Boys and Girls Wrestling Grapples with New Season

Senior Jack VanTassel practices before a match. Photograph by the Courier Staff
Senior Jack VanTassel practices before a match. Photograph by the Courier Staff

The 2023-2024 wrestling team is gearing up for their competition against West York Area High.

Senior Jack VanTassel is ready to hit the mat once more.

He has been competing in wrestling since the 5th grade, but has always participated year-round.

“A practice normally starts with weightlifting for about 45 minutes,” VanTassel said, “then we go down to the wrestling room to warm up, which is running and stretching. We then do drilling for a while, which is just practicing takedowns and working on top and bottom. Coach will then show a move, and we go and practice it for a while. We will normally end with live wrestling and sometimes a game.”

Senior Joshua Olmstead has been competing in wrestling since the 8th grade. The sport holds an important place to him because his dad also wrestled in high school.
“My dad wrestled when he was in high school; he was really good at it,” Olmstead said. hen I moved here from Florida, I didn’t do any sports, and I got hurt one too many times playing football, so I needed to try something else, and I just like that it’s difficult. I like that it forces you to be better, forces you to change, and it’s just really important to me.”

More and more girls have been wrestling over the years on a national level, but when senior Jada Stoneberg appeared at the PIAA State Competition in 2022, there were over 200 girls in attendance.
“Last year, more girls started doing it,” Stoneberg said. “I was one of the only girls, and there’s more girls doing it around the world, specifically in the US and in Pennsylvania….t states there were probably over 200 girls. It’s nice to see more girls doing this sport, and this year we are hoping to have at least 5 girls.”

Last season, the team was successful and ended up with all five girls participating and making the team.

Stoneberg enjoys wrestling, mainly because she likes making her dad proud and getting her hand raised when she wins. Having her dad as the junior high coach increases her knowledge of the sport, but also the excitement in the household when both teams come out as winners of their matches.

“It’s important to me because it’s been in my family for a really long time, and I enjoy making my dad proud, finally being on the wrestling team and getting my hand raised,” Stoneberg said.

Stoneberg believes that other girls should participate in wrestling, as it is challenging, but rewarding in many ways.
“it is a mentally, and physically rewarding sport and the team builds a family bond, and it’s cool to be able to say you wrestle guys,” Stoneberg said.

Despite the many benefits, wrestling can be a very exhausting sport. VanTassel and Olmstead make sure to stay motivated when getting tired.

“There are definitely days when I don’t want to go to practice or feel I have no energy to go,” VanTassel said. “It can get very exhausting working out like that every day. I stay motivated by telling myself that the guy who I have to wrestle at another school is doing the same thing. I wouldn’t want this person to outwork me so I keep going.”

Meanwhile, Olmstead noted the same struggle.

“It is tiresome, it’s difficult,” Olmstead said.hat motivates me to keep going is to add on to it before it’s just about being better and doing better, you are always your biggest competitor, really proving something to yourself.”

Throughout the years, the wrestling team has created a lot of memories, especially with this core group of athletes that not only compete for Susquehannock together, but train year-round.

“I think my favorite memory was from my freshman year when our coach had us play this game on the hill in front of the middle school,” VanTassel said. “We had glow sticks, and you had to try and get someone else’s glow stick. What made it so fun was that it was pitch black out, and you couldn’t see where you were going on the massive hill.”

Senior Josh Olmstead gets his hand raised after winning his match. Photograph by the Courier

In addition, Olmstead’s favorite memory was from 8th grade.

“Wrestling on JV, we had an undefeated season, no one lost, it was this perfect team, and I remember after every match we would pick up a wrestler and throw them over our heads,” Olmstead said.“When you look back, it seems stupid, but it was the coolest thing ever. We won districts that year, it was a good team, a really good group of guys.”

It is clear through their responses that the wins and losses are not what make the memories, but the relationships with their coaches and teammates.

The wrestling team’s first match will be Dec. 14 at West York Area High School.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Womack is a freshman writer on the Courier staff. She spends her time outside of the classroom playing multiple sports for the school, as well as for club teams. Womack also enjoys hanging out with friends and family. This year she is looking forward to meeting new people and creating articles. 

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