Chase Portaro (email@example.com)
On December 5th, Sydney Bowman ‘22, became the first woman in the history of Ursinus wrestling to earn a victory for her team, and she didn’t stop there. She went on to clinch two more wins, ending the day with a 3-0 record.
Bowman, along with her teammate Laura Bradley ‘25, hope to bring a women’s wrestling program to Ursinus. Currently the team is co-ed, but the recently-launched “Pinning Inequality” campaign seeks to raise enough funds for a women’s program by itself.
Women’s wrestling is new to Ursinus, but Bowman explained, “I started wrestling in third grade. I don’t really know anything different. I’ve been doing this since I was seven.” She added, “I was lucky, and my coaches were very supportive growing up. I didn’t really face too much discrimination – that I was aware of at least– especially when I was younger. But once I got into high school, it was a little different. I was the only person in the locker room, which is nice, but you know it gets a little lonely sometimes. But the biggest thing is strength. It’s very funny– wrestling. I wrestled a lot of matches against guys and only a few matches against girls, and it’s two very different styles of wrestling because we’re strong in different ways.”
She emphasized, “Girls can be just as strong as guys. Guys are usually strong in their arms, but all my strength is in my legs. So you see two different styles, even though it’s the same sport.”
Young wrestlers like Bowman have encouraged other women to try the sport. Bradley said, “I got interested in wrestling when I saw a poster of my high school team with a girl on it. I thought that was cool, so I joined the team.” She explained, “It was definitely tough at first. I was the only girl on my team at the time. But the sport has definitely grown for women, and people are becoming inspired by that.”
Bowman and Bradley have cemented themselves as trailblazers, but they’re far from finished at Ursinus. Bowman added, “I hope it continues to grow. I know plans are in motion for wrestling to continue as a co-ed sport, but hopefully as a women’s program on its own– fingers crossed, of course.”
While Bowman remains hopeful that her efforts will establish a women’s team at Ursinus, the future of the program lies in the hands of the college’s community. On the “Pinning Inequality” campaign’s homepage, wrestling coach Joe Jamison wrote, “While we are working towards that goal, and have the support from our administration, we will need a philanthropic effort from the community to get this off the ground.”
If you want to help make the future of women’s wrestling possible, you can participate in the “Pinning Inequality Pledge.” You can pledge a dollar amount for every pin the wrestling team achieves this season, and all proceeds will go toward starting a women’s wrestling program. According to the website, a donor agreed to fully match the donations if they reached $100,000.
Wrestlers like Bradley and Bowman are counting on community support to make their Ursinus experience the best it can be. Bowman concluded, “It’s great Ursinus is starting with its foot in the door for women’s wrestling, even though we’re co-ed, it’s still great to see the progression of women’s wrestling.”
Bradley ended by saying, “I just hope we get the funding we need to make this happen. And also, to really just make it known to people that women’s wrestling is a thing, and women can wrestle,” with a special emphasis on can.
Bradley is absolutely correct. Women can wrestle, and they will wrestle. It’s up to the Ursinus community to decide if Collegeville, PA will be added to the list of places young women can choose from when deciding where to continue their wrestling and educational careers.