Wrestling team offers free clinic for women in June

Redshirt junior Zach Voytek prepares to make a move against his opponent. Voytek qualified for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in March. Photo courtesy of M.Cuttrell.

The wrestling team is continuing their climb to become a known name in the sport of wrestling. Last season, the team had two national qualifiers and their first national finalist in school history. This season, the Griffins sent five men to the national tournament and came home with another All-American. Do the math: seven national qualifiers and two All-Americans in two years. The program is on the rise and they are also working to grow the sport.

This year, the Griffins Wrestling Club was created. Local wrestlers are now able to come to the Seton Hill Wrestling room, located in the old Verizon building, three nights a week with a membership. But on Saturday, June 24 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Griffins will host a free clinic for women wrestlers for all girls ages 12 and under.

“There is no cost due to not wanting to turn anyone away. Our goal is not to make money,” said Wrestling Head Coach Brian Tucker. “It is to spread and present the opportunities that wrestling can lead to for girls in the future; mainly the area tournament, but also scholarships, a college education, competitiveness, accountability, independence, nutrition and fitness, education and all other aspects that the sport of wrestling provides.”

Women’s wrestling is on the rise in the United States. This past summer in Rio, Team USA’s Helen Maroulis won gold at the Olympics, the United States’ first ever woman gold medal winner in wrestling. Now, Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling (PJW) is adding girl’s divisions to its events.

PJW’s consist of four age divisions: eight and under, nine and 10 and 11 and 12. Each division has their own different weight classes. This coming spring, the girl’s divisions will be added as they will get a chance to compete in the area championships, which is where they can qualify for the state championships a week or two after. Once the news broke, the Griffins wrestling team wanted to help, and Tucker is very excited to be a part of this.

Senior Tanner Druck stands after finishing a match. Photo courtesy of M.Cuttrell.

“The idea for the clinic has been brewing for a little, and then the stars seemed to align with the area tournaments adding a girl’s division, Helen Maroulis winning the gold medal and the exponential growth of female wrestling participants, specifically in western PA,” Tucker said. “This seemed like the perfect time. We volunteered to host the clinic. The Area Wrestling Representatives needed a way to spread the word about the girl’s division and I thought hosting a clinic would be a great way to accomplish that. This area has the best high school wrestling in the nation and with a nationwide growth of women’s wrestling there is no reason why this area should not provide that opportunity for females.”

The program wants to give back as the sport has given them so much. Not only does it help the wrestling community but also, it helps the sport as a whole, as well as continuing to make the sport inclusive. In addition, this clinic also helps get the word out about Seton Hill University and specifically the wrestling program.

When asked what the future holds, Tucker said, “The Griffins wrestling team is returning numerous members along with bringing in a very large and talented group of freshmen for the fall. The growth in the room continues daily as we have guys that can’t get enough of training and trying to get better. Our goal is to win a national championship and that is going to happen and soon.”

The team’s coaches and wrestlers will be running the clinic, and they ask if you know of any wrestlers or any girls who are interested, to let them know about the clinic. Tucker can be contacted at btucker@setonhill.edu for more information and to RSVP.

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