Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

Rising from the Mat

Dunbar girls wrestling team makes a comeback after 12-year break.
Junior Samara Gomez at the first all-girls wrestling tournament in the district.

Courtesy of Samara Gomez.
Junior Samara Gomez at the first all-girls wrestling tournament in the district. Courtesy of Samara Gomez.

After 12 years, the girls’ wrestling team has restarted at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Junior Samara Gomez and sophomore Suzanna Beeken were the first and only girls on the wrestling team this year. 

“I was just staying after school one day when the coaches asked me if I wanted to wrestle and I said yes. Since then, I’ve been coming to practice every day,” said Beeken. 

“It was something that no girl has done for a long time which was even more reason for me to stay.”

Beeken got her friend, Samara Gomez, to join as well. 

“The first day [Beeken] was wrestling, she had a guy smash his head into her boobs on purpose because he was trying to hold her like that, and I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll come wrestle you so that doesn’t happen again,'” said Gomez. 

Gomez said it was a little weird for the girls to practice with the boys’ wrestling team at first because it is so physical, but it eventually becomes a part of the sport.

I’ve watched back on my matches before and was like oh my god, he was straddling my face and I didn’t even notice because I was too busy trying to pin him,” she said.

A sophomore who is part of the boys’ wrestling team, Pacifique Nduwayo, said that he wouldn’t think much of wrestling a girl.

“It would just be another wrestling match.”

— Pacifique Nduwayo

There is also more of a sibling dynamic with the boys.

“They are really supportive and push us to be our best. Like 4-5 guys from our team came out and supported me when I was wrestling for the City Tournament,” said Beeken.

Gomez and Beeken said that they feel like wrestling the boys pushed them harder. 

“[The boys] will not go easy on you just because you are a girl,” said Gomez.

“If I want to slack off, I can’t do that because I have to keep up with them and prove to them that I’m not just a girl that is going to get tired really quickly,” said Beeken. 

There are also certain assumptions about girls who wrestle.

“There are stereotypes that you are either a fat girl or a butch lesbian if you are a girl wrestler and Suzanna and I are neither,” said Gomez. 

“We are just normal girls who want to wrestle.”

— Samara Gomez

There is a different type of glory with the sport of wrestling.

“If you do another sport, people usually say ‘good job’ for the sport you are ‘supposed to do’, but here, you throw someone on the ground and beat them up and you get to stand up and everyone pats you on the back and says ‘great job’ for beating someone up,” said Gomez.

“That is not something you see everyday, especially as a girl.”

Samara Gomez is the first girl from Dunbar to wrestle in a KHSAA sanctioned all-girls wrestling tournament and Suzanna Beeken is the city champion for the 100 lb weight class.

Beeken and Gomez are looking for more girls to join the team for next season.

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Sia Vaish
Sia Vaish, Staff Reporter
Hi, I am Sia! This is my third year on staff and I am excited to continue being on Lamplighter! Outside of school, I am a big writer, runner, and debater! Therefore, I write articles and love to share stories and opinions on this platform. I hope to make content that leaves an impact!
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