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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Webb’s new girls wrestling team prepares for the 2024 league season

Taya Sibichenkova
VWS wrestlers (left to right: Alina Li (‘25), Grace Zhu (‘25), Nancy Chen (‘27) and Evelyn Fu (‘27)) pair up to practice different techniques like takedowns and pins in the wrestling “temple”. Their coach, Rieanna Duncan, emphasizes the importance of tough training so that the athletes are prepared for anything that comes their way in a match. Practices with the team often run up to three hours long, with intense drills, conditioning and team building.

This 2023-2024 winter athletic season marks the first time that Webb has an official female wrestling team. With six girls total —coming from different grades, levels of experience, and backgrounds— the wrestling program welcomes its newest members in a historically male-dominated sport.  

With the spike in VWS interest in Webb’s wrestling program this year, the team is nearly double the size that it was in previous years. The sudden growth may be a result of an influx of new underclassman athletes, and more students —including many girls— showing interest in a wider range of sports; possibly a result of word of mouth “advertising” between students and their friends.  

Because of this unexpected growth and a shifted team demographic, Eric Hansen, Humanities Instructor and wrestling coach, has experimented with different ways to lead practices and other team training activities.  

“I wanted the whole team to practice together,” Mr. Hansen said. “First, I put the girls with the [boys in junior varsity]- before Coach Duncan came.” 

Initially, the team was split in two during practice, with one group consisting of experienced wrestlers and the other of new wrestlers, including some of the VWS students. The two groups would spread out around the upper gym area, working out in the wrestling room, on the field, or even in the trails behind Webb to run. 

In addition to a more complex training regime, the program has added two new coaches. One is Anthony Flucker, who also coaches varsity track and football, and the other is Rieanna Duncan, a former high school wrestling champion.  

Each of the new coaches has a unique style of teaching, and the team has already become familiar with routines such as the infamous “Flucker’s Funhouse”, an intense conditioning workout that always unites the team. 

Even though the team tries to work as a unit as much as possible, Coach Duncan noticed some differences within the girls’ team, which she primarily coaches.  

“Girls are so much more coachable,” Duncan said. “I find that when guys are in combat sports, they want to muscle everything- whereas girls are more in tune to getting the technicalities down.” 

In addition to observing differences in the girls’ technique, Coach Duncan pointed out the perhaps less visible benefits of integrating the girls team.  

“I think that having girls on the team has been good because it shows the others that girls can be just as strong, if not stronger, in so many different ways,” Duncan said. “They are putting in a lot of work, they are getting on the mat and doing the same thing, maybe better than you are. It teaches them to have that respect for when you see a woman on that mat, or a woman in general.” 

The team has been doing a lot of hard work and preparation for the upcoming league meets not only in the main wrestling room and outdoors, but also in the newly renovated House of Pride behind Faculty Field, also known as “the hop”. The building was usually only used to store athletic equipment in the past, but a large space was cleared out over winter break to put a wrestling mat and provide an additional training space for the team.  

As Webb’s wrestling program grows and improves now more than ever, stay tuned for the league meets starting on Thursday, January 11th and continuing to finals and CIF through the end of January and February.  

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About the Contributor
Taya Sibichenkova
Taya Sibichenkova, Chief Editor of News
Taya Sibichenkova’s (‘24) kindness and commitment to bettering the world through medicinal and environmental studies shines throughout every aspect of her life. From dedicating her summer to researching population health alongside graduate scientists, to sharing her passion for nature as a children’s science camp counselor, to creating an independent research proposal on drug repurposing at the Claremont Colleges, Taya’s interest in health is boundless. Partly driven by her selfless, caring personality and ability to think outside the box, Taya knows the importance of a holistic approach to medicine and a health As Chief Editor of News, she is ready to recognize and spread awareness of the issues our world faces, such as her article on the timeline of the Ukraine-Russia war. Yet Taya’s leadership is not just limited to news and science. For two years now, she has served as a welcoming admissions ambassador. When Taya isn’t busy being a real-life superhero, she enjoys brewing kombucha, knitting, watching sci-fi movies, and playing the guitar. This year, Taya is excited to bring her interests in health sciences and environmental justice to the newsroom and beyond.       Song: Heat Above – Greta Van Fleet

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