Tahoma girls wrestling ready to take to the mat

Tahoma girls wrestling ready to take to the mat
Posted on 11/27/2019
When the whistle blows to mark the first wrestling match of the season, a new team will be representing Tahoma High School’s wrestling program. For the first time, this year’s THS Bears wrestlers will include both a boys team and a girls team.

Girls coach Tim Kitchen started wrestling in kindergarten, and has been wrestling or coaching wrestling ever since.

“Tahoma has such a rich tradition in wrestling,” said Kitchen, who recently returned to teach in special education at the high school after a couple of years away from the district while he coached in White River. He used to coach fastpitch softball, and also coached middle school football at Maple View this year. “(Tahoma) has a coaching staff with a lot of camaraderie. It’s really a family.”

The Tahoma School Board last June approved the official addition of girls wrestling to the sports offered at the high school.

“We’re excited for the opportunity our female athletes will have to compete in the sport of wrestling,” Athletic Director Tony Davis said. “We’re fortunate to have an experienced coach in Tim Kitchen … he has already gotten our students excited about the opportunity to make history by being a part of Tahoma High School’s first-ever girls wrestling team.”

Between 20 and 25 girls have said that they would like to be part of the team, Kitchen said, which is more than double what he and Davis estimated when they sat down to decide how many uniforms to order. “It’s been a pleasant surprise,” he said. “We may be doubling our order for uniforms and headgear.”

Kitchen attributes some of that interest to the fact that the sport is growing in general, with added interest at the college level and other opportunities to participate at the local and regional level. The interest level may also be high here because of the strong feeder program and boys high school teams. For example, one student had planned to serve as the boys team’s manager -- until she found out that she could wrestle on the girls team.

“It’s just such a neat sport,” Kitchen said. “I can’t think of any sport like it that builds character in the same way. It’s one on one -- me against you -- and all my friends and family are going to watch.”

The program will also offer girls the chance to learn about nutrition, weight training and other components that will help them grow as athletes. “They get a lot out of it,” he added.

Girls wrestling will be a no-cut sport, and it’s not too late for any interested students to turn out. They need to have their pink card and get 12 practices in, and then they will be able to compete.

Some of the other teams in the league have girls wrestling contingents, but none have numbers in the 20-25 athlete range. As a result, coaches will match opponents by weight class when possible and the girls will compete in Round Robin style events. In some situations, the girls team members may have the opportunity to compete against boys, if both athletes are comfortable with it, Kitchen said.

The Bears' first meet will be the Lady Jag Kickoff on Dec. 7 at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup. Their schedule will be posted soon. To check it out and find a meet to cheer them on at, click here.

“We’re excited,” he said. “This (team) is something that there’s been a desire for in the community.”

*Photo courtesy of Boomer's Photography
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