Two women’s wrestlers place at State

Senior Abbie Lynman placed fourth and sophomore Raelynn Strelow placed sixth at the women’s state wrestling meet on Jan. 24 and 25 in Waverly. 

Other state participants Josie Klemske and Raelynn Smith did not place.

This is just the second year in Iowa that there has been a separate women’s state wrestling meet. Last year there were 87 girls competing, and this year there were about 64 girls in each weight class, amounting to 350 girls total competing. 

The women’s team set out with the goal to get better and place as high as possible at State . “As a team, I think we all had the same goal, make it to State and do the best we could,” Klemske said 

Women’s and junior varsity wrestling coach Peter Stewart said women’s wrestling is becoming more and more popular. “I think 2013-2014 was the first girl to win a match at the boys state tournament. Things like that have happened, and it’s kind of gained exposure from there. People growing up are like ‘oh, girls can do this too.’ It wasn’t previously known that way,” he said. 

Currently women’s wrestling is not it’s own sanctioned sport in Iowa, like women’s basketball or women’s cross country. Because of this, things cannot be done separately for the women, like paying coaches or separate resources, but Stewart said giving both the men and women wrestlers the same resources and workouts has made the team better. “They have the same lift workouts and same run workouts. A lot of people think that you should be lighter or take it easier because they are girls,” he said. “But we stayed away from doing any of that. I think that shows to why we had only five girls on our team and more than half of them were top 10 in the state. I think not taking a step back and putting them through the grind that everybody goes through made them a lot better.” 

Lynman said she enjoys practice with the men. “The community is so close and the guys and girls are family to me. It’s like having a team of brothers always on your side,” she said. 

Lynman also said practicing with the men increased her skills. “I believe the reason I saw so much improvement this season was because I practiced with the boys. Now do I think girls should compete in boys tournaments? No, I think we get much better wrestling girls in competition, but boys definitely benefit us in practice,” she said. 

To get the state sports of fourth and sixth, the team had two hour practices every day, including stimulation-matches, lifting, as well cardio. “The hardest part is definitely going live, which is wrestling 100 percent of your effort like it was a match,” she said. 

Klemske said the hardest part, as Lynman described, is the exact point when you want to fight the hardest. “That’s when you want to fight the most because that is the most crucial time. When you’re thinking I really don’t want to go to practice today, that’s when you want to go. That’s when it will be it the most effective. It will help you get stronger.”

Stewart said to compete as a full team next year, they need 15 female members. The team had five this year.  Stewart said “tell all your friends about women’s wrestling. 

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