Up Close: Girls wrestling booming in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — Once a real shocker in high school sports, girls wrestling has becoming one of the most popular growing sports in the country. That’s why the season may be over but practice continues for many girls.

Just ask Maria Gomez, who has been at the forefront of girls wrestling in Utah for the past five years.

She was the first woman to sanction an all-girls wrestling club, called Northern Utah Girls Wrestling.

“It’s completely exploded,” Gomez told KSL. “In wrestling, it’s only one person. It’s your ability, and what you put in practice (that determines) what you’re going to get as a result and you can only hold yourself accountable.”

Gomez grew up in a wrestling family of six kids. Her daughter, Trinity, earned All-American honors, winning 18 of her 21 matches this season.

“Every time I go out and wrestle a match against a guy, it’s a fight. I’ve got to be aggressive. I’ve got to be mean, and that’s what I got to do,” Trinity said.

“Wrestling is my sport. It’s my thing,” she said. “I can prove to myself that I am strong and I can be independent, and it makes me feel good about myself and my body.”

Gomez has another title besides “coach.” She’s also Mrs. Layton, and has been preparing to compete for Mrs. Utah later in March. Her platform involves the lessons she’s learned from girls wrestling.

“You don’t need to be a certain weight. You don’t need to be a certain height. You don’t need to have an ability. You need to just be able to not quit,” she said.

Gomez said girls wrestling is about to forever change. Next year, the Utah High School Association is expected to sanction girls wrestling, which means it would become it’s very own sport.

“Yes, I’m so excited. It’s a blessing. Not just for our girls but for families,” said Gomez.

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Dan Rascon


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