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Barlow Girls Wrestling is Growing and Expanding Like Never Before

Lynettte Fay
Barlow Wrestling 2023-24 Team Photo

With about a month left in the season, the Barlow girls wrestling team is off to a well-deserved start. After not being able to compete in many girls tournaments, having a small team, and being in the shadows, girls wrestling is better than ever before. 

The Oregon School Activity Association (OSAA) has finally recognized girls’ wrestling as an official sport and is sponsoring many more girl’s tournaments. Head Coach, Chandler Michael, says, “I think that it adds infrastructure and validity to girls’ wrestling, and OSAA is finally catching up.” With traditional tournaments created for girls wrestling, the team is able to bond together and rise up to the occasion.

One player in particular, Sophomore Abby Richard, has recently won many tournaments. Coach Michael says her success is because “She’s quite a bit more athletic than most girls her size and she (Abby) also comes into it with a lot of experience. She did a lot of kids wrestling and she wrestles in the off-season. So that sets her ahead of a lot of people and she is also down to wrestle anybody. We’ve had her wrestle varsity boys’ matches. She’s won matches against varsity boys and she is not scared to wrestle people, so she knows how to deal with the nerves a bit better than some beginners.”

Last year, the girls wrestling team was very small with only three girls. But this year, more girls came out that had never wrestled before, making the team bigger and better. Coach Michael elaborates, “Last year we had Abby, Olivia, and Audrey. That was our whole girls team. And Olivia and Abby were freshmen. This year it’s a little different because we have a few girls that can provide leadership for the girls that are just beginning… They are able to learn together and the more experienced girls are able to help the other girls along.” He also says, “This is our first year of having more than a couple of girls, so they have grown very close this season and I think that the team chemistry is shown. They aren’t afraid to wrestle each other in competitions either. There are definitely bigger teams in our conference, but we have a good core of girls and a good group of girls that’s coming up.” Having a bigger team, even if it’s not the biggest in the conference, has been much better for the girls wrestling program at Barlow and benefited them in many ways.

After being in the shadows, wrestling is now becoming much bigger in the world. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in, not only Oregon, but also the country. With wrestling rising, Michael states, “We pride ourselves in wrestling that anybody can succeed in it if they put in the effort no matter what size or shape, and now male or female. As long as you put in the work you can succeed. It is one of the tougher things, but you are in it together with a whole team of people trying to accomplish something together so it builds a lot of comradery. Wrestling will help you for the rest of your life.” 

Wrestling is one of the toughest sports and requires much discipline and strength according to Michael. When comparing other sports to wrestling, Michael says,“One thing that’s said a lot in wrestling, is you don’t play wrestling. You can play basketball or football or all sorts of things but wrestling is not necessarily a game. It’s more of a practice, a martial art, so you wrestle. You don’t play wrestling. It’s not something you are going to put a few years in or just practice for the 2-and-a-half-month season and find success. You really got to put in extra time and if you want to be very good you got to do it year round.”

Girls wrestling is just taking off and will hopefully continue to grow and succeed in the state of Oregon and at Barlow. Keep your eyes peeled for the different Barlow girls competing in regional and state competitions as the season comes to an end. 

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About the Contributor
Reese Hyman
Reese Hyman, Staff Writer

Hi! My name is Reese Hyman and I am a Senior this year. This is my third year in Journalism and second year writing for the Banner. A fun fact about me is that I am a huge Swiftie!

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