I don't talk much about it, but I come from a wrestling family, with four generations of wrestlers (my paternal Grandpa was a state champ). There's wrestlers on both sides of the family. One of my cousins took nationals in freestyle. I don't know how many "wrestles" I attended growing up, but although the number is less than my parents, its a ton, as my younger brothers started wrestling when they were little, little guys. If I had to, I could put you in a single leg take-down, a cradle, a half nelson etc without thinking about it.
I also grew up in Vernal and am a Uintah High alumni, who has 23 state wrestling team champions over the year (team championships, not individual wrestlers-that number is higher). Wrestling is king in my hometown and has been for 50 years. In my town, the wrestlers were the Big men on Campus, they dated the cheerleaders, not the football players. The wrestlers were the wild ones, the ones that got the perks and the reps that football players in most other small towns get.
This all being said, I never had a desire to be a "girl wrestler." I played co-ed basketball and soccer in elementary and middle school, but that was different. Girl wrestlers? I never was interested. A girl wrestler at Uintah? That's breaking down stereotypes and attitudes in my community that goes far beyond a girl football player.
So, I was happy to see this article about Candace Workman, believed to be the first woman wrestler from Utah to qualify for the state tournament. Guess where she's from? Yup, she's a Uintah Ute. Even wrestling at 103, its a tough region--the toughest in the state at any division most years, which makes her accomplishment that much more impressive. Candace, good luck at state!
Candace also makes the quote of the day:
(from the article below)
This year, six boys - all from out-of-state schools - chose to forfeit instead of wrestle her, she said. Some said they did not want to lose to a girl, but most declined for religious reasons.
"I hate that," she said. "There were two brothers from [Green River,] Wyoming that said it was against their morals and their religion. That made me upset. They are [Latter-day Saints] and so am I. It's not anything sexual out there, trust me."
Here's the article:
When Uintah High's Candace Workman walks out on the mat Thursday at the Class 3-A state high school wrestling tournament to face Tooele freshman Jake Prather, she won't be thinking about smashing stereotypes, breaking down barriers, making history or getting extra attention.