Women’s Wrestling Debuts
Starting a new sport from scratch is hard enough but doing so during a pandemic is even more difficult. That was the challenge for the University head women’s wrestling coach Kate Hill as the Gray Wolves took to the mat for the first time in 2020-2021.
The start of the Gray Wolves’ season was set back more than two months due to COVID-19; however, Lourdes had five grapplers take the mat for the inaugural season. With a small roster in year one, it was difficult to win any dual matches but the team did have individual success.
“I think our season has gone well despite our setbacks,” Hill stated. “Due to COVID, we were not able to attend any tournaments until our conference tournament. We ended up wrestling every dual meet filling only half of a line up but in most of our duals we won three-fifths of our matches.”
Gray Wolves team member Stefana Jelacic was ranked in the top-five in the NAIA most of the season while earning Second Team All Mid-South Conference honors
and Theresa Rankin was a Third Team All-MSC selection. “We had two highlights this year,” Coach Hill added. “Our first ever home dual was definitely a highlight as we were offered a lot of support from our Lourdes community. The athletes also really broke through that night.
Akemi Garcia earned our first program pin and we won five out of seven matches wrestled that evening. The conference tournament was also a highlight. I had athletes that badly lost to opponents earlier this year that came back and either won or kept a close match.”
Coach Hill will continue to look to grow the program heading into the 2021-2022 season, increasing the roster size along with looking to pick up their first victories on the year. “Right now, our main look for growth is to bring in more athletes,” she concluded. “We need to cover more weight classes to be competitive so that’s our step one. While doing this, we will continue to work in the mat room with our current kids so we can create a great program