Season starts with takedown


Nick Powell

Sophomore Emily Semrau (left) shakes hands with opponent before taking the win in the 135 weight category against Joliet Central on Nov. 22.

Dylan Budd, Sports Editor

Girl’s wrestling is the newest IHSA-sanctioned sport offered at North. Though a co-ed wrestling team has existed since North opened in 2005, this is the first year the girls have a dedicated team.

The girls competed in their first meet on Nov. 22 at Joliet Central. 

I thought our girls battled and were competitive in their first competition,” head coach Joby Bodi said. “[I was] excited to watch them continue to compete and grow within the sport.”

North ended up taking two wins in the 135 weight category out of eight matches total. Sophomore Emily Semrau is credited with both wins. 

“It felt great to start off the year with a few wins under my belt,” Semru said. “Those wins are proof that the hard work and dedication that I put in last season and this season seriously paid off.”

With a mix of experienced athletes and newcomers, the seven member team has solid goals for the future. Most athletes are new to the sport.

“With this year being many of the girls’ first season, all I want is for the girls to truly get that competition rush and for them to enjoy their first match and hopefully stick with wrestling for the many seasons to come,” Semrau said.

Semru is the only team member to return from last year’s co-ed team, and she views the new team as a better opportunity for closer competition.

“We are getting our own girls only meet schedule which allows for more fair matches and hopefully more wins,” Semrau said. 

The team allows girls to feel more at ease pursuing a mostly male-dominated sport.  The number of competitors has increased from last year’s participants. 

“I joined the wrestling team prior to the girl’s program being announced, but nonetheless I am excited to see that the sport is growing, and that gender norms are being changed in order to create a more inclusive environment,” sophomore Sarah Anghel said. “I think that a handful of girls have been interested in the sport, but the all-guy environment was a little intimidating, so I’m glad to see that a program has been set in place that will allow for girls to join and feel comfortable in the sport.”

By splitting the wrestling team by gender, male wrestlers are happy to see their peers have the opportunity to compete in their own tournaments and overall be recognized as their own team. 

“I think the new team is a great opportunity for girls to learn how to fight,” junior wrestler Danny Dimartino said. 

Bodi and six assistant coaches rotate between the two teams.

We got approval for the team late this fall which did not really give anyone enough time to get a new coach in and build a schedule,” Bodi said.  “My plan is to have our entire staff as well as myself coach our girls this year.  So far, we have done a great job rotating our coaches around to work with everyone.

Incorporating new athletes and girls from the co- ed team requires a different approach to coaching. The athletes first have to learn the basics of fighting. 

We have some girls that have some experience but not necessarily years of training,” Bodi said. “Right now, we are simply focusing on basics and getting them to understand the sport, positions and technique.” 

The team is looking forward to a season full of learning, growth and teamwork. 

“Watching these girls put everything they have out on the mat and even if they don’t win they still put up a fight,” Semrau said. “Honestly, though, as long as they are having fun that’s all that matters.”