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Girls wrestling comes to Park City High School

Curt Futch
The PCHS girls wrestling team. Back row, left to right: Abi Pray, Natalie Southard, Corinne Letchford, Noa Omessi, Zoe Otto. Front row: Grace O'Doherty, Grace Wagstaff, Spring Carter, Andrea Paniagua. Not pictured: Ellie Wenner.

Girl's wrestling has only been a high school sport for a couple of years - but it’s growing.

Historically, wrestling has been a predominantly male sport.

However, three years ago the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) approved girls wrestling to become an officially sanctioned high school sport in Utah, and since then it’s grown in popularity.

The Park City Miners girls’ wrestling team had five girls last year and is up to 10 members this season.

One of those returning to the team is junior and team captain Corinne Letchford. She said she started wrestling because she didn’t have winter sports and that wrestling runs in her family.

“My dad has done it since he was a little kid. And same with my brother. So I thought I'd try it out. And I absolutely loved it.”

Letchford said girls wrestling isn’t like other activities she’s tried.

“It's just really different from every other sport that I’ve played, it's so unique, and I have the freedom to do what I want. And I can be aggressive, but also do my own thing. And it's just a unique sport, that there's not a lot like it. And that really intrigued me.”

Head coach Curt Futch has been involved with girls wrestling for five years. Before coaching, he wrestled throughout high school and college.

Futch said there have always been girls on the wrestling team but they had to compete against boys. He added that some girls were not comfortable with that, so having a separate team has opened up the sport for some athletes.

“Yeah, it's actually pretty neat. So initially, when I got involved, the girls were co-ed, and they wrestled boys. And it's just, you know, it's tough. It's a different sport. And particularly at that age, it's tough for a lot of girls, we're not comfortable doing it. And frankly, so the boys were wrestling with girls. And so having it sanctioned having an independent tournament, having independent teams really opened up the sport to the girls and to the females, which I think is great. Female wrestling has really helped wrestling overall. And so I think it's helpful at the state level as well.”

The Miners will start the season with a dual at Bountiful on November 30th. Dual is the name for a wrestling match where each team enters one wrestler per weight class, and they wrestle someone on the opposing team who is in the same weight class.