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James Cook: Ladies are going to save wrestling

Feb. 11—This week, Jenna Trubiano shared a story on social media that no female wants to be forced into.

She opened up about an incident in an adult recreational hockey league in which members of the opposing team taunted her for being a woman playing hockey.

It's bad enough that they likely didn't realize she was the University of Michigan women's hockey coach — and even worse if they did.

How small of a man are you to be threatened by someone of a different gender playing your sport? It's difficult to imagine a bigger snowflake than that. It's like being upset that Taylor Swift is at a football game.

Sadly, that's what women in today's sports landscape face every day: Idiot men who think they're better purely because of a small chromosomal difference.

Here's one that may blow their minds: A sport once dominated by males is now being rescued by females.

The young ladies in amateur wrestling right now are going to save the sport.

Even perennially good programs like Gaylord and Kingsley are having trouble finding enough male wrestlers to fill out a full 14-spot lineup these days.

Five of nine Manistee wrestlers are girls, including both of the team's captains. State-ranked Benzie Central has multiple female wrestlers who regularly get into the lineup. Same with Frankfort. Kingsley has five girls on its roster, and Traverse City West even more than that.

Getting a boost from girls joining the sport is what's keeping this majestic endeavor going.

Wrestling is one of the best sports for your child. It is such a teaching and maturation aid, one no other sport can duplicate. Discipline, self-reliance, hard work. There's nobody else on the mat to help you, no timeouts and you have to do everything yourself. You won't be successful at many levels of life without those lessons that wrestling is sure to teach when done right.

Wrestling participation numbers consistently declined from 2010 through 2017. Numbers leveled out for a few years after that, and are now back up nationally — way up.

The sport's national participation broke the 300,000 mark in 2023, a 45-year high, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. A big part of that was nearly 1-in-6 wrestlers were female.

Wrestling witnessed an overall increase of 16 percent since 2021.

Ladies are going to save that.

Follow @Jamescook14 on Twitter.