Three novice girls from Northwestern School District placed at the 2016 Girls Folkstyle States tournament on March 13 in Harrisburg.
Third-grader Joelle Scott placed first at 60 pounds; second-grader Courtney Eddy placed third at 66 pounds; and third-grader Sierra Chiesa, who wrestles for Team Erie Viper, placed first at 55 pounds.
This year was a record-setting year, with 123 girls entered in the tournament – the most ever. Eleven girls from around District 10 placed.
Chiesa - paving the way for female wrestlers everywhere - also placed first in the 55-pound weight class at the Area VIII Championships, beating all boys on March 18-19 at Maplewood High School in Guys Mills.
“They all wrestled very well. Everyone worked really hard,” Northwestern Youth Wrestling Club’s head coach Jason Dersch said. “They did a great job representing District 10.”
Longtime Northwestern High School Head Wrestling Coach Greg Evans said when he heard famous Iowa coach Dan Gable speak a few years back, Gable said, “if you want our sport to survive, we need to keep the girl wrestlers interested. It brings more families.”
At Northwestern, wrestling is becoming more of a family affair.
Nine female youths wrestled this year.
“All the girls have brothers that wrestle, and I think that’s a big part of it, because it’s a family,” Eddy’s mother Sara Eddy said.
Evans said he wished he would have helped built support for the youth program earlier in his career.
“The youth program is huge now – it’s great.,” Evans said. “We have a bunch of little guys whose parents are really involved. We’re five or six years from being a powerhouse.”
Third-grade state champ Scott’s stepfather, Chris Mooney, said he is seeing opportunities increase for female wrestlers.
“It’s taking off big time, especially with colleges – they are making teams and scholarships are being offered,” Mooney said. “We have a good starter program here.”
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