Girls strive for success in male-dominated wrestling


Freshmen Alexis and Aubrie Pehrson and eighth-grader Jordyn Campbell pose for a picture after competing in a tournament. As a team, they placed third in their division.

Gaining the confidence to do something out of the ordinary is not always easy. For three young girls at Yutan High School, being different is their normal. Freshmen Aubrie and Alexis Pehrson and eighth-grader Jordyn Campbell are excited to jump on the wrestling mats and make their mark on Yutan High School’s girls wrestling team. 

Alexis and Aubrie started their wrestling careers in different ways. Alexis joined the sport when their family moved to Wahoo in first grade. Soon after, Aubrie noticed that other girls she was friends with enjoyed it as well, which convinced her to try it out.

“I wasn’t interested at first because I thought it was scary,” Aubrie said. “Then one time, I went to watch one of her (Alexis’s) tournaments and a few of my other friends were wrestling and it looked fun, so I decided to try it out.”

Although a few other girls wrestle competitively in this area, it still took confidence and resilience from the twins to compete with mostly males.

“Participating in a guy-based sport is tough sometimes because people don’t take us seriously and they don’t think girls can wrestle,” Aubrie said.

Alexis agrees that it’s hard to be a girl in a male-dominated sport.

“There’s a lot of sexism around girls wrestling,” Alexis said. “A lot think that we can’t handle the sport or practices and that we just can’t be as good.”

Luckily, many people are also supportive of the girls wrestling, including their coaches at Yutan.

“They’re really supportive and you can tell that they really care about us and want us to get better,” Alexis said.

Even though Campbell isn’t at the high school level yet, she feels supported by many including her new team, new coaches and also someone in her everyday life.

“My biggest supporter would definitely be my dad because he’s the one that got me into [wrestling], and he has a really strong passion for the sport,” Campbell said.

Campbell notices the positives in participating in a male-based sport, even though it is tough to do at times.

“It’s fun because it’s interesting to see how you can develop relationships with guys when you can relate to what they’re doing,” Campbell said.

Not only does Campbell enjoy what she’s involved in, but she hopes to inspire others as well.

“My goals are to just try harder than I did last year and to really show people that girls can wrestle,” Campbell said.