Female wrestlers find community on team

IHSA officially recognizes girls wrestling as a sport

Girls Wrestlers Ruhina Makhani, Serena Virani, and Jillian Giler  at the Grayslake Tournament during this season

Makhani

Girls Wrestlers Ruhina Makhani, Serena Virani, and Jillian Giler at the Grayslake Tournament during this season

Wrestling has attracted a growing number of female athletes after the IHSA officially recognized it as a sport this year.

I enjoy the fact that it’s emerging.  I would say these girls that are pioneers of this sport are going to take it.”

— Tadelman

Three girls were a part of NT wrestling this year. While they practiced with boys wrestling, the competitions were separate. 

“There’s been several successful girls who have won matches and competed against boys, but this is the first independency,” said Marc Tadelman, coach of girls wrestling. “I enjoy the fact that it’s emerging.  I would say these girls that are pioneers of this sport are going to take it.” 

For junior Serena Virani, wrestling has been a positive experience, allowing her to form new friendships with her teammates.

“Although it was a little awkward at first, after warming up to everyone, it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience,” said Virani. 

Wrestlers such as freshman Jillian Giller like the workouts and meeting new people.

“You definitely get more in shape and get a good workout. At the same time I’ve met some  of the best people ever through wrestling,” she said. 

The female wrestlers also like the sense of community created. The girls appreciate how bonds are formed within the team. 

“Every day you grow a connection with them. And you get really close to them. Before games it’s really stressful so they always help calm me down,” said senior Ruhina Makhani. 

Wrestlers like Virani encourage interested girls to try the sport out. 

“If you are considering trying wrestling as a female, do it. If you are nervous, just know that everything gets easier. It’s a great workout with great coaches and great teammates,” said Virani. 

According to Tadelman, the sport has 14 different spots with a variety of roles. He says females can find success in it. 

“It’s a super rewarding sport and I think that girls ought to give it a chance,” he said. “They would find that they get a lot of benefits from it.”