Wrestling Team Grows as Girls Step onto the Mat in Record Numbers


Courtesy of Cory Apps

Captain Jae Reavis wins against a Herdon wrestler at the first match of her season

Wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports at Falls Church over the past two years. Falls Church holds the record in FCPS for having the most girls on the wrestling team for both junior varsity and varsity teams.

“I’m happy that we have such a large team, in comparison to what we used to have two years ago. We only had eight kids on the roster. Now we have 34. We have 10 girls on the team, which is super exciting,” said head coach Cory Apps. “We have the largest team with the most girls, I know within the region and probably within the state, or close to one of the top five teams in the state.”

With the majority of the team being freshman and sophomores, FC wrestling has gone a long way this season, making regionals and even sending one wrestler to the state tournament. Captain George Lynch (10) had the opportunity to continue leading his team into victory by continuing his season competing at states on February 17th.

Excitement and willingness have been the strengths of this year’s team. Supporting and pushing each other to the max allowed them to get this far in the season. With their bonding and chemistry, they all have one another. The support they have within the team led them to accomplishing their goals.

Team captains Joaquin Panduro (12), George Lynch (10), Anson Nguyen (10), Maliha Baig (10) and Jae Reavis (10) are the more experienced wrestlers on the team, who support and encourage the newer members. “‘As captain, I help lead and support the wrestlers by encouraging them and cheering them on. I also give the wrestlers tips on how to improve and make sure they’re always trying their best,” said captain Jae Reavis (10). 

The athletes treat each other like family, pushing and competing with each other on the mat and at practice, helping each other become the best they can be. “The amount of girls we had this year was amazing. All of the girls are so inspiring and encouraging. I love our girl’s team and I am so excited for the future.” said Maliha Baig (10).

But with the number of girls this year, their approach is different. The girls are treated just like the boys, showing that they wanted to try a rough sport. “They don’t show up thinking that the guy should go easy on them. From day one, I tell the team like, we have a lot of girls here. And I told the girls, don’t expect me to be easy on you. I told the guys you need to wrestle them like they’re a wrestler, not like they’re a girl, which I think has really shined a lot of light,” said Coach Apps.

Though the girls wrestled the other guys on the team in practice, at matches, they would sometimes face a school with girls on the team for them to wrestle. If a school did not have girls on their team, then the FC girls would wrestle the guys from the opposing school. But this year the VHSL, which is the state organization that determines rules for school athletics, has said that they will be adding women’s wrestling in an “emerging sports status.” This will mean there is a three-year window for girls to join wrestling to make a girls wrestling category which would allow girls to compete against other girls.

The three-hour practices after school are where the team puts in the effort to become the best they can be and show that they are worth being one of the top schools in the region. But for the girls, their main challenge has been competing against their own team members to show the coaches they’re ready to be the best they can be and prove to themselves that they are ready. It is hard to compete in male dominated sport however wrestling is a sport I really love and nothing can get in the way,”said Baig.

Wrestling focuses on conditioning and determination to win.The coaches encourage all grade levels to come and show what they are capable of for next year’s season.

“If you give me two weeks, you will find out whether or not wrestling is for you. And that’s kind of been my sales pitch”, said Apps  “And when people give me that two weeks, and they’re are like ‘wrestling is not for me,’ that’s okay. And at least I know, they actually tried versus people that show up for like a day and then they dip out.”

“The wrestling girls are very determined and hard working. I’ve noticed that out of the many wrestlers we started off with, little to no girl quit and I massively respect each of them for sticking through the hard times.” said captain Joaquin Panduro (12). The girls also excel in supporting the team when needed. Both the female wrestlers and managers have been a significant part of FCHS wrestling team.”