O’Connell and Amaral slam stereotypes on the wrestling team


Danielle Denman

Olivia Amaral and Kylie O’Connell are the only two females on the varsity wrestling team

DANIELLE DENMAN, Staff Writer, Editor

For the first time ever at GHS, two freshmen girls, Kylie O’Connell and Olivia Amaral, have joined the varsity wrestling team and are competing alongside their male teammates.

Amaral has broken a GHS record, being the first female in school history on the team to win a match.

The two girls who were close friends before the season started, decided to join in order to help the wrestling team fill weight classes that they otherwise would have to forfeit.

O’Connell urged that as a female on the team, the other players are very supportive, and work with them to help their skills grow.

“It is like having a bunch of older brothers,” said O’Connell. “If we do something wrong they don’t laugh, they just help you out.”

It is both Amaral and O’Connell’s first season participating, and both their team members and coach agree that they have earned their spot on the varsity team.

“Just to make it through a full wrestling season is brutal, I’ve had guys not win a single match.  They have been taking their hits day in and day out,” said GHS varsity wrestling coach Matthew Swanson. “I throw them into the fire.”

“We don’t take it easy around them,” said senior and varsity wrestler Ryan Argentino. “They handle everything we have to handle.”

O’Connell and Amaral believe that there is a lot more work that must be put into wrestling than meets the eye. With practice and conditioning every day of the school week, and wrestling both male and female players at meets, their perspectives about the sport have changed greatly.

“People look at it and think that it is easy, but it is really not,” said Amaral. “When I get on the mat, my whole head goes blank. It is kind of hard to remember things in the moment.”

“WWE is all whack compared to what we do,” joked O’Connell. “You think you would be able to win easily, but it is really hard.”

The wrestling season is about halfway through, and GHS has a record of 1:0:4. Their next meet is at GHS in the field house Saturday at 10 am.

Coach Swanson takes pride in the progress that the two have made, and plans to continue developing their skills.

“They came here with no experience and they are scoring serious varsity points,” said Swanson. “I want to see them both earn their letters.”