Two females join JDS wrestling team


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Sophie Kaplan and Sasha Karasik

For the first time in CESJDS history, there are two new female members of the varsity wrestling team. Although wrestling is typically a male-dominated sport, strides of progress are being made as sophomore Samantha Vaisman and freshman Gabriella Simon join the team. 

Wrestling coach Chuck Woolery is supportive of girls joining the team and is looking forward to the development of more female wrestling leagues.

“I am so excited about it. I’ve wanted for years to have girls join wrestling and hopefully somebody will have their own league where girls will wrestle girls,” Woolery said. “Going against guys, [is] both an important thing to do in terms of just building the camaraderie there, but [also] it’s a great physical fitness program…wrestling is wrestling; it’s not a male or female sport.” 

In addition to Woolery, the boys on the team are both encouraging and supportive of the girls’ decision to join the team. Freshman Ben Weiss is especially encouraging of females joining the wrestling team. 

“I think that it’s really awesome and cool how they’re the first girls to be on the wrestling team because there hasn’t been anyone before and they’re good,” Weiss said. “It’s really cool. They should be able to wrestle if they want to.”

Due to the fact that all genders train and compete together in wrestling, and because wrestling’s history is largely based on the male body, Vaisman notes that while she is treated the same as her male counterparts, she is forced to work harder. 

“Everything [in wrestling] is made for a boy so I have to work harder, but it’s really fun that I get to do something different that normally I wouldn’t think a girl would get to do,” Vaisman said.

Despite the inherent challenges, Woolery believes that being a girl in wrestling certainly has benefits.

“Guys don’t listen, they’re more stubborn, and so the girls I have coached before are much more coachable than most of the guys that I’ve coached,” Woolery said. “One other thing is if you’re a guy, and you’re wrestling girl, if you win, no big deal. But if you lose, you lost to a girl so that’s a psychological advantage that females have. And strong male wrestlers have been beaten by female wrestlers at JDS, so it happens.” 

Furthermore, there are now shcolarships for college female wrestling as it is now officially considered a college sport.

After experiencing the joys of wrestling, Vaisman urges other girls to try out traditionally “male” sports. 

“I would tell other girls [who are interested in joining male-dominated sports] to go for it and don’t let anything or anyone hold you back,” Vaisman said.