Women’s wrestling is now a sanctioned sport; here’s what changed

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Now with proper funding, women’s wrestling look to build of their strong tournament last year. Coach Sadie Morales (left) and Doc Apodaca (right) are set on winning the state title. Photo by Oliver Rivera.

The old women’s wrestling club had to pay admission fees to participate in wrestling tournaments. They had to carpool to their meets since they did not have a van to fit everyone. 

Coach Donald Apodaca would pay out of his pocket for the tournaments. He made sure the women’s team had opportunities that he felt they deserved. 

Despite being considered a club, Las Doñas competed in tournaments, since they were invited. Last year, in the inaugural Cypress State Tournament, Santa Ana College women’s wrestlers placed in their respective weight classes. Six out of seven wrestlers placed in the tournament. Wrestlers Evelyn Lozano and Kaylee Enriquez got third place in their respective weight class.

They did this as a club and not as a sanctioned team. 

After just being previously recognized as a club at SAC, the women’s wrestling club has now become an officially sanctioned team. 

Now, with proper school funding, the women’s wrestling team has the opportunity to participate in tournaments as well as compete against other community colleges individually. Coach Apodaca won’t pay out of his pocket anymore. 

They are also going to get access to the school’s van for transportation to any tournament or match. Las Doñas also have gotten brand new uniforms.

“Since we are now recognized as a team, the school supports us more,” said Apodaca. “Now we have funding and we can also raise money as a team.”

The coaches and the wrestlers were thrilled when SAC’s athletic director, Mary Hegarty, broke the good news. 

“I was excited when I heard we are finally an official team. I have been here since 2021, so this has been a long time coming,” said sophomore wrestler Jade Morales. “It’s still a little surreal to me, I tell myself, ‘Are you sure?”’

Their season starts in March, so this early news provides a huge morale boost prior to their first tournament.

“It is really good news for the students that wrestle and also for students who are in here just for self-defense,” said Apodaca. “It is a way to get them in physical condition and find success here.” 

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With the news of being officially sanctioned, Las Donas hope their recruitment and general recognition will increase. 

“For recruiting it is difficult for us since at first we were just a club, but now since we are officially a team and the administration is backing us, it will make it better.” said assistant coach Sadie Morales. “It will attract more students, or anyone, to come join us since we are legit now.”

Wrestlers were hesitant at first to join because most of them did not feel like joining a club. When the coaches brought up the possibility of becoming a team, they weren’t convinced yet to join because it was still in the process.

“You should come wrestle at SAC, we are starting a women’s team and people would ask us, ‘Are you actually going to?’” said Morales.

Women’s wrestling is an emerging trend. The sport isn’t on the California Community College Athletic Association website yet, but fans can see it on sacdons.com.

Participating athletes are required to hold a 2.0 GPA and have at least 12 minimum credits. 

When their season starts, Las Doñas have their eyes on a state championship. 

“I want to make a big statement that will put my name out there as well as my teams and prove to people that we can do it,” said sophomore wrestler Itzia Rivera. “But on a personal level I want to win that state championship.”

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