Pinning Perseverance: Women’s Wrestling Journey to Nationals

The women’s wrestling team poses at the 2023 NCWWC Regionals at Gannon University on Feb. 24. This year, four members qualified to compete (Photo courtesy of Hannah Alredge).

Two years after the women’s wrestling team competed nationally, they’re back to pinning down the competition. Four members of the team, Fowlerville sophomore Hannah Arledge, Sandusky sophomore Logan Ryan, Lansing sophomore Danielle Ruiz and Laingsburg sophomore Gabby Motz qualified for the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 8 and 9.

Despite the women’s wrestling team being less than five years old, Arledge said the sport “has been a thing for a long time.”

“What is crazy is a lot of girls will usually start off wrestling on their boys’ teams,” Arledge said. “With that being said, Albion has given us this opportunity, to be here and obviously be on a women’s team.”

Alredge said the individual attention a 10-person team affords was one of the main reasons why she joined the team. 

“You can go to a lot of other schools and have 20–30 individuals, but not get any individual attention at all,” Arledge said. “I know that I’ll always have a place on the team and because of that I feel like that solidifies you to work hard and be committed because everyone is counting on you.”

Both teams are led by Coach Adam Wilson, who said, “Because of the size of our roster and the vision that we’ve taken to build the roster, I really feel like I have a great relationship with every person in our program. I hope they know without question that I have what is best for their development as an individual athlete.” 

This development takes place through hours of practice and motivation. In Wilson’s words, “It has not been sunshine and rainbows the whole time.”

“Wrestling is not just tough physically, it’s very tough mentally and emotionally,” Wilson said. “The team has really developed mentally, physically and emotionally over these last seven months and there’s still work to do, but you can only accomplish so much in seven months.”

Alredge added that the mental preparation for a match means “pushing everything aside and just being your most authentic best self.”

However, both Wilson and Alredge said this season has still been successful.

“Our goal is just to be our best, right? Whatever your version of your best is,” Wilson said.

“I don’t like the cliché goal of ‘we want to win the nationals, and we want to win the conference.’ I want to get better at the sport, but more importantly, my goal is that they continue to get better as people, that we do great community service and that we’re great leaders,” Wilson said. “If you’re not an All-American, that doesn’t mean that you failed. You’ve still won more than you’ve ever thought about.”

If setting goals and wrestling align with your interests, Alredge said that Wilson is, “always  recruiting the best people to be around.”

However, on par with working hard and setting goals, Wilson said, “we carry a pretty high standard. Wrestling is not a common sport. Without having some experience in wrestling, I think it’s pretty challenging. It could be dangerous.”

Active & Safe Central, a platform dedicated to minimizing sports injuries, said, “Wrestling is a sport with one of the highest injury rates among male athletes, particularly when compared to other sports at the high school and collegiate levels. For every 1,000 times that a wrestler competes or practices, there are between 2 and 30 reported injuries.

According to Wilson, Albion College’s team itself has battled injury and had athletes who, having experienced a lot of success, go on losing streaks on occasion. However, Wilson said he continues to be proud of both teams’ resilience and appreciates the coaching department.

“We’ve quickly become one of the better men’s and women’s wrestling programs in the country, and it’s because of our athletes and external people outside of it,” Wilson said.

About Killian Altayeb 24 Articles
Killian Altayeb is from Novi, Michigan and is a second-year student at Albion College. They are a Biochemistry Major with a journalistic interest in all things public health. Contact Killian via email at NA12@albion.edu.

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