Junior Sydney Ward is a student athlete who stands out because she is the only female on Webster’s wrestling team.
Ward has wrestled for two years and considers her greatest accomplishment in wrestling to be “just sticking with the sport when things got difficult.” Despite a lack of female representation within the wrestling team, Ward enjoys her role on the team.
“It doesn’t feel weird or anything because all the guys are pretty cool with it. It just feels like I’m with a bunch of peers, not really a bunch of guys,” Ward said.
Ward competes in matches just as often as her male teammates and feels accepted by her team.
“I don’t see her any different because she is a girl. She is a great addition to the team and brings a lot to the table,” said Ward’s teammate Alex Smith, sophomore.
“She is not treated any differently by the wrestling team. She is super close with a lot of the wrestlers and has a great attitude. I’ve never seen her be put down because she is a woman. She is super nice and welcoming and super easy to talk to. She wrestles like anybody else and is wrestling to perform and to win. She has a great mindset of what she needs to do when she steps on the mat,” Smith said.
Ward does, however, still face obstacles because the sport is so heavily male dominated.
“Guys are a lot stronger– even lighter guys– in their arms and everything,” Ward said.
On the roster, Ward’s name is posted under “Boys Varsity Wrestling” because a women’s team doesn’t exist.
“[The team] is considered co-ed because there’s not enough girls to make a girls team, but it’s primarily male dominated, so [it’s a] guys team,” Ward said.
Although Ward wouldn’t change her experiences, she would want “to get [wrestling] more widespread to girls. A lot of girls don’t even know about it. ”
To any girl who has an interest in wrestling, Ward said to “definitely do it!”
“I really enjoy the feeling of hard work and the concept that through practice you compete– not against a teammate but with them. It might seem like a sport where you must make an enemy out of your opponent, but I see it as an individual going through the same journey; both wanting to win and helping you grow win or lose,” Ward said about what she enjoys about wrestling.
“(Wrestling forms) a great bond with other wrestlers because you’re the only people who really understand the sport and the struggles and victories it brings. I feel lucky to see this and I wish more girls knew about the sport so they, too, could have such bonds with one another,” Ward said.
See Also: Voices of Webster: Jan. 24, 2018
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