Girl wrestlers earn respect
on Manti High wrestling team
By Emily Staley
Feb. 22, 2018
MANTI—Alejandrina Alvarez and Kassy Sanchez are female wrestlers at Manti High School who have sidestepped social norms and become respected by the male wrestlers on their team.
Originally, six girls signed up to be on the team, but Alvarez and Sanchez are the only ones who have persevered.
At first, Alvarez said, they were wary about wrestling the opposite gender, yet it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be. “We focus more on the wrestling than the gender,” she said.
Sanchez has only wrestled boys this season, but Alvarez has wrestled boys and one girl.
Sanchez said she’d rather wrestle a boy since she wants the hardest competition she can get: “You have to strive harder.”
Alvarez said gender didn’t matter. She just loves the thrill of competing no matter who it is.
“They bring an aspect to wrestling that we haven’t had, which is a more technical side of things,” said Ryan Fowles, Manti’s wrestling coach. “Typically speaking, girl wrestlers are not as strong as male wrestlers, so we focus more on technique, which, in turn, has helped the whole team.”
The two girls have learned being a female wrestler can be both positive and negative.
“A negative is the comments we get for being wrestlers,” said Sanchez. “But a positive is the self-confidence I get from wrestling. Wrestling really gives you strength, and I love my body!”
Both girls have a clear passion for wrestling, and Alvarez said she keeps wrestling because she loves the challenge. “I want to be better than where I was in the beginning. I want to show people that there is a reason I am here,” she explains.
Both think more girls should be wrestlers so girl wrestling teams were common.
Through hard work and diligence, the two girls have earned the respect of their team. “They don’t skip, they don’t make excuses and they accept the challenge,” said Fowles. “They don’t back down and give it their all.”
“When we wrestle, it feels like we are all equal,” said Sanchez. “Our team respects us and treats us as equals, and we feel like we are a part of the team.”
Sanchez explains the key to being a female wrestler: “It’s all will. It’s all heart.”