The Student News Site of Perry Meridian High School


The Student News Site of Perry Meridian High School


The Student News Site of Perry Meridian High School


The rise of Falcon’s girls wrestling

Damian Davis
The girls wrestling team cheers on a teammate during their meet against Southport on December 6.

Perry Meridian has long been known for its wrestling teams. With both team and individual successes to the tune of four team state championships, seven runner-up finishes and 15 individual state champions, the boys have been recognized as one of the best programs in the state. While the boys program has a long standing tradition, a girls team was a more recent initiative.

The hard work of head boys wrestling coach Matt Schoettle and athletic director Emily Steinmetz came to a head in 2022. Perry had its first girls wrestling team.

“There’s other states that had girls teams three, four, five years ago… The biggest thing for us would be, I really wanted it and Mrs. Steinmetz really wanted it, so I think that’s what got us rolling,” Schoettle said.

Before there was an all-female team, there was Bella Osterhoudt. It would be an easy argument to say she led the charge for change. Osterhoudt was the only girl on the wrestling team before the formation of the new squad. “I wanted something that would push me and get me out of my comfort zone,” Osterhoudt said.

She did not just get out of her comfort zone, she thrived out of it and found herself as a leader on the team. She has witnessed the team grow, by both numbers and skill.
“It’s really nice. I get very happy because it started out with just me and now we have like 20 girls on the team. It’s just really nice to see other girls wanting to push themselves and their teammates,” Osterhoudt said.

Junior Kate McKee is one of those girls who wanted to push herself. Joining the team this year, McKee has quickly become one of the highlights of the team. “It’s fun to meet new people and it’s a good workout,” she said, “It’s a newly developed thing. So it’s like by joining, it was helping make the program better and bigger so that more people would start joining.”
Recruiting for the team has stayed a constant effort. “Just [join the team] because you find a new sense of confidence in yourself,” Osterhoudt said.
The team’s growth has been drastic in the last year and Schoettle said it has everything to do with the girls in the room. “Last year we had maybe seven or eight come to practice, we had 21 [on December 4] come to practice,” he said, “I think these girls do it themselves. It’s fun to watch them cheer each other on because you don’t see that all the time with the boys… I would say it’s all them. They deserve a lot of credit.”

The numbers continue to grow along with the team atmosphere. “This year the team is a lot more collaborative and more cohesive. Even though we are winning a lot more this year, placing higher, but other than that, we are more of a team than what I saw last year. It’s just more team behavior,” McKee said.
Although when the lights come on, wrestling is an individual sport, McKee said wrestling is a very team-heavy sport. McKee, who also is a part of the track and field team, said wrestling is a more team-focused sport than track and field or other teams she has been a part of.

“I feel like wrestling, you really do depend on your teammates. Obviously you’re going to have a drill partner there, if your partner isn’t there, you’re going to have to drill with other people. So it’s very much so like you’re there to support your team and help your teammates,” McKee said.
The goal for the future of the program is clear. Schoettle wants the girls to reach the same heights the boys have achieved. “[I wish] to give every girl an opportunity to compete at wrestling because I think it’s a great sport. Also, to make this girls team as successful as our boys team has been the last 25 years, and we’re moving in that direction,” Schoettle said.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All FOCUS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *