“Oh, you do wrestling? Why would you do that?”

Lili Alderson often receives that question from friends, classmates and other people.

“I feel like it’s fun and they don’t exactly understand why I would do wrestling,” she said. “And I would try to explain it, but they weren’t exactly understanding still after I explained it to them because they’re like, ‘It’s such a male-dominated sport.’ That’s the hardest thing ... facing people who think only guys can wrestle.”

The Ripon High School junior hopes that in a few years people will say, “Why not wrestling?”

The only female on the Tiger wrestling team is encouraged by the sport’s growth among her gender and is eager to see more opportunities.

“I just started recently noticing that the girls’ wrestling number is growing, and that was because of a friend of mine recommending [I] go to a whole bunch of girls’ wrestling camps,” she said.

In the couple years she has wrestled for an all-girls’ team in Wisconsin, she explained, the number of female wrestlers has expanded. It’s a signal, Alderson believes, that girls’ wrestling is gaining popularity.

That includes possibly having the WIAA start holding individual competitions only for girls — a movement that has gained a considerable amount of backing in the past couple of seasons.

Alderson’s interest in wrestling began in sixth grade, when she lived in Oshkosh.

“I heard about it and I didn’t really know what it was about when friends of mine were talking about it,” she said. “I just went into the meeting and it sounded interesting and then I just got into it.”

She hasn’t looked back since as she’s gone out every year.

Read the full story, which includes information on some of the success she enjoyed this past season, in the March 15, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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