“Grappling” With A Male-Dominated Sport


Kate Smith, Staff Writer

Going to State is the highlight and high honor of many activities.

The concept behind a State level is to narrow down the competition to only the best of the best in that state. This level of competition can be not only very exciting for participants but very educational, as well. Other people in other parts of the state might do things differently, and competitors can learn from these differences.

Genesis Ramirez, a junior student and girls wrestler, certainly learned a lot from her recent State experience. After placing 4th in the Regional qualifier at Goshen, she was able to move on to Girls State Wrestling at Kokomo High School on Jan. 14, 2022. “It was my first time, and it was a great experience!” she exclaims. Ramirez even enjoyed simply watching the other girls wrestle. “It was great to see some of the girls do things I’ve never seen before.” She adds, “I learned a lot of new wrestling moves!” Ramirez joked that now she’ll know how it goes for next year, when she hopes to be back at State.

The competition Ramirez participated in was an Indiana High School Girls Wrestling (IHSGW) event, since girls wrestling is not considered an Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) sanctioned sport at this time, though that looks to be changing in the near future. In response to the increasing popularity of girls wrestling, IHSAA will have separate weight classes specifically for girls by the 2023-2024 season. According to their website, this new change was “one of several significant revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee.” Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services, elaborates on this decision. “We have more and more state associations sponsoring girls wrestling and holding state championships for girls, so the committee believed it was time to establish uniform weight classifications for girls.” Ramirez is excited for the future of the activity and says, “I hope my going to Girls State will help other girls try the sport!”

For Ramirez, though, wrestling is not just a sport but a big part of her personal development, as well. “Wrestling has inspired me the most and because of that, I have gained a lot of confidence in myself,” she explains. She thanks her friends, family, and coaches because, as she says, “without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today!” Her experiences at State and as a girls wrestler in general have helped her realize that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and wants to help others realize this, too.

Ramirez concludes, “I want to inspire other girls by saying that you can accomplish anything in life!”