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Sports Article
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Girls Wrestling Club Generates Strong Turnout
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Kaylyn Adair can't wait to take the mat next winter as part of Upper Perkiomen's inaugural girls varsity wrestling team. The East Greenville resident expressed certainty that she won't be alone.  "I'm very excited," she said.

            Attendance at a wrestling club for girls that debuted last week at the high school

Eighth grade students Samantha Godshall and Anna Marie Chiaro, at right,

square off during a girls wrestliing club session at Upper Perkiomen High


has exceeded the expectations of Adair, a junior, and the coach overseeing the activity. The participants quickly grasped the techniques, according to Steve Adam, the boys wrestling coach.

            "I was really surprised and impressed with how quickly they picked things up," Adam said. "I was blown away with how much they absorbed, and how natural the sport came for some girls."

            Thirteen girls in middle and high school attended the first of six sessions on March 14. Two nights later, that number increased by two.

Ten girls attended the club's third 90-minute session Tuesday, held in the high school's auxiliary gymnasium. The coach counted three new participants.

            "I'm super impressed with the [turnout]," Adam said.

            Ratification of girls wrestling as an official sport by the school board on Feb. 9, along with a commitment to create teams at the high school and middle school during the 2023-24 school year, led administrators to schedule six sessions for seventh through 11th-grade students. The wrestling coach described those numbers, which included 13 girls in eighth and ninth grades, as ideal for starting a new program.

            "I think more are going to come out for the team next year," Adair said.

            Adair had the most experience with the sport of any attendee. The junior has been wrestling since joining the Upper Perk Takedown Club at the age of five.

            Adair may not be the only experienced wrestler to line up for the Tribe later this year. Alexandra Cannon and Bella Knight, a pair of ninth graders, were included on the middle school roster this past season. 

"The new girls are showing a lot of passion," said Adair, who did not participate in last week's workout due to an injury. "They seem to enjoy the sport and are willing to learn the moves."

            The physicality of the workout – which included basic instruction by Adam and assistant coach Kyle Kemmerer, who won a PIAA championship 20 years ago at 112 pounds – surprised at least one parent attending the workout. Carole Wood, a Pennsburg resident, said she thought the event was meant to be informational.

            However, the girls spent most of the session practicing the moves they learned from Adam and Kemmerer on two full-size mats. Adam demonstrated six basic moves for an attentive audience sitting around the out-of-bounds circle on a mat. They included the stance, engagement, including a collar tie up and hand fighting; simple offense, defense and the implementation of a pinning combination.

            Positioned at the center mat opposite a set of double doors, the two moved deliberately through each move. During his completion of a single-leg takedown, Kemmerer stopped to point out the need to maintain an inside head position. Later Adam displayed the proper technique for controlling the leg.

            The girls picked up the techniques relatively quickly, according to Adam. He said the movements seemed natural to many.

            "You could tell right away a lot of them play other sports," the coach said.

            Samantha Godshall, an eighth-grade student who attended high school wrestling matches with her friends, needed only 30 minutes during the initial workout of March 12 to work through her fears, which included contracting a skin disease.

            Detterline says her daughter will continue to attend the sessions.  "Sam is loving this," Detterline said. "She's really interested."

            Godshall, who also plays basketball and runs country and track, may have to make a decision about which winter sport to compete in. She's committed to giving wrestling an "honest try," and plans on attending every club workout. "I've got some time to decide," Godshall said.

            Wood says the sport could help her daughter Averie, an eighth grader who runs cross country in the fall and track in the spring, build confidence. Wood said it would allow the girl to channel whatever stress she might be experiencing.

            Joshua Page expressed no reservations about her daughter Adria – an eighth grader who has played soccer, swam and ran track previously – competing in the sport. The Green Lane resident said he suspects her strength would give her an advantage.

            "She really likes it," Joshua Page said.






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