MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon is well-known for its historically strong wrestling team.
The wrestling program has seemed unstoppable at times and perennially is one of the best in Eastern Iowa, if not the state.
Now Mount Vernon is making history with the creation of the girls’ wrestling team.
Coach Aaron Truitt said the idea for a female team came from Kyle Jaspers, a Mount Vernon Middle School wrestling coach.
“Girls wrestling is getting more popular in the world of sports,” Truitt said, “Jaspers started advertising the spring before to try and gain traction before the season started.”
Now there are six girls on the team along with three coaches.
“I have always enjoyed strength training and fitness challenges,” senior Maddie Shultz said. “Most practices so far are open mat because of the low availability of the coaches.”
Junior Julia Wheeler said she wanted to join because “I was a wrestling manager for the boys since eighth grade and I wanted to give it a try for myself.”
Wheeler said she has always liked the sport of wrestling.
“Training and practices for us are very minimal compared to the boys due to the newness of the team,” she said.
Wheeler said some good characteristics of a wrestler include “confidence, no nerves and a little bit of cockiness on the mat to show that you mean business.”
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There are several teams in the area for the girls to compete against, like Iowa City West, Anamosa, Waverly, BGM and Linn-Mar.
Coach Adam Truitt wrote a letter to Mustang wrestling fans detailing his nerves entering the new realm of girls’ wrestling, but expressed utmost confidence in his team to overcome their lack of experience and make their mark as Mount Vernon’s pioneering team.
Paul Morf, the father of freshman wrestler Abbie Morf, said he is really excited about the sport.
“I would not have believed girls’ wrestling would be this much fun to watch,” he said. “The parents are crazy into it, the coaches are crazy into it. Some girls are really good. Others have no idea what they are doing. All giving their all. It is a great slice of Americana, pure amateur sport at its finest.”
The unofficial girls’ state wrestling tournament in Saturday in Waverly.