RED BANK, NJ – Red Bank Regional (RBR) hosted the first ever New Jersey Girls Wrestling Regional Tournament on February 17th.
RBR Athletic Director Del Dal Pra and Girls’ Wrestling Coach Scott Ferris were key to organizing the tournament. “We are delighted that 305 girls from 95 schools all participated in the event with all parts of the state represented from High Point to Lower Cape May and Red Bank to Trenton, said Dal Pra.”
Newly sanction as a sport by the NJSIAA Executive Committee this past October, Girls Wrestling participates in both the North and South divisions which covers 10 weight classes ranging from 100 to 235 pounds.
Three RBR girls participated including Senior Sheridan Torres (practicing above) from Little Silver. She arrived as a freshman with a five-time national title championship in Grappling, a division of the mixed-martial sport she practiced. She is ranked second in the state in her weight class of 118 pounds and came in second in her class at the tournament, and will represent RBR at the March 2nd, North Region State Championship in Atlantic City.
“I had always been a fighter, and when I first came to RBR Coach Ferris found me and I played on the boys wrestling team for the past four years, said Torres.”
Senior and Red Bank resident Bella Ybarra, ranked third in her 136-pound class, joined Torres and has been wrestling with the boys’ team since she was a sophomore. She too practices mixed martial arts practicing kickboxing and jujitsu.
Ybarra said, “At first it was a just a sport to me but eventually it became so much more. It just does something for your self-confidence, not just as a person or a student but as a woman.” She adds, “Some people claim girls shouldn’t wrestle; that it is a boy’s sport, but it is so amazing being here and looking at all these strong women. I feel a kinship with them and they really support you.”
Freshman and Red Bank resident Joanna Jimenez rounds out RBR’s girls’ state tournament participants. A former soccer player, she followed her brother in boxing and now concentrates her efforts in wrestling stating, “I really love it. I just love coming to the matches.”
Pictured above is (l to r) Assistant Girls Wrestling Coach Patrick Tedeschi, wrestlers Joanna Jimenez, Bella Ybarra, Athletic Director Del Dal Pra, wrestler Sheridan Torres, and Girls Wrestling Coach Scott Ferris
“Until this, girl wrestlers’ only option was to wrestle with boys. While they did win matches, when given the opportunity to wrestle other girls it is a lot more exciting. They feel like they have a better shot of winning with girls,” said Assistant Coach Patrick Tedeschi.
With two of its longest participating girl wrestlers graduating this year, RBR is looking forward to future recruits with Tedeschi saying, “We are hoping that successful and fun events like this one will attract girls into the sport and the possibilities it offers.”
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