Over forty high school and youth girl wrestlers will be on the road to Iowa City tonight to represent Texas in two national preseason tournaments this weekend. The team, sponsored by the Sisters on the Mat (SOTM) organization, will showcase more than twenty ranked high school wrestlers in nine weight classes, including two defending state champions and two Fargo national champions.
Saturday, the girls will be participating in the Conflict at Carver, at Carver Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus. On Sunday, they travel to Cedar Rapids for the Midwest Mat of Dreams dual meet tournament. Full results will be available at wrestlingtexas.com and on TrackWrestling.
Sisters on the Mat is a non-profit organization founded by Azle girls wrestling coach Monica Allen. According to Allen, “SOTM comes from something that I tried last year with the Azle youth club and my high school girls team and from things that I have been trying to implement over the past 10 years for Texas girls while I was working with TXUSAW.”
Coach Allen described how the program came together last season, “Last year, I linked our youth with my high school team in what we called ‘sisters on the mat’ and it was the best thing I had ever done, I loved it, the littles loved it and the ‘bigs’ really looked forward to it. My high school girls drew a name from a hat and that ‘little’ was their little sister in the mat. My high school girls would go to the youth practices, get them drinks and snack, little trinkets, they would go watch their tournaments, take them to movies. Then our littles would sit on the bench at our home duals, shake the opponents hand, we would showcase our ‘littles’ with matches before our home duals (boys and girls), it was so much fun. I truly believe that this helped keep girls coming back into our club. It’s hard to be a little girl in wrestling, but when they saw that the big girls could do it and had a mentor, they really responded.”
This year, Monica is hoping to grow the SOTM concept state-wide and build up the girls youth programs “through mentorship and sisterhood”.
Monica and the other coaches expressed excitement about this weekend’s team, from across the state of Texas. “The team I am taking up to Iowa already shows heart and dedication to the sport. It is very hard to work when no one else is! To prepare when everyone else is taking a break. That shows a lot of mental toughness as well,” said Allen. “This group, I can already tell without meeting them, is going to be fantastic. I know some of them from past events, but not all. I cannot wait to meet them all personally. We have some hard hitters too, national champs, state champs and all-americans. Then we have some hungry girls, that just love the sport and want to get better and I will be able to watch that in just a couple days of being with them!”
WrestlingTexas will be posting results and photos this weekend from SOTM and all Texas competitors in Iowa. Good Luck to all of our Texas wrestlers.