Cindy Lin becomes the second girl ever to join the wrestling team
Even though she has never wrestled before, she steps up to the mat. And although others may think it is difficult to be the only girl on an all-boys wrestling team, sophomore Cindy Lin doesn’t think twice about it.
“I was just looking at the sports, and I did not want to do three running sports in a row,” Lin said. “I thought that wrestling looked interesting, though I had not tried it before.”
In addition to being a three-sport athlete at ESD, Lin tried out many different sports at her old school in California. The small school was about 50 students to a grade with the upper campus being 300 to 400 students in total. All sports were available to join without having to try out and were relatively low commitment.
“At ESD, I did cross country last season, and I’m planning to do track in the spring,” Lin said. “I’ve generally done a ton of random sports for maybe one season (basketball, volleyball, etc.), [but] I wasn’t really good at them. Sports were really haphazard at my old school and besides varsity girls basketball, anyone could join any sport with very low commitment and no tryouts, so I used to kind of hop around sports.”
Even having played many different sports, wrestling was completely new for her. The coaches were supportive of her joining the all-boy team.
“The coaches are really nice,” Lin said. “They’re pretty supportive of me being on the team, but they’re not giving me special treatment.”
But this is not the first time ESD has had a girl in the wrestling team. Wrestling Program Director Kwinten Peterson Brown said that the program has had one other girl on the team in the past. She too practiced with the boys as Lin does.
“When you only have one girl they have to practice with the boys,” Brown said.
Lin practices the most with freshman Aiden Ferguson who is in her same weight class.
“But, since I’m at the lowest weight class, the second lightest kid, we tend to wrestle each other,” Lin said.
It’s also Ferguson’s first year doing wrestling, and he usually wrestles with either Lin or senior Chase Chazanow. He says his teammates have been supportive of Lin joining the team.
“I am completely fine having Cindy on the team,” Ferguson said. “The team has really done a good job of welcoming her and including her in everything.”
Lin’s first competition, and the first tournament for the wrestling team, was from Jan. 13 to 14 in Tyler, Texas.
“This weekend is her first competition,” Brown said. “She will wrestle other girls at the same location as the boys.”
Wrestlers competed with other wrestlers from schools around Texas who were in the same weight class as them. Most of the time, during competitions, wrestlers move on after winning depending on the tournament.
“Wrestling tournaments work like most tournaments, you win, you move on, you lose, you are out,” Brown said. “Some may be double elimination.”
Lin competed with the limited number of girls who also do wrestling. Because of this limited number, Lin only faced two opponents at the tournament.
“I only got two matches, [while] the boys got six or so since there were only two other girls around my weight,” Lin said. “I lost both matches but I made it past the first period for one.”
Some of the other teams couldn’t make it, but the experience of cheering on the team made up for the lack of competition.
“As for the tournament, I was pretty excited because it would be my first match and also because it was an overnight trip (something that didn’t really happen at my old school),” Lin said. “On Friday, we found out that of the three girls teams, two of them bailed out and the third one would arrive on Saturday so that was somewhat disappointing. It was really interesting to watch the others wrestle and cheer for them.”
With Lin and her teammates cheering each other on, the rest of the wrestling team did well at the tournament.
“Generally, I do think that the rest of the wrestling team deserves a lot more credit,” Lin said. “They did really well, and we had four finalists.”
Even though it’s rare for ESD to have a girl on the wrestling team, it’s any other day for Lin when she steps onto the mat.
“I feel like it’s not really that special,” Lin said. “I feel like it’s the entire team that makes the teamwork, so it’s not really special that I’m on the team, right? I’m just doing it.”