Introducing the RHS Girls Wrestling Team
This year marks a new era in Ram athletics with Girls Wrestling being added to the winter sports calendar at Ralston High School. Last May, the Nebraska Schools Activity Association officially voted to make Girls Wrestling a sanctioned sport starting in the 2021-2022 school year. The first-year RHS team consists of ten girls, and Coach Ed Schmitt is excited about what he is seeing on the mat so far this season.
“All of the girls have shown promise, explosiveness, and have the potential to do some cool things this year and throughout their career. It is awesome to see these girls get in on the ground floor and start this thing here at Ralston,” says Coach Schmitt.
The team make-up includes some with previous experience in wrestling, some with experience in other sports, and for some wrestlers, this is the first experience in athletics while at Ralston High School. “These girls are a fun group to be around. They like learning new things, are very excited to be a part of the wrestling team, and hate to lose. It is fun to watch them compete as a team and cheer each other on.” says Coach Schmitt.
RHS senior Elda-Flore Adoko is excited to be a member of the wrestling team. It is her first time participating in a sport in all her years at Ralston High School. “What attracted me to wrestling was that it was a team sport but also allowed me to grow and get stronger individually,” says Adoko. She has enjoyed being part of the team. “There is a lot of excitement among the girls, especially when we are competing! Everyone is excited and cheers each other on. So far, we have two girls who are doing exceptionally well, consistently winning their matches. It will be exciting to see how much we all grow throughout the season,” said Adoko.
Coach Schmitt’s focus is work ethic, positive attitude, being thankful, and putting forth effort in everything the wrestlers do. “The coaches are great. Their constant support has been key,” says Adoko. “After every match, a coach is there with words of encouragement and helping me understand what I did well and what I can improve on for next time.”
Another wrestler on the team, sophomore Dylen Ritchey, was excited about the opportunity to be a part of something new and establish traditions and expectations. Having competed in other sports throughout her life, she had never wrestled until stepping on the mat this year for the first time. “My family was excited for me. I play several team sports, and they were excited for me to try a more individualized sport,” said Ritchey.
So far this season, Ritchey is 4-1, winning her first four matches in a row. She attributes the early success to the coaching staff. “They push us to be our best. We may not like it at the moment, but it will help us get farther and reach our goals in the end,” says Ritchey.
Dylen knew this season would be a challenge not only for her but also for the other girls on the team. “It takes a lot mentally to go out and wrestle; knowing that you are going to get thrown down sometimes. There are a lot of positions and techniques to learn. At practice, my teammates and I have learned to trust each other and learn as much as we can so we don’t hurt ourselves or others during practice or in a match.”
For the past five years, girls wrestling has been the fastest-growing high school sport in the country. Coach Schmitt sees and hears the excitement about the new sport throughout the hallways of Ralston High School. “I continue to hear about other girls at RHS who have an interest in wrestling but have yet to take the next step and fully commit. The whole school seems very excited about adding girls wrestling. Many students and staff are inquiring about the girls' results and enjoy seeing them be a part of this team.” says Coach Schmitt.
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Pictured (from left) Taylor Bergman, Haley Lafolette, Liberty Swick, Oliviana Medina, Mariah Hargrave, Dylen Ritchey, Amelia Kreitz, Elda-Flore Adoko, Abigail James, and Mya Arp.