“First practice, I got there and I was like ‘Man, this is fun’

After South Sioux City added girls wrestling to their athletics, it’s been slowly picking up steam.

“There was one other girl that joined with me, and we both just fell in love with it,” said South Sioux City senior wrestler Hope Rose. “And next thing you know it went from two to seven. And who knows what it’ll be next year.

This past season the Cardinals finished third at the state championships with an individual winner and coach Evan Bohnet thinks it’s only going to get better.

“All but three of them had never wrestled before,” said South Sioux City head coach Evan Bohnet. “They’re brand new, first year wrestlers. And to see the growth from that first day of practice to the last day of the state meet is remarkable.”

Part of that success is because of how close this group has become over the year.

“We just connnected in a way that I’ve never experienced,” said South Sioux City junior wrestler Arididia Zamora. “Some of the girls are quiet, some of them are louder but it just works well together. We’re all around the mat when someone is wrestling. We’re cheering them on. We’re always there for each other.”

“I would describe it as unbreakable,” said Rose. “We’re still all talking every day, all of us.”

And it looks like the team will keep on growing, as more and more girls are showing interest in the sport.

“People come up to me and say ‘Oh I want to join but I’m scared’ and I say don’t be scared just try it,” said Rose.

“Some other girls came up to me and said ‘That looks so fun, I love it,'” said Zamora. “‘I love seeing you all out on the mat. It encourages and inspires us.'”

After adding five new wrestlers from last year to this year, the expectation is the team will have even more wrestlers next year.