Why Should High School Athletes Choose to Wrestle?


Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Wrestler pins opponent in head and arm pinning combination.

Cutting weight, losing in front of large crowds and getting little peer recognition may not be a reason a high school athlete may want to wrestle, so why do it? 

Wrestling is a sport focused on how to score points based on how an opponent physically controls their competitor. There are three different styles of wrestling: folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Primarily, at the high school and youth levels, wrestling takes place in the folkstyle form. 

In folkstyle, wrestling is more focused on takedowns and turns until you are able to score enough points to achieve a technical fall or pin your opponent. You could score two points off of a takedown in folkstyle. When you are on bottom, or defensive position, in folkstyle, you are being physically controlled by the wrestler on top of you. The main objective is to escape and score one point or two points if you reverse the offensive wrestler. 

As a high school student-athlete at MHS, I’ve come to realize that wrestling has brought many benefits to my life and thinking. Some days I’ll be having to sweat off several pounds in order to achieve the weight class I am willing to compete in in a matter of hours or minutes. As a third-year wrestler, I’ve noticed how much mental discipline I’ve gained from just wrestling alone. 

At times, I found it difficult to not give up or to avoid going out with friends for some pizza, but wrestling has taught me that when times are rough, you should face things as they are. It has encouraged me to make the right decisions instead of having to face consequences for not doing what I should’ve done. 

“Wrestling is among the most difficult sports and requires a lot of mental and physical toughness,” said Coach Stern. Stern has been coaching at Mehlville for 4 years now and plans to improve and build the wrestling program at MHS. 

I believe that wrestling is one of the hardest sports high schools offer to student-athletes. It is an individual sport that not only helps you learn to accept being dominated at times, but also pushes you to want to get better. From getting better in the practice room, you develop habits and mental discipline that applies outside of the practice room as well. 

Former wrestler Emma Valleroy is now a coach for the Girls Varsity Wrestling team. 

“I was a Mehlville wrestler myself, so I have been involved in the program since 2012. The sport conditions both the body and mind very well. An experience I would recommend everyone have is the feeling of getting your hand raised after a win,” Valleroy said. 

Getting up after a match knowing you pinned or defeated your opponent is a feeling you can’t explain. Sometimes this experience helps athletes excel in performance. Wrestling helps put you in the mindset to want to put yourself in the spot and test how good you can really do. 

Stern said, “Overall, I would say that wrestling is a great sport for high school students because it is a challenge and will help build confidence and physical ability.”

Most importantly, wrestling is a sport anyone can try. The weight classes range from 102-285 lbs.

Valleroy said, “Anybody has the potential to do well in this sport, and when you do, it can be immensely rewarding.”