National Girls and Women in Sports Day

National+Girls+and+Women+in+Sports+Day

Jessica Gordimer, Sports Editor

It’s time to celebrate our Lady Nights! National Girls and Women in Sports Day was officially commemorated during the first week of February on February 2nd. The purpose of the dedicated day is to pay tribute to the accomplishments of female athletes at all levels, and it’s a time to recognize the struggle for equality, and celebrate the progress of women in sports.  

Girls Wrestling Team

Let’s lift them up! The idea for a girls’ wrestling team has been in the works for a few years. Before, girls were allowed to compete with the boys wrestling team if they wished, but girl wrestlers were few and far between. Three years ago, however, the state of New Jersey decided to split the girls and boys wrestlers. 

The recent split of the girls and boys has spiked a large interest in wrestling for girls, and so, the first MHRD girls wrestling team was born. The team is a combined MH/MK team, and almost all the girls on the team are first-time wrestlers. Coach Sylvester praises his athletes, saying, “They all come in every day ready to learn and work and it is that drive that is making our girls successful.” Coach Sylvester says he’s loved coaching the girls this season and encourages any female interested to “Just do it!” There is no experience or equipment needed. He describes the benefits of the sports as, “boundless.” Girls wrestling is a growing sport and now is the time to join! It’s clear that the future of the Lady Knights wrestling program at Morris Hills is bright and there is definitely lots to look forward to!

Let’s meet the girls that have jumped on the opportunity to show their skills on the mat. 

Drew Bonnet 

Freshman Drew Bonnet is a wrestling newcomer. Her brother convinced her to join and she had heard good things about all the coaches. At first, she was worried she would be playing catch-up since it was her first year wrestling, but so far, she’s enjoyed the journey and experience. When Drew was asked why she liked wrestling, she responded, “Getting your hand raised is the best feeling in the world.”

Her teammates are her “sisters,” she says, and it’s clear to see how close the girls are. At every meet, the sidelines are packed with cheering teammates, who always support each other throughout every match. 

When asked about her future plans, Drew says that she looks forward to improving her skills and continuing to wrestle throughout high school. Her goals are to improve physically and mentally through the sport. She also wants to inspire more girls to join the sport, to show that “girls can do anything that guys can.” 

Kyara 

Junior Kyara Montoya is a key player in the MHRD wrestling program, and even helped to kickstart the girls wrestling team. She started wrestling in middle school, and when she came to Morris Hills, Coach Diaz encouraged her to join the boys’ team. 

Her passion for the sport grew quickly. She enjoyed the individualized aspect of wrestling. “I fell in love with the idea of putting my all into a sport, and knowing that at the end of the day, I was not only responsible for my accomplishments, but also the only one to blame when things didn’t go my way.” She also talks about how wrestling has helped her mentally, especially with developing her self-confidence.  

Early on, Kyara found it difficult to be taken seriously as a girl in a male-dominated sport. She realized that to be taken seriously by her competition, she had to prove her skills, and she rose spectacularly to the challenge. As a freshman, Kyara made it to the state tournament. She returned the next year, where she dominated the competition. Speaking of her success, Kyara says, “I just use the hatred and comments as fuel to continue pushing myself.” She always says how being a female allows her to have an edge on the competition as well, using her flexibility and technique to be successful.

Kyara also credits the boys’ varsity team with helping her to reach her goals. She says how with the support of the boys, she was able to handle difficult situations a lot easier. She describes the team as a family and even as a “home away from home.” 

Kyara is a part of the first girls wrestling team at Morris Hills, and is incredibly proud of this accomplishment. Her favorite part about wrestling for Morris Hills is the opportunity she’s created for other female athletes. She says that one of her biggest goals was to have a full girls’ wrestling team by the time she graduates. Now, she can certainly check that off her bucket list! The future is full of potential for the girls wrestling team, and we can’t wait to see what Kyara accomplishes as she finishes her junior year and heads into her senior season. 

Girls on the Ice

Lady Knights take the ice! Another female dominating the sports world at Hills is sophomore hockey player, Morgan Kepler. 

Morgan learned to skate at the age of 3, and started playing hockey only 2 years later. She grew up watching her brother’s games and instantly fell in love with the sport. Her favorite part about hockey has been the enjoyment of being on the ice, as well as being able to make friends with some phenomenal players. Morgan has traveled all over the country and competed in states, districts, and even two national championships in a row!

She enjoys playing for and representing the school. While playing for the MK/MH co-op team, she says she has learned good sportsmanship and what it means to have a competitive spirit. She says that one of the most exciting parts about playing for the team is having the fans cheer for you at games and the energy it creates in the rink.  

Morgan is just one of five girls in the program. Morgan describes being a female in a male-dominated sport as “cool.” She believes it “really breaks the gender stereotypes” and she is proud to be part of the team. We can’t wait to see what Morgan accomplishes next.