Women’s wrestling club takes off

The women’s wrestling club is up and running, and looking for new members.

It was late afternoon when women started to enter the wrestling room for the first practice. Scared and excited all at the same time, the nerves were evident as the first practice about to commence. 

For some not familiar with the gym, it was like a maze trying to find the wrestling room. For others, like Samantha Hallock, it was like a normal walk in the park. 

Hallock, a freshman here at Castleton majoring in early childhood and special education, is the coach of the women’s wrestling club. She has worked hard to make this club happen because wrestling is a passion of hers. 

“I’ve been wrestling since first grade. I started at Vergennes area youth wrestling club and then I went into high school, where I wrestled for their varsity team. I got into it because my brothers wrestled and my dad was a couch, and it was just something a lot of my family members did,” she said. 

She made this club because it’s her passion and she wishes to help teach others the ways of wrestling. She said wrestling is not just about weight training, it’s way more than that.

“The only thing that I want people to get out of this is it’s a new experience and that there is something that they can try. You are never going to fail at this, because you can succeed in any type of way. This is such a good thing for your mental health, your physical health and just your overall character building in general,” she said. 

When Hallock was in elementary school she came to the wrestling clubs held on Castleton’s campus. She fondly remember the experiences.

“I always talked to coach Legacy about having a team here, and he had said something about that when I was younger and how he was really trying to, but he needed people to start it, and so I am the one who started it,” she said. 

Making the club has been hard, but Hallock is making it work, in part because of help from Coach Scott Shaddock from the Fair Haven High School wrestling team. 

“He’s retiring this year and he is helping me as one of the coaches and the hardest challenge for me was figuring out the difference between freestyle and folkstyle wrestling, because since first grade I have been wrestling folkstyle and it definitely has been a challenge.” she said. 

Hallock and Shaddock are hoping by next semester to go to a couple of tournaments for the women to compete in. 

“Even if we are not a team, we still will be going to tournaments as a team. There were three that we were looking at, so that was exciting and also we are partnering with Rudess, which is a wrestling brand, so hopefully that will help the team grow having our merch on and wrestling club and stuff like that,” she said. 

Coach Shaddock was enthusiastic when Hallock asked if he would like to help coach the women’s wrestling club. Shaddock just retired from coaching for 32 years, having coached lacrosse, junior high football and wrestling. And he said he has been wrestling since he was 9.

“Couldn’t get out of it. Four boys and an older brother got me into the sport, mom and dad bought a mat and put it in the garage and that’s kind of how the boys got out their frustrations, their energy. We just traveled around the east coast wrestling,” he said. 

Shaddock’s kids all wrestled as well. His three daughters are managers of teams now. Wrestling has just always been in his family, so getting this chance to come back out and help coach alongside Hallock was exciting for him. 

“I love this sport. This sport is really about family and pretty much Samantha came and asked me I said absolutely,” he said. 

The biggest thing is “There is no pressure on anyone that if you come to practice you have to compete, no. The biggest thing is to have fun. If you’re not having fun, why am I doing it?” Shaddock said. 

Dorianne Lebanese, another experienced wrestler, was also offering words of encouragement for those who might be interested in trying wrestling. 

“Don’t be afraid to come up to any of us and ask us ‘hey what do you do? What is wrestling? When do you do it? Can I come?’” she said. “We are extremely open to anyone new that wants to come and do it. We promise it is not that bad. It’s actually super fun and it has a lot more benefits than you think it does, and it could end up being the one sport you end up doing even after college just for fun.”

Lebanese is a freshman graphic design major and is ecstatic that this club has started because she hasn’t wrestled since her freshman year of high school because of health reasons. But like Hallock, Lebanese also grew up around wrestling. 

“I started wrestling in kindergarten due to my dad coaching elementary and high school,” she said. 

Lebanese helps manage the men’s wrestling team at Castleton and because of this, she heard right away when Hallock pitched the idea. Coach Legacy wanted them to meet up but, it took some time because of other commitments. 

“I wasn’t able to meet with her, but I know how to help out in different ways by making posters and helping design things for the club. So, I am really happy to be able to do that and at least get to be a part of it. I think it is really well put together and Sam is doing an amazing job with coaching. Even though we are pretty new to freestyle, I think she is doing a really great job at learning it then coming and teaching us how to do it,” she said.

Sharon Asolmia Aganah a sophomore studying health science pre-med, has never wrestled before – until now. 

“It was a new experience for me and I used to be an athlete, not at Castleton, but I used to play soccer for six years. And since I came to Castleton, I haven’t done anything remotely close to like working out or exercise, so I miss the being on a team and doing some kind of sport. So, when I saw the wrestling club I thought it could be a fun thing to try so here we are,” she said. 

Aganah has been loving it so far. 

“So far, it’s fun. I mean you get to flip people around and that’s cool, and I’m getting the workout in. It’s a really cool and tough workout and I love it. If anyone is looking for a workout this is definitely something they should try,” she said. 

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