Girls Wrestling Grows

Jada Antolin
Jada Antolin

PEARL CITY (KHNL) -- It's a sport that's growing by leaps and bounds.

Or more specifically, takedowns and pins -- girls wrestling. While all the girls at the state championships this weekend are competing for first, many of them already feel like they've accomplished a lot.

You expect to see huge guys on the mat, but not petite girls.

"Some people like, they ask what you do, and they expect other sports, especially if you're a girl," said Jada Antolin, a senior on the Pearl City wrestling team. "Wow you wrestle? And they get all surprised."

Surprised because seeing girls wrestling isn't the norm, but that's changing.

Today, most schools have about 15 to 20 girls on their roster, and at least one for each of the ten different weight divisions. But back when this sport started about ten years ago, schools were lucky to get one or two girls to come out

"Competition has grown, and more girls are joining, and that's what makes it more fun," said Hazel Asperin, a sophomore on the Chargers wrestling team. "You get more matches and more people to compete with, so it's good that it's going."

"A lot of people give us props for being wrestlers because it's hard, but it's hard just as any other sport to me," said Briana Delos Santos, a junior on the Chargers wrestling team.

"Actually, we train just as hard as the boys," said Antolin. "We do as much as the boys."

And the thrill of victory feels the same -- no matter if you're a boy or girl.

"I like all the adrenaline when you wrestle, it's just fun," said Asperin. "You kill yourself for it, but it just pays off."

A New York Times article says that two years ago, 5,000 girls across the nation wrestled for their high school. That's compared to less than a thousand 10 years ago.

Hawaii, Texas, and California are the only states where there are enough girls to form their own teams.