The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

Rapid rise in women’s wrestling at Wilsonville

Ashley Sheirbon
Isabella Quesada warms up with her partner before practice. Quesada is one of three female wrestlers who qualified for the 2024 6A/5A State Championships.

The lights dim, a solo spotlight shines on the mat, “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas echoes loudly through the speakers, and out comes the girl’s wrestling team for Wilsonville. Unfortunately, the sight of a women’s wrestling team is far too uncommon, not just in Oregon but in the U.S.A.

However, many folks around the country are working endlessly to raise awareness and participation in women’s wrestling and make it a common sight to see.

According to FloWrestling, a well-respected website that covers all aspects of wrestling from high school to college, there has been a 46% increase in the participation of women’s wrestling in high school. The numbers speak for themselves. This rapid spike in popularity continues to tell an impressive story.

Wrestling is one of the most unsung sports in the world. Wrestlers are top-tier athletes with an elite level of conditioning, toughness, and grit. This hard work lamentably goes unnoticed.

Wrestling is one of the most physically demanding sports, which woefully deters many girls from participating. This poses a sizable task for high schools and coaches everywhere. Fortunately, this is not the case for Wilsonville High School.

Over the years, Wilsonville has seen an expeditious increase in participation in the women’s wrestling team.

Head coach Tony Ruvalcaba, who began coaching for Wilsonville High School in 2006, stated that there were no girls involved in the wrestling program when he began. “In 2009, we had two girls come out for the program, but that was it,” stated Ruvalcaba.

Ruvalcaba also works with the Wilsonville Youth Wrestling Program and is working to develop the younger generation of wrestlers so they are prepared for when they eventually enter Wilsonville High School’s program.

Ruvalcaba puts this rapid increase of participation in the hands of the girls at Wilsonville. “I think part of the reason we have seen more girls come out is due to the girls who are wrestling going out and recruiting others and advocating for our program,” said Ruvalcaba.

In 2009, we had two girls come out for the program but that was it,”

— Tony Ruvalcaba

Senior Jasmine Brown has been on the wrestling team for her entire high school career. “There were about four girls on our wrestling team my freshman year,” stated Brown. Now as a senior and a team captain, she leads a strong squad of 13 girls.

Brown began wrestling when she was in 5th grade and stuck with it ever since. Brown’s grit and determination led her to be Wilsonville’s very first State Champion between the boys’ and girls’ teams. Brown was just a junior when she acquired the first-place medal and hopes to repeat history for her final season.

“My time with this program has been so fun. We accepted one another for where we were in our journey and helped each other get better. It was a very positive environment, and I am excited to finish the year strong,” said Brown.

Wilsonville recently competed in the OSAA Girls 6A/5A Special District 2 Tournament, which, based on placing, determines who qualifies for the esteemed state tournament. This is the tournament that everyone spends the year working towards. Wilsonville, entering as the underdog, was set to compete against some tough 6A and 5A squads.

The Wildcats showed how their preparation steered them to success. In districts, the top four placings go to state. Brown won first place in the 170 lb weight class, junior Isabella Quesada placed second in the 120 lb weight class, and senior Sarah Middleton placed 4th in the 190 lb weight class. These three athletes will represent Wilsonville High School in the state tournament on February 23rd and 24th.

Brown and her coaches and fellow wrestlers have been some of the most influential people in the growth of women’s wrestling at Wilsonville High School.

Women’s wrestlers are determined to awaken the younger generation of women’s wrestling to pin the fear and hit the mats.