Girls prosper in male-dominated wrestling


Audrey Strembicki

Sophmore Camryn Harber faces off in a wrestling match.

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 13th, 2021).

Wrestling has been a male dominated sport for generations along with sports like weightlifting, baseball and football. 

But in a small town like Oviedo, there are bound to be instances where there aren’t enough women interested in those same sports for the schools to have girls’ teams of their own.

Here at Oviedo High School, there are five women wrestlers on the men’s wrestling team, which for many might come as a shock.

One of the big women contenders includes sophomore Camryn Harber. Harber is currently competing on the team for her first year on the varsity team at OHS. 

When asked if faced with any struggles or setbacks competing on a majority-male team, Harber explained that it’s mainly from bystanders outside from the team.

“We always want to prove to the people who doubt that we can be just as good or even better than the guys,” said Harber. 

Aside from the controversial opinions of others about girls in men’s sports, everything else is fairly the same. Some even say that being a part of the men’s team has a lot of pros to it. 

Captain Jana El’Harake, a junior on varsity, who feels that the sport has challenged her. 

“Wrestling with the guys definitely does push me more because It challenges my body and technique in many ways,” said El’Harake.

El’Harake is not the only female teammate that likes the extra challenge of working with the boys, both freshman Delaney Graves and junior Alana Sanchez, agree that working with the team can have its benefits.

“I think competing with the guys makes me stronger and I have to work harder. There’s always been that stereotype that guys are better than girls. So we push ourselves harder to prove that’s wrong,” said Sanchez.

The ladies of the Oviedo Lion’s varsity wrestling team have persevered against the stereotypes of women not being able to play or compete in men’s sports, and have become much stronger and fierce in the process. 

They have also shown that other girls should not be afraid to participate in these sports if they have a love and passion for it.

“I would encourage them to join, but know that it won’t be easy. I would tell them to keep their heads high and continue doing the sport because in the end you can show them up. Also that the sport will stay male dominated unless more girls join in,” said Graves.

Overall, it’s not impossible to be a part of something predominantly male as a woman, and can actually become something amazing in the end. Creating amazing bonds and friendships and challenging women to break stereotypes and become stronger.