The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Girls in wrestling breaking stereotypes

Courtesy Steven Vaughan
Senior Jordan Rahmfeld prepares to wrestle her opponent at a dual meet against Monte Vista High School.

The Los Altos High School wrestling team had a nearly undefeated season with a record of 4–1, won by its 30 wrestlers. But despite having a large program overall, only three wrestlers were girls. 

Since the first international women’s wrestling competition in 1989, the sport has grown in popularity but is still unavailable to women in many state schools. Existing wrestling programs are often coed which allows girls to decide whether they want to wrestle male opponents in tournaments. Wrestlers are paired by weight class rather than gender. 

Senior Jordan Rahmfeld is one of three girls on the LAHS wrestling team. A former taekwondo student, Jordan started wrestling in eighth grade when the Egan Junior High School wrestling team left the mats out after physical education. After wrestling with her friends for fun, she fell in love with the sport. 

With COVID-19 preventing her from joining the LAHS wrestling team her freshman year, Jordan joined the team as a sophomore where she was immediately placed on varsity. 

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 “If I didn’t have my background in combat sports, I never in a million years would have thought wrestling was ever a choice for me,” Jordan said. 

This winter of her senior season, Jordan placed seventh at CCS regionals and punched her ticket to CCS Masters, where she finished her season. 

Throughout her career, Jordan found a sense of purpose in competing in tournaments and she credits her success this season to her determination.  

 “It’s just you against the other person on the mat, and it’s also completely in your power to get the medal,” Jordan said. “If you don’t get the medal, that’s on you.” 

At LAHS, the entire team practices together on the same training plan. Though they train similarly, boys and girls each train to their strengths.

“Boys have stronger muscles, but girls have stronger hip mobility, and those are the moves where a boy can’t hit like a girl can,” Jordan said.

Seniors Jordan Rahmfeld and Allie Chapell hold hands at a dual meet after earning their varsity letters. (Courtesy Steven Vaughan)

For other girls on the team, their journey to wrestling was not quite as straightforward as Jordan’s. Female wrestlers often have little media representation, meaning many girls may not even realize wrestling is an option. 

Senior Allie Chappell joined the team last season with a strong background in combat sports, specializing in martial arts. She initially planned to join the team junior year, but the lack of female representation in wrestling media discouraged her from trying it. 

“Most girls lack understanding or are misinformed about wrestling through stereotypes,” Allie said. “It definitely took me a lot of courage to join.” 

Sophomore Dasha Krasina joined the wrestling team last winter after her friend encouraged her to try it. Unlike Jordan and Allie, who have backgrounds in combat sports, Dasha was a gymnast and volleyball player. At first, Dasha had reservations about joining wrestling due to its lack of popularity among girls, particularly at LAHS. 

“Wrestling is generally viewed as a man’s sport,” Dasha said. “I don’t think some girls even know they can join.”  

While some of the boys on the LAHS team started wrestling from teacher recommendations, due to the stereotype that wrestlers are typically boys, none of the girls currently on the team were recommended by a teacher. 

“If there are any teachers who teach a female student with a fighter spirit, they should recommend wrestling,” Jordan said. 

Despite these difficulties, women’s wrestling is the fastest-growing sport in the US and is growing at LAHS too. Four new female wrestlers have already shown interest in joining the team next season, in addition to returning members. As the number of girls on the team grows, team members focus on promoting a stronger wrestling culture at LAHS. 

“I encourage not just girls but everyone to try out wrestling,” Allie said. “It’s a very fun and rewarding sport.”

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