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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton welcomes girls to new wrestling team

Dec 16, 2021 09:12AM ● By Jerry Christensen

Some of Brighton girls wrestlers are (bottom left) Eseta Tuileta and Leah Williams and (top left) Lily Hamling and Stefani Hidalgo. (Photo courtesy Christine Yee)

By Jerry Christensen | [email protected]

There’s a new option on the sports circuit for Brighton High School girls—UHSAA-sanctioned competitive girls wrestling. 

This new team sport represents the fastest growing segment of the sport of wrestling. Up until 2020, girls interested in wrestling would simply join the male-dominated wrestling team that has long been a staple of Utah high school athletic programs. 

The mats in Brighton’s new wrestling room have been well used this winter with two youth teams, the 25-member boys wrestling team and a team of 10 girls. 

Eseta Tuileta was among the first to sign up. “I joined wrestling this year because my rugby coach is also my wrestling coach and the other wrestling coach encouraged me to start wrestling because he saw that I had a lot of potential. My favorite part is that it's a challenge spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. And I get to have an outlet for all of the things that I really need to work on in my life.”

Stefani Hidalgo, a junior, said she joined the wrestling team because her coach convinced her to do it. “And I just felt like it was a good opportunity to do something. The girls in the wrestling team, they're really good. They help you learn a lot and it’s just a good environment.”

The coaches—Bronson Weaver and Christine Yee—both teachers at Brighton were quick to embrace the newly sanctioned sport and are dedicated to making girls wrestling a life-shaping experience. In the wrestling room, the girls are likely to learn about life skills like tenacity and self-discipline alongside wrestling skills like take downs, reversals and cradles.

“I am here to teach wrestling basics complete with determination, resiliency and a pinch of grit,” Weaver said.

Micah Murdock, a captain on the boys wrestling team, crosses over to help coach Weaver with the start-up team. “I wanted to help (coach Weaver) out because he's helped me out and a whole bunch of people. He helps people with grades and all sorts of stuff. He's just a genuinely nice guy, and he wants everyone to be the best that they can. So, I was willing to help him with everything he needs to do.”

Brighton’s commitment to this new sport will be evident as the Utah Girls Wrestling Divisional Tournament with be held in the new Brighton athletic building in February 2022.