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The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Up and Coming Sport

The girls wrestling team are currently undefeated in their duel tournaments, with only 4 more schools left to challenge. With such success it may seem like girls wrestling has been a long-established tradition in the Wichita schools, but actually, it’s a fairly new concept.
The Northwest girls wrestling team practices Dec. 4. Photo courtesy of Israel Ortiz

 According to the NWCA since 1994 the number of women who wrestle in high school has grown from just a mere 804 to 50,000 as of 2023. In 2022 the NAIA adopted women’s wrestling as the 28th championship sport. And in 2020 the NJCAA announced they would recognize women wrestling as an emerging sport.

As of January 25, 2023 the growth rate of girls wrestling has increased with an average of 46% across all states, according to Wbur.org as of 1/24/2023 wrestling is the fastest growing sport among females in the USA. As of May 17, 2023 only 38 out of the 50 states even have girls wrestling as a sport, Pennsylvania being the last to adapt to this new revolution. 

This is the first season of the girls wrestling team being its own official program, separated from the boys with head coach Tevin Kendall leading the way. There are currently 17 girls on the Northwest wrestling team, which consists of four seniors, five sophomores, three juniors, and five freshman. 

This is Kimberly Valdovin0s’ third season wrestling she is now a senior and has been a part of the program since the beginning. 

“It was a sport that I wanted to do so I just looked for the coaches, talked to them and started conditioning. After that I just kept coming and became part of the team. I get rewarded after wins because I know I have put so much work into this sport. Discipline in my life, a second family, and a positive mindset after things go wrong,” Valdovinos said.

This appreciation for the sport extends clear up to the Olympic level. In an article, U.S women’s Olympic wrestler Adeline Gray expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to compete. “ It’s kind of crazy to me that I’m now an Olympian and went from being told that I couldn’t even do this sport at one point,” Adeline Gray reportedly said. 

Girls wrestling can also provide students a new route into college as well.

“A sport in college is a big dedication. I love working and making my own money and I also want to go into the medical field which is not easy. I want to give college wrestling my all. I love wrestling and the opportunity to wrestle in college has made its way into my life. So the short answer is yes, I would love to wrestle in college. Even though it will be hard, wrestling has taught me that anything is possible with hard work and dedication,” Valdavinos said.

There are 78 division 1 Men’s wrestling colleges according to NCSA, while there are only 3 NCAA division 1 women’s wrestling colleges in the United states. Which would be one: University of Iowa, two: Sacred Heart university, and three: Presbyterian college. Michigan women’s wrestling tells us “ Its okay to see us as girls when we walk onto the mat but what are you going to think of us when we put you on your back.” This shows us that even for the girls who do not have there own program and have to wrestle with the boys they aren’t scared and evolution is coming, times are changing, and women’s wrestling is ready to take charge and be its own sport world-wide. 

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