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Inkspot

Wrestling team adds female competitors to roster

The wrestling team has seen some new faces this year, adding two female athletes to their roster of previously all boys. Shelby Hailey and Pyper Wood joined the team for the 2019-2020 wrestling season.

“My brother joined the team [in middle school],” Wood said, ”and I realized that I wanted to do it with him, but I didn’t realize that I would be the only girl for that season.”

The boys wrestle with the same intensity, and treat Wood and Hailey almost entirely as equals, according to both girls.

Even though Wood and Hailey get the same experiences, both girls have to take extra precautions to make sure they stay safe and out of any potential harm. Although they were both given some leniency in middle school wrestling, the hair situation is different for high school.

“Last year we had to wear a hair cap. This year… they wanted it up,” Wood said. Keeping hair out of the way prevents disruption in the middle of a match.

Hair is not the only obstacle for the girls. Logistical issues, predictably, will come up. Where they change, who they wrestle, and a number of other problems could get in the way. The girls and them team as a whole won’t let that happen in their pursuit of trailblazing one of the biggest up and coming sports.

“Women’s wrestling,” Head Coach Trevor Kaufman said, “is the fastest-growing female sport in the United States.”

From the ’90s to now, female wrestling has seen growth from 800 to 20,000 people, starting to gain more traction in recent years.

“Right now we’re in a couple all-girls tournaments for them…they can still compete against other guys, it’s just that they want to compete against all girls.”

Kaufman hopes to implement a full women’s schedule for next year’s season. Two-piece uniforms have already been ordered and are preferred by girls and even some boys.

Wrestling opens up opportunities for the girls in terms of future colleges in Illinois. “There [are] at least six colleges in Illinois now that offer an all-female wrestling team” Kaufman mentioned, giving girls even more incentive to pursue a wrestling career. 

After becoming the first two women to win matches for the Lady Iron, Hailey and Wood have continued their historic seasons by winning their respective divisions at The Munch wrestling meet in Pontiac.

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  • Hailey on the podium after her first place finish at The Munch in Pontiac

    Ironmen Wrestling Twitter
  • Wood did the same, taking first in her own division.

    Ironmen Wrestling Twitter
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About the Contributors
Colin Flack, Senior Staff Reporter
Colin Flack is a senior at Normal Community High School involved with Strategy club. This will be his second year being a member of the Inkspot staff. If I won a million dollars, I would invest a fair bit of it, buy all of the outrageous things I've ever wanted and take my friends and family out to nice dinners and on nice trips. My slogan to live by is that if you want to succeed in life or anything at all, you have to try and put in the effort. My best advice is to listen to your gut instinct and do whatever you think is the correct choice for any given situation. The farthest I've been from home was when I went to Jamaica with my family a few winters ago.
Reid Watkins, Sports Editor
Reid Watkins is a senior at Normal Community High School and a member of the football program. In his first year with the Inkspot, Reid was promoted to Sports Editor. Reid commentates girls basketball, baseball and volleyball games that the Inkspot live streams on YouTube.  My favorite film is simultaneously Forrest Gump, Pitch Perfect and Anchorman 2. The best advice I could give to underclassmen is to respect all of your teachers.
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