The North Bend Eagle

 

Girls wrestling
Callie Witt works over an opponent in last week’s conference tournament. She is one of three girls on the NBC wrestling team.

Tigers proud to wrestle like girls

by Nathan Arneal
Published 2/6/19

When Ken Streff traded in his position as an assistant girls basketball coach at NBC to become a wrestling coach, he thought his days of coaching girls were over.

Now, 12 years later, he may soon find himself as a girls head coach. And yes, he still coaches wrestling.

Following a growing trend around the country, North Bend Central has had females on its varsity wrestling team for three years now, including a trio of girls on this year’s squad.

NBC wrestlingBailey Borer, Callie Witt and Lacy Borer fight long odds while wrestling for NBC. Bailey Borer and Andrea Dvorak were the first two girls to wrestle for the Tigers in 2016-2017.

Streff said it’s been a fun and rewarding transition to see girls incorporated into his team.

“The mentality they have is not ‘I’m a girl, treat me different,’” Streff said. “It’s ‘I’m a girl who wrestles. Treat me like a wrestler.’”

Fastest growing sport

A proposal currently going through the NSAA approval process could make girls wrestling its own separate sport as soon as next year. According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association website, six new states sanctioned girls wrestling state championships in 2018, brining the total states with girls wrestling to 13.

“It’s the fastest growing sport in the nation,” Ray Maxwell said, “and if (Nebraska) doesn’t jump on board, we’re going to be behind everybody.”
Maxwell is on the leading edge of the movement in Nebraska. He has been coaching wrestling at West Point-Beemer for 19 years. This year, he was given a new title: head girls wrestling coach.

Maxwell saw the girls wrestling trend gaining momentum two years ago, so he put some signs up around school and began recruiting girls to join the Cadet wrestling program. He had six girls go out the first year and 12 the second. This year there are 22 girls wrestling for West Point-Beemer.

For the most part, the Cadets keep their girls and boys wrestlers separate. They practice in the same room and share the same coaches, but they do not practice against each other. Occasionally, a girl will fill in for the boys team if a boy is sick or injured. In last week’s East Husker tournament, WPB had two girls in the lineup.

The Cadet girls have a schedule of eight or nine girls-only events. Last Tuesday WPB beat Platteview 42-21 in Nebraska’s first girls-only dual.

North Bend is not that far along yet. The three girls that wrestle for the Tigers, juniors Bailey Borer and Callie Witt and sophomore Lacey Borer, have mixed feelings on separating girls wrestling into its own sport.

“I’m all for being physically equal and stuff,” Bailey Borer said, “but at the same time there’s not enough girls in Nebraska to sanction it yet. I firmly believe that.”

Her sister Lacy thinks it would be fun to compete on a level playing field.

“Guys don’t like wrestling girls,” Lacey Borer said. “And frankly, it’s gotten to the point where it’s physically not fair to us because their body types are different. That’s just how it is. Boys get uncomfortable because boys are mean to other boys, and so they get made fun of no matter if they win or lose. If we get sanctioned, it’s just going to be better for boys and girls.”

Witt said she saw both sides. She’d like the chance to wrestle girls, but she would also miss the camaraderie of being part of the boys team.

“We’ll be in one place and our team will be in another place,” Witt said. “We don’t really get to be a team anymore.”

Streff supports the addition of a separate girls program, but he wishes it would be handled differently.

Currently, if a school does not offer a corresponding girls team, girls are allowed to compete on the boys team. For example, NBC does not offer girls golf, so girls are allowed to compete on the boys golf team. Girls are also allowed to play football.

However, Streff and Maxwell said all indications seem to point to girls no longer being allowed to compete for a boys team if girls wrestling is sanctioned by the NSAA.

 

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