys if they don’t want to. With the girls team now standing alone, Sylves hopes that girls who wrestle will no longer be going against the norm. 

“Instead of being a bunch of girls playing a guys sport we will be girls playing our own female sport,” Sylves said. 

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Wrestling decides to split formerly coed practices