BLOOMFIELD, NJ--She's just a freshman, but Mariah Koster has cemented her name as the first Nutley High female wrestler to place at a tournament.
Koster accomplished the feat with a third place finish at the second annual Bloomfield Holiday Tournament, which was held on Dec. 26, at Bloomfield High. Koster wrestled in the 100-pound weight class.
Koster is the lone female on Nutley's roster and her head coach, Mike DiPiano, was very pleased with her effort in Bloomfield.
"It was good to finally be a part of the girls movement," said DiPiano. "There was so much energy, positivity and smiling going on in that gym. It was really something special."
Mariah recorded a pair of pins en route to her third place finish. She was defeated by the eventual tourney champion, Aaliyah Payne-Parris. of Newton High, by fall, in the 100-pound semifinals, before pinning Jasmine Yalowitz, of Ft. Lee, in the third place bout.
While Koster wrestled in the 100-pound weight class, she only weighs a little over 90 pounds.
"Mariah had a fantastic day" said DiPiano. "She only weighs around 90 pounds, so she was giving up weight, but she is extremely tough and mentally strong, so that helps her tremendously."
Koster was also excited about her varsity debut on the mat.
"Wrestling has been such a fun, rewarding experience," she said. "I'm so grateful for the opportunity to wrestle for Coach DiPiano at Nutley High School. Representing my home town of Nutley at the girls tournament, is something I will never forget. I was honored to step onto the mat as Nutley High School's only female wrestler.
"I was so happy to see some of my teammates in the stands as well as athletic director Joe Piro, my Coach Nick Ritacco and my Team NJ Coach, Leigh Jaynes. While I enjoy wrestling on boys and girls teams, I'd love to see more opportunities and tournaments for my fellow female wrestlers."
Koster has spent a lot of time working on her craft, and that work ethic has impressed her coach.
"She works very hard year-round, and travels a lot to get good work outs in with other girls," said DiPiano. "In our practice room, male or female, she is one of the hardest workers we have. I hope her success, and continued success, makes more Nutley girls want to venture into this sport."