Co-ed wrestling team gears up for upcoming season


Stella Pavao

At practice, athletes pair up with one another to wrestle as Coach Ricardo Garcia circles the mat and gives critiques on form.

As the leaves are changing, so are the sports seasons at Carlmont. One of the many Carlmont sports teams preparing for the start of their season is co-ed wrestling

With their first match coming up in late November, coaches are excited for the biggest wrestling team Carlmont has seen in four years. 

“That’s what I’m most excited about. That’s what gets me down here at the end of a long day of teaching,” said Ricardo Garcia, a head coach of the Carlmont wrestling team who doubles as a Spanish teacher. “That’s what gets me excited about going to practice.”

The enthusiasm doesn’t stop there. New wrestlers are eager to start their wrestling careers at Carlmont. 

“I feel excited because I have a lot to learn. My dad did wrestling, and it sounded like a fun sport,” said sophomore Kiva Rutenberg, a first-time wrestler.


More experienced athletes like Jayden Kollmann are also looking forward to returning for another season. Kollmann is a third-year Carlmont wrestler and one of three female wrestlers in the program. She has proved gender does not affect the sport through her experience wrestling on a co-ed team.

“I think that there’s a lot of stereotypes that women are less strong than male wrestlers […], but I mean, the women on our team are almost as strong or stronger than the guys on our team,” Kollmann said.

This year, she also introduced her friend Alex Flood to the wrestling team, who came prepared to compete alongside her male counterparts.

“I can see why people would be uncomfortable, but I went into it knowing that there would be a lot of contact, and I know that if something were to happen, the coaches would take action because I feel safe around the coaches,” Flood said.

Even though Carlmont has seen female wrestlers before, the wrestling industry has room for improvement to make the sport more accessible to women.

“The wrestling shoes I bought are the first women’s wrestling shoes available at all. Before, they were just co-ed, so it’s like a really new thing,” Flood said.

In addition to buying new equipment, the wrestlers have to make many lifestyle changes with the start of the new season. 

“I feel like with any athlete, they want to focus on their health and being in the best shape possible so they can compete well. That was probably the biggest change for me was just like, eating better and eating what’s right for my body, and then consistency as well,” Kollmann said.

Diet and exercise adjustments have to be made, but coaches remain determined to keep the student-athletes safe from eating disorders by promoting healthy habits.

“We are going to start checking their weight once a week, and we can clearly see if people are losing [weight] because we have records of what they’re weighing every week. So that’s one way we can try to control the eating and make it safe,” Garcia said.

The wrestlers can attest that the environment the coaches provide offers them an opportunity to develop responsible and safe habits.

“If you go into wrestling with the wrong mindset, then I guess you can develop an eating disorder, but with the coaches we have right now, they really enforce a healthy mindset regarding food and just fueling our bodies, so all of our wrestlers are healthy,” Kollmann said.

Besides the medals that they get at the tournaments, it’s about building a nice team environment, winning a few matches, learning some good habits like eating, proper hygiene, and being a dependable teammate.”

— Coach Ricardo Garcia

Athletes are learning more about integrity and sportsmanship while wrestling on this team. The coaches hope that these principles benefit the wrestlers both on and off the mat. 

“Besides the medals that they get at the tournaments, it’s about building a nice team environment, winning a few matches, learning some good habits like eating, proper hygiene, and being a dependable teammate,” Garcia said.

These lessons could also take them to a more competitive level. Wrestling plays a huge role in sports entertainment, as it serves as a foundation for some of the world’s most popular sports.

“It’s the number one sport that leads to MMA and professional fighting right now,” Garcia said. “The number one fighting sport in the world right now is UFC, and their top recruits are college wrestlers.”

The coaches keep these opportunities in mind when coaching their athletes. However, the athletes themselves are just happy with being surrounded by a supportive community each day at practice.

“I think [building relationships] is going to be really easy. Sports is your family,” Rutenburg said.