AROUND THE BEND

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Girls can do it too!

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Wrestling is undoubtedly a male dominated sport. However, freshman wrestler Ava Monroe Rettig-Hall is helping to change the stigma that only boys can compete successfully in such a physically demanding sport. She has wrestled for about three years now and has practiced Jujitsu for about six. Out of the three female athletes that have tried out for Riverbend wrestling in the past, Rettig-Hall is the first one to last a full season. “It can get a little lonely and intimidating being the only girl on the team,” she said, “but the team and the coaches have been really supportive and helpful.” Junior team-mate, Matt White, said, “Ava always works really hard and we love having her on the team. She has really improved since she first started.”
Rettig-Hall’s season has been both monumental, but also very challenging. In the sport of wrestling, who you compete against depends solely on your weight. At around 90 pounds, she competes against opponents who are 15 or more pounds heavier than she is. This can make for a discouraging situation, but Rettig-Hall is determined. Riverbend wrestling coach and board member of Virginia wrestling, Mark Roberts, said, “Ava has had a very tough season, but is one of the hardest workers in the room.” She has won one match this season, a forfeit, but is still working hard on gaining weight for next year. The fact that Rettig-Hall was able to stand her ground and stick with the sport all season displays strong conviction and strength, both physically and mentally.
According to Coach Roberts, “USA wrestling is dedicated to increasing women’s participation and has created a campaign aptly named ‘Wrestle like a Girl.’” In Virginia, all women’s tournaments are being held more frequently. Many are pushing for an all women’s state tournament and hopefully an all women’s division in the future. These advances apply to the sport of wrestling, but will hopefully inspire young women everywhere to have the confidence to pursue any endeavor.

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