University City Hosts Their First Ever Girls Wrestling Tournament


Sevilla Tovar

Junior Brooke Candray facing her opponent on the mat in the school’s gymnasium on December 3.

Sevilla Tovar, Editor-In-Chief

   On December 3, 2022, UC High hosted their first ever Girls-only Wrestling Tournament. This signals a shift in the school’s wrestling program, as more and more female students find themselves drawn to the sport.

   Coach Eduardo Hernández said, “The tournament was on Saturday, December 3, and wrestling started around nine in the morning in the school’s gym and activity room. I had about 38 teams that came from across southern California, some from as far away as Fresno. It was the third largest girls wrestling tournament in San Diego.”

   Hernández said, “We ran a girls varsity and a girls novice tournament. It was one event, but there were two skill groups competing at the same time. We really wanted to make sure that we separate the very experienced girls from the girls that are just starting. The sport is really emerging in popularity, so there’s only a small number of young ladies who have experience compared to a majority of girls who are just now joining the sport.”

   The tournament brought a lot of success to the team. Junior Brooke Candray said, “I placed fifth in the tournament. I won my first match, lost my second, and won the next two matches.” Junior Lucy Fairweather said, “I would say I definitely did better than last tournament, and now I’m motivated to keep getting better!” Candray added that, in spite of only eight girls from UC High wrestling, the team came out third overall against schools with teams made up of over 20 girls.

   Team Captain Senior Lexi Holguin said, “Wrestling has a history of being viewed as a maculine sport, and reserved exclusively for males. As a female on the team, you contradict societal norms and help build a foundation of the perception of strong women within the school.” She added, “UC High hosting a tournament encourages more women to join the wrestling program and spreads our message of gender unity in the sport.” Hernández said, “This is the first girls wrestling tournament UC has hosted. Because of the size of our gym, there isn’t enough space to accommodate a normal-sized boy’s wrestling tournament, but we’re the perfect size for a girl’s tournament. I would like to expand the program in the future, but for now, it’s about getting the word out about the sport. This is the most girls I’ve had on the team, ever.”

   Fairweather said, “All-girls tournaments are important, because they show how inclusive the school is getting and how many athletic opportunities we’re eligible for.” Hernández said, “Nowadays there’s ten times the amount of colleges that are offering scholarships to girl wrestlers. I believe it’s America’s fastest growing sport.”

   Fairweather said, “Us girls should be taken more seriously in contact sports and given more chances to prove ourselves. We’re often viewed as weak and unable to handle anything too rough, but when we get included and are given the opportunity, we show how much we can actually do.” Hernández said, “I really advocate for girls wrestling, because this is a sport where girls are allowed and encouraged to be physically competitive with their opponents, as opposed to having limitations in comparison to their male counterparts in other sports. Girls wrestling is a direct replica of boys wrestling; the rules are the same, the scoring is the same, the tenacity is all of the same with the boys. We don’t lower the standards just because the players are girls.”

   Women’s wrestling has been growing in popularity. According to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, “In 1990, there were 112 girls who participated in high school wrestling. For 27 straight years, girls high school wrestling has grown” (

   The page continued, “In many of those years, the percentage of growth was 10 percent or more. In the 2016-17 high school year, there were 14,587 girls wrestling in high school.” Some high school state associations still do not report how many girls they have, meaning the number is likely much higher (

   Hernández said,“The lowest weight class for girls is 101 pounds, and the highest is 235 pounds. One of the cool things about this sport is it gives girls of all sizes opportunities to compete. While other sports have advantages that come with a person’s physique, you could be five feet tall, four feet ten, 101 pounds, 235 pounds, and it wouldn’t matter. There’s a spot on the team for you. Wrestling is a very inclusive sport, there is no physical prerequisite, you just have to be mentally tough.”