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Sophomores, seniors join SHHS wrestling team

Sophomore+Sophia+Pirri+%22chicken+fights%22+teammates+during+a+warm-up+drill+at+wrestling+practice.+The+goal+of+the+drill+is+to+knock+the+opponent+off+their+teammate%27s+back.+
Sophomore Sophia Pirri

Sophomore Sophia Pirri "chicken fights" teammates during a warm-up drill at wrestling practice. The goal of the drill is to knock the opponent off their teammate's back.

Julia-Rose Kibben

Julia-Rose Kibben

Sophomore Sophia Pirri "chicken fights" teammates during a warm-up drill at wrestling practice. The goal of the drill is to knock the opponent off their teammate's back.

Alyssa Alvarez, Sports Editor

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After years of casually competing with her male cousins, sophomore Sofia Pirri realized she wanted to further pursue wrestling, however Convent’s lack of an official team forced her to explore another option — joining the boys team at Stuart Hall.

“I’ve just always had that competitive spirit in me and a need to compete with boys,” Pirri said. “There was always a gender barrier, and now I finally get an opportunity.”

Pirri, who plays lacrosse and participates in a boy’s lacrosse league every summer, reached out to wrestling coach Matt Woodard and Athletic Director Elena De Santis to get permission to participate.

Along with sophomore Riley Kramer, Pirri influenced seniors Masha Kozlova and Olivia Hoekendijk to begin practicing with Woodard and the SHHS team.

“I want to show that girls can do stuff and put some power to the name,” Pirri said. “Maybe I can inspire some other girls to try it too, and they will find something they really love.”

Along with practices everyday after school, wrestlers must give up Saturdays and alter their diets to make a specific weight class to compete, according to captain Jacob Hubbard.

“I am interested to see if they will really be committed to it once they experience it,” Hubbard said. “People don’t really understand what goes into wrestling. I think they understand it’s a workout, but I don’t think they understand the commitment level it takes.”

Girls will wrestle against boys for the majority of the season, but if they qualify for North Coast Section and State Championships, they will only wrestle other girls in their particular weight classes, according to Hubbard.

“I feel they should just be treated as equals because as soon as I wrestle a girl on the mat, I look at them as if it’s just anyone else I’m wrestling,” Hubbard said. “I’m not going to wrestle them any differently or go soft or something just because they are a girl.”

The competitors are divided by weight classes that range from 106 pounds to 285 pounds for guys and 101 pounds and 235 pounds for girls.

“Right now there are just not enough girls to make two separate teams,” Woodard said. “So far we have not had any issues with our boys wrestling girls from other teams. I will take into consideration the girls’ desires and what they feel comfortable with.”

“I think the coaches and everyone else will expect the same amount of effort they would out of anyone else,” Hubbard said. “Girls can definitely do it, so it really just comes down to if they want to do it or not and how bad they want it.”

The girls’ first competition is this Saturday at the Clayton Valley Shootout novice tournament in Concord.

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Sophomores, seniors join SHHS wrestling team