There is no doubt that student-athletes, no matter the sport, sign up for a great deal of effort. From early mornings in the weightroom during pre-season, to numerous hours spent after school participating in practices and representing Marian during their matches, student-athletes put in the work. But what are student-athletes meant to do when they are displaced, and how does this affect team performance and morale?
This is the Marian wrestling team’s lived experience. The up and coming powerhouse that is Marian’s wrestling program had an unlikely start. When the team formed last year, their practice space consisted of four walls, cheer mats and two squared circle mats. Along with this, their season coincided with Marian’s basketball program resulting in a lack of gymnasium space for the wrestling team until as late as 5:30 p.m. The girls would spend upwards of three hours battling carpet burn and unwanted spectators only to get home from practice at 9 p.m. with schoolwork left to complete. Through these trials the team was successful, finishing their first season third out of 25 teams in districts, and having two of their wrestlers compete at the state level.
This tenacity has carried forward into the 2022-23 season, and it has paid off. This year the Marian wrestling program was given a space that they can call home. They now have the Encore building to practice in. Though it remains officially unnamed, the new wrestling center is not unloved. The center provided the girls on the team with “a space that they could call their own,” Coach Ms. Lauren Barefoot said. Barefoot recalled when first stepping foot into the center the team resembled “A kid on Christmas Day, wide eyed and somewhat emotional.” This sentiment was shared by senior Persephone Prochaska stating that the center “had an extremely positive impact on the team, allowing the athletes to bond with one another while participating in the sport we love.” For many of the girls the team feels like a family and as Coach Barefoot put it, “What is family without a home?”
This is just the beginning for the Marian Wrestling program and their newfound home. With the new center comes the opportunity to have flexible practice times and to personalize a space of their own. That means no more wrestling on cheer mats and no more carpet burn. Additionally, the center allows for the expansion of a growing program that is developing “committed athletes” who have “bought into the sport of wrestling and the team culture that Coach Barefoot has established” stated Marian’s Athletic Director Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs.
The team holds an impressive dual competition record of 6-1 and is on track to a successful district competition in the coming weeks.