Eight girls make OHS history with first all girls wrestling team


Gray Foley

Annalise Brown (10) wrestles at her first home wrestling match against Rockwood Summit.

OHS has officially begun a girls wrestling team, and the season is well underway. Eight girls are a part of the team, including Zariah Woods-Johnson (12), Deja Robinson (11), Aydan Squires (10), Annalise Brown (10), Makaylah Brown (9), Talia Reed (9), Kennedy Anderson (9) and Amilah Wainwright (9).

Girls wrestling became an official MSHSAA sport four years ago, but didn’t receive much interest at OHS until this year. Led by coaches Benjamin Knol, Devonte Shivers, Austin Neal and Dominic O’Neal, the girls have been training alongside the boys team, learning new skills and building strength.  

“The girls work out with the guys in the same room. The girls practice with each other and the boys practice with themselves and with having a lot of guys this year it’s been really crowded,” Knol said. 

Although almost all of the female wrestlers are new to the sport, they don’t let that hold them back. They have all grown tremendously in not only their abilities but their love for the sport. According to Knol, the girls team is not the only one feeling the excitement of Oakville’s newest sporting venture, as Oakville’s boys wrestling team has also taken an interest in watching the girls grow into the sport. 

“Watching the first all girls duel, seeing the guys get into it too, they were really excited to cheer on the girls and have fun,” Knol said. 

The girls all have different reasons for joining the team, they’re all working hard for the betterment of themselves and the team, and they don’t take the feat of being the first girls wrestling team lightly. 

“I decided to join after I went to an open mat with my friend before the season started, and it was really fun, so I decided to do it,” Reed said. 

The group has grown into a true team over the season. They’ve bonded over their shared newness of the sport, encouraged each other through difficult practices and hard matches, and have supported each other, win or lose. 

“We have learned what the meaning of being on a team and working together is,” Makaylah Brown said. “Wrestling really made all of us close, including the boys.”

The future of girls wrestling at Oakville looks bright, but the team still hopes to see growth in the years to come. 

“I hope seeing us inspires other girls to join the team, even though it can be intimidating,” Robinson said. “When I first started, I was worried because I didn’t know much about the sport, and I was worried about how I would perform, but it’s been a really positive experience, and I’ve learned so much and grown so much as a person. If you’re considering joining the team, give it a try. It’s so worth it.”