Women in the World of Wrestling


Rowan Hesford

Josie Bunce practicing her moves with Craig Mallicoat at the open mats.

As fall sports come to end, Kennedy welcomes the winter season with the new Women’s Wrestling team. Starting the 22-23 school year, a separate women’s team is offered for girls looking to join wrestling.

Craig Mallicoat is the head coach for the team, and he’s been a coach at Kennedy for 18 years. When he started his coaching career, a women’s wrestling team hadn’t been on his radar. Over the years, girls began joining wrestling which eventually sparked the idea to have a separate team.

“My number one goal is to have them enjoy the season…and increase awareness. I want grade school and middle school girls to see this and be like ‘I want to do that,’” said Mallicoat.

As of January, 2022, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) has sanctioned women’s wrestling, giving them the ability to hold state meets. This has been a 5 year battle for the approval of the sport, which is now allowed in 34 states.

The introduction of a separate team has sparked numerous schools and colleges in Iowa to add a women’s team or club to their programs. Which, in turn, allowed for many girls who are new to the sport to join. No matter the skill level of the wrestler, it offers benefits. 

“I’ve gained a lot of discipline from it, and how to really take care of myself. It’s really helped with my self confidence,” said senior wrestler Jacie Bedell.

Official practices started Monday, Oct. 31. Mallicoat and many members look forward to competing with other schools. 

Those who are unsure about joining the sport are encouraged to check out practice in the wrestling room, Monday through Friday after school from 3:20 to 5:20 p.m. and later on, occasional morning practices from 6:00-7:15. Whether you spectate or join in, showing up is the first step to learning if wrestling is right for you.

“If you want to do it, go out and try it. And if you’re not sure, still try it. You don’t have to make any sort of commitment…just at least give it a shot,” said Bedell.