Female freshman wrestler grapples with self-acceptance

February 10, 2020 — by Cici Xu and Nicole Lu

Freshman Irene Frazier stood under the spotlight as the referee held up her arm. She was breathless as she stared at the crowd in front of her, and she could clearly hear her teammates chanting her name from the bleachers. This match with Monta Vista High School on Jan. 16 was her first one, and as she stood there, Frazier realized that she had never been so winded from a sport before.

“It was so breathtaking, which was really weird to me because it was only six minutes and I've played a lot of sports,” Frazier said. “But it was so great. And I just remember thinking: I can do this. I can win.”

Frazier began wrestling as a coincidence. After getting cut from the basketball team, she saw her friends walk into the wrestling room and decided to give it a try, wanting to improve her physical and mental strength. Having never wrestled before, Frazier had to overcome her initial confusion as she faced the scene before her.

“They were doing things like leap frogs and getting in each other's faces,” Frazier said. “As a girl, it was really hard for me to walk in the room and be like, Oh, this is what we're doing. This is kind of weird. But then as I got used to it, it became fun and wasn't weird at all.”

Frazier slowly but surely gained confidence in herself throughout the wrestling season. She had found acceptance in football and was able to discover the same thing through wrestling. There, in the gym, Frazier did not feel as pressured and intimidated as she did in traditionally female sports.

She gains confidence and guidance from two other female wrestlers,  juniors Nina Hawley and Nora Sherman, 

Hawley, who switched to wrestling this season after quitting cheer, similarly found the environment competitive and was impressed by Frazier’s personality in such an atmosphere. Sherman described Frazier as a “firecracker,” and was impressed by her determination. 

“She is definitely her own person. She knows what she wants to do and will do it no matter what,” Sherman said.

Despite the internal thoughts and self-doubt that clouded her mind, Frazier saw wrestling as a way to work hard for her goals. She knew the boys in wrestling were a lot stronger, but instead of serving as discouragement, this gave an incentive to work hard and be humble about her own wrestling abilities. She started to care less about winning, but rather devoted herself more in purely enjoying her passions on sports. 

“Wrestling was a great season,” she said. “I grew up in a lot of ways, as I physically gained from 108 to 134 pounds so far, but besides that, wrestling mentally made me stronger.”

 She added, “You get pounded, you get beaten, you get thrown everywhere. As a woman, it made me comfortable because I know this sport doesn’t relate to gender.” 

Despite wrestling not being a popular sport at SHS, she strongly recommended people, especially the ones that have a hard time fitting in, to join, because the warm atmosphere always makes her feel welcomed. 

“I'm not number one, but I will get there,” said Frazier. “I felt welcome more than I've ever felt in any sport.” 


Wrestlers are going to CCS 

The SHS wrestling team lost to Homestead on Feb. 4 and won on Feb. 6 against Los Altos. The team is currently preparing for the upcoming League tournament, which will be held from Feb. 15 to 16. 

  Some of the top wrestlers, seniors Kole Tippetts, Robbie Bilic, Nico Sabato and Nima Aminzadeh,  expect to make it to CCS. Also bidding to make it to the playoffs are juniors Sean Yeung and Trevor Green and Frazier.

“Our senior night against Homestead was emotional for the seniors because it was the last time they would wrestle at Toga,” said Bilic. 





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