Saegertown’s first space college helps women wrestling as the game beneficial properties traction within the state | Native sport

Wrestling tradition runs deep in Crawford County, and till just lately it was a sport for boys, however not anymore.

Saegertown Excessive College’s Steve Scott Gymnasium will host the Saegertown women wrestling group this winter as the varsity is the final within the state to determine a women wrestling program.

At its April 7 assembly, the PENN-CREST College Board accepted the “institution, assist and funding of the Saegertown Excessive College Ladies Wrestling Crew.” The board confirmed Melissa Bartholomew as head coach on the June 23 assembly.

The group is seeking to construct on final yr’s momentum for the Crawford Wrestling Membership, a women wrestling membership in Saegertown. This allowed women from the county to compete towards different women, the primary time this chance had been provided within the area. With a group sponsored by Saegertown College, the membership will now be on the sidelines.

First yr head coach

A 1994 Saegertown graduate, Bartholomew takes the reins in this system’s inaugural season with a wealth of wrestling expertise.

His father, Douglas Luikart, was the longtime coach of the Saegertown Panthers.

“Wrestling has been a lifelong factor. Rising up, my dad was a coach. He wrestled in highschool, then coached my brother and a variety of Saegertown children,” Bartholomew mentioned. “He truly coached the present head coach, Jimmy Mulligan. I used to be all the time on the mat with them as a result of I liked it.

“Final yr, they requested me to be the assistant coach of the women’ wrestling membership. I assume you may say that wrestling is in my blood. That is what I do know.”

Step one for a rookie head coach is to assemble a training workers. Luikart mentioned he would assist Bartholomew alongside along with his son Dawson. Dawson, 21, is a present PIAA wrestling official and wrestled for Saegertown a number of years in the past.

“It is actually going to be a household factor,” Bartholomew mentioned.

Crew constructing

With the teaching workers in place, Bartholomew will deal with the group itself.

He’s anticipating a number of women again from final yr’s membership. He has additionally been heard by a number of people who find themselves serious about becoming a member of this system.

“We’ve got some women which have a fundamental understanding of wrestling,” Bartholomew mentioned. “Additionally there are a pair who’ve wrestled the blokes becoming a member of us so that may be good too. They are often mentors to the brand new women who haven’t got a variety of expertise.

For the reason that program is formally sanctioned by the varsity, not all women within the county can take part within the group. It’s open to all college students within the PENNCREST College District. There may be additionally a co-op choice for college students who attend Meadville Space Excessive College or Conneaut Space Senior Excessive College, Bartholomew mentioned.

“If anybody is , highschool by twelfth grade,” Bartholomew mentioned. “If they’re and dwell in PENNCREST, CASH or Meadville, they’ll electronic mail me ( or look me up on Fb and I’ll give them the knowledge.”

Rising the game

Saegertown is the 54th college within the state to supply a women wrestling program. When that quantity reaches 100, it turns into an official PIAA sport.

Sanction PA, a corporation devoted to creating women wrestling a PIAA sport, helps faculties throughout the state change into school-sponsored applications.

Bartholomew mentioned the game is on observe to be sanctioned by the PIAA subsequent yr, in accordance with Sanction PA.

Ladies, in the meantime, have extra wrestling choices as a result of it is not an official PIAA sport. A number of women in the identical weight class can compete in a group.

“Most ladies’ groups haven’t got a full weight record. Since we’re not PIAA, if now we have three women at 132, all three of them get to wrestle. That method they get mat expertise,” Bartholomew mentioned. “I believed that was a fantastic side of this system. They need all these women to have the ability to wrestle.

Saegertown is one in every of three District 10 faculties to sanction a group, the opposite two being Seneca and Mercer. Many of the groups in Pennsylvania are within the japanese a part of the state. District 7 leads the seven-team battle within the western a part of the state.

“It is fairly neat to see it come full circle and a privilege to step into a training position, particularly for the women,” Bartholomew mentioned. “It is one thing I by no means thought would ever occur. I’d have liked to do it, be part of the women wrestling program.

New territory

As highschool women wrestling continues to develop in recognition, so does faculty women wrestling. Gannon College added women wrestling in 2018 and is the one college within the space with this system.

“Wrestling is usually a boy factor, however what a chance for ladies to step into the limelight and take a look at one thing new. There’s an enormous name for it in schools. Ladies get full rides or half scholarships to wrestle and pay for his or her training, which is superb,” mentioned Bartholomew. is one other alternative for younger ladies to point out that they’re robust and may wrestle.

“A few of the women final yr did not understand it was doable. As a result of it is new to them, it is new territory for schools as increasingly women are stepping into wrestling.

Olivia Kinder, who just lately graduated from Meadville and wrestled for the Crawford Wrestling Membership, has dedicated to wrestle at Delaware Valley College subsequent yr.

“Even when it is one thing they do not need to do in faculty, it brings with them the sort of character and friendliness and progress that they carry with them for the remainder of their lives,” Bartholomew mentioned. “I’m honored to proceed to nurture women in wrestling and to be part of this system. The love of wrestling runs deep in my household and I am unable to wait to share it with the women.

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