Holland Patent, NY - Over the past three years the Holland Patent wrestling program has been a great example of inclusion and highlighting girls wrestling.
The third annual "Girls Can't What?" all girls wrestling tournament was hosted by Holland Patent high school.
90 girls from all over the state and Canada between the ages of 4 and 14 years old, have come to battle it out on the mats, but most importantly to support girls who wrestle.
It all started three years ago when Brandon Swalgin had to drive hours and hours in order for his daughter to participate in girls wrestling tournaments.
He and his brother Jordan, wrestling coaches at Holland Patent High School realized that there was a void in girls wrestling here in the area and decided to do something about it.
Tournament director Jordan Swalgin says, “Women’s wrestling has been above and beyond these past few years and for them to have their own stage is huge. Between my brother and I we’re getting this tournament going. We have about 10 girls ourselves in the tournament and in our program so just to have them to have their own stage and to get the girls from all over the state, including Canada is here as well, to come and wrestle it’s, great.”
The Swalgin brothers along with assistant coach Sam Doxstader who is a collegiate wrestling All-American, have opened up the doors for girls to showcase their talent at the annual event.
With wrestling being a male-dominated sport, especially at the high school level, female wrestlers say that an event like this is a great opportunity to show what they can do.
Eighth-grader, Selina Moore, a 2-year varsity wrestler from Sherburne-Earlville says, “When I was younger I knew it was really hard to find places in New York, all girls tournaments, that weren’t like really expensive or just really far away. It just feels good that you know sometimes women’s wrestling is also getting their fair share not just the men.”
Kaylee Swalgin, a freshman, 2-year varsity wrestler for Holland Patent adds, “It’s great to see other girls at the boys tournament and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh’ I’m not the only one. It’s good to have all of the girls just come together and just wrestle in the tournament with all of them.”
According to tournament officials, the number of participants has grown exponentially over the years and they say that as long as the facilities are available, the tournament will be around.
“The sky’s the limit” says Jordan Swalgin.
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