Young girls took to the wrestling mat at Homewood-Flossmoor High School as girls wrestling team members gently flipped them, trained with them and became their buddies.
The demonstration was part of the Martin Luther King Day of Service events Jan. 15. The program opened with the visitors meeting up with wrestling team members to make friendship bracelets, followed by the wrestling mat demonstration.
Wrestling team assistant coach Teri Davis welcomed the group and then had three pairs of wrestlers – London Gordy and Nina Hamm, Sofia LoGalbo and Denise Brown, and Ashton Coleman and Jocelyn Williams – demonstrate various moves.
Davis said the wrestlers train for their meets and had the young girls join in a few exercises that are part of their preparations. One exercise is the crawl. Babies crawl on their hands and knees moving forward, but the wrestlers train by doing the crawl with their stomachs up and their motion is moving backwards. Davis paired the visitors with an H-F wrestler and they scrambled across the floor.
Working in pairs, the H-F wrestlers showed their new partner how to properly hold and take down an opponent to the mat. Each step was explained and hand pressure was gently applied to arms and legs to show how to manipulate your partner.
Mirielle Barker brought her 10-year-old daughter, Wren, to the program. Wren already is wrestling with a group in Crete, and Barker said she was excited to see the H-F program because she’ll be coming to H-F in a few years.
Jackie Riffice of the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission made a visit to the H-F wrestling demonstration to thank the H-F students for participating in the MLK Day of Service project. The H-F boys wrestlers project was reading stories to young children.
“I come from an era where high school sports really were not available to women my age. Since then, programs have grown and are so appreciated,” Riffice said. “I also didn’t come from an era where I wanted to roll around and get really sweaty, so I applaud you for your willingness to really put all that effort to work. Thank you for all you do, thank you to your coaches and parents and on behalf of the village of Flossmoor we are so grateful” for participation in the MLK day programs.