On Wednesday, the Tullahoma High School girls wrestling team held its inaugural free beginners wrestling camp for girls at the Old West gymnasium.
“We have girls from all over,” said THS Head Coach Jenna Morris. “We have girls from Summit, girls from Coffee County, some Franklin County and some from Tullahoma. Our main goal is to raise awareness for girls wrestling to help grow the sport.”
In total, 23 girls came out of to the free camp, as they were introduced to the sport of wrestling for the first time. While Morris was on hand to help lead the clinic, several Lady Wildcats were also on hand helping the squad.
“It’s great to have the high school girls here,” Morris said. “I gave them a lecture before we started that these little girls are going to look up to them. They are going to be their idol. Those girls are going to say, ‘I want to be just like Jane Allen or I want to be like Katy Champion.’ They look up to them, so it’s amazing to have them on hand.”
While it serves a good opportunity for the younger kids, Morris also added that it’s also beneficial to the current Lady Wildcats. For the high school wrestlers, it gives them the opportunity to spread their knowledge.
“It’s also really good for the high schoolers because they learn how hard it is to teach the sport,” Morris said. “But, if they know it well enough to teach it, then they know it.”
During the camp, Morris said she just wanted to introduce the basics to the younger girls. According to the Lady Wildcats’ head coach, some of those girls picked things up and were having fun on the mats.
“At the beginning, some of them didn’t know what to think about it,” Morris said. “They said their knees hurt and some of the smaller ones cried a bit. But, we talked about being tough. I knew that we were going to have to go really slow, but I learned that we were going to have to take a break and play some games to entertain them.”
One of big key things for Morris was making the camp free. According to her, she feels that parents are more likely to give their daughters a chance at the sport if they are able to get a free first-hand look at the sport.
“The hardest part about girls wrestling is convincing the parents to let them wrestle,” Morris said. “So, with it being free, it’s an opportunity for us to keep them all day during the summer. So the biggest thing is to just showcase what we do.
“A lot of times, when people try it, they found out that they like it. So, if these little girls go home and say ‘I really like it, I really like it,’ moms and dads will sign them up for kids clubs and let them wrestle.”
While this is the first-ever free camp that the Lady Wildcats offered, Morris said she’s optimistic to make it a yearly free summer camp. She also noted that also she really wants to see an elementary league form in the near future.