The Girls’ Wrestling team recently achieved the high honor of being named a State Academic Champion- a title given to teams which demonstrate academic as well as athletic excellence.
Junior Brooke Mullins, Varsity wrestler describes the team’s reaction to becoming State Academic Champions.
“It was a total surprise. No one was expecting it, even though a few people on the team had 4.0s. After we found out it was all we could talk about at practice for a few days,” Mullins said.
Assistant Coach Dani Andrews describes the effort the wrestlers put in to achieve the high honor.
“We tell the girls to be the hardest workers. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you do not work hard you can be beat. Our girls work harder than any other schools I have seen. I truly believe that hard work is the most important part of our team… I love knowing that our girls are working hard on and off the mats,” Andrews said.
According to Andrews, the key to balance between sports and schoolwork is dedication.
“It is clear to me that our girls balance [schoolwork and sports] well. They will bring school work to tournaments on the weekends and do homework between matches. Wrestling is a huge time commitment and I am glad we have such well-rounded athletes,” Andrews said.
Keeping up good grades is just a part of the wrestlers’ hard work during the four-month season, according to Mullins.
“As a team [this award] means that during the season none of us were struggling despite our responsibilities or if we were we got help,” Mullins said.
Wrestling is a very demanding sport, requiring dedication during practice and around the clock.
“Coming toward the end of the season is the hardest because we all have to lose weight and it is hard to refuse that cookie in the cafeteria, you know? I cut 15 pounds this season, which is a lot. But my teammates really supported me because we were all doing it together,” Mullins said.
According to Andrews, self-control is only a part of what the season demands of the athletes.
“The most difficult part of wrestling is that in order to get better you have to get beat up every day in practice. Wrestling is not always fun… most of the time you are literally physically beating someone up (or getting beat up). That is a really hard thing to motivate yourself to go through for four months. The mental side of wrestling is a huge battle for athletes,” Andrews said.
Mullins also stressed the importance of the mental aspect of wrestling.
“One of my main goals at the beginning of the season was staying mentally tough because that really helps you and your team,” Mullins said.
The small size of the team made for a unique climate that fostered cooperation.
“Athletes work together a lot on the mat. We are almost always with partners or groups. It is like the ‘iron sharpens iron’ theory. They have to be good partners in order for each other to learn the moves but they also have to challenge each other to improve,” Andrews said.
According to Andrews, the upperclassmen helped this year’s freshmen make a huge improvement this season.
“We have seen huge growth in our athletes. We had four freshmen this year and they were really starting from the beginning with technique. We ended up with three making it to regionals and one as an alternate. Moving on from regionals we took two freshmen to state. That is a pretty big deal. All our girls improved greatly but our freshmen especially showed that growth. As a team, we spend a lot of time together so I saw the team grow closer and that does not always happen in wrestling, since it can be an individual sport,” Andrews said.