Senior Nasia Nguyen steps out of the box and onto the mat as she joins the wrestling team, hoping to gain strength, confidence, and courage.
Although sophomore Erica Petiho Mbong is also on the team, returning from last year, Nguyen joins the team for the first time as a senior.
Nguyen has been has been inspired by the sport of wrestling for some time now as she grew up watching matches on TV and the Olympics. She even wrestled with her siblings and cousins when she was younger. “My friends were doing it and they laughed when I would say ‘Fight me.’ So I’m gonna learn how to fight and then fight them,” she adds.
Nguyen describes her practices as just doing drills over and over with short breaks in between, but ultimately she is happy with the rigor that wrestling requires.
Since wrestling is primarily a male sport, both the girls and boys have to face the stigma of physical contact with the opposite sex. “[The boys are] going to quickly get a different perspective because you’re going to see so many girls beating up guys,” says, Nguyen.
The boys welcomed the girls onto the team as fellow wrestlers. “Wrestling is a sport that helps you build character and become a better athlete overall. It’s very fun and teaches you how to work hard, and I recommend girls to continue wrestling,” adds Jose Lopez.
However, some of the boys were hesitant to wrestle to their full ability against females. “They try to throw me down gently and in my mind I’m just like ‘throw me down, throw me across the room’, “ She adds, “I have to tell them to stop holding back.”
Although Nguyen is enjoying wrestling now, she wasn’t always as confident about it. At first when she told her cross country friends about wanting to wrestle, they were in awe. “My expectation was that it was going to be really hard,” she says, “ I thought, ‘Is it really hard? I’m kind of scared now.’ But I was also excited to do it.”
At the start of the season, Nguyen was concerned on whether or not she needed to cut or gain weight, but she was ready to overcome any obstacle she may have to face. She adds, “ I was ready to eat ten Snickers bars a day”, but it ended up that she was right where she needed to be.
Nguyen plans on competing in an upcoming meet, where she hopes to win.