Girls soccer, wrestling create new teams

Female+athletes+Shi+Ross%2C+Daphine+Samayoa+and+Natalie+Talent+are+members+of+the+first+all-girls+soccer+team.+PHS+is+also+adding+girls+wrestling.+
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Girls soccer, wrestling create new teams

Female athletes Shi Ross, Daphine Samayoa and Natalie Talent are members of the first all-girls soccer team. PHS is also adding girls wrestling.

Female athletes Shi Ross, Daphine Samayoa and Natalie Talent are members of the first all-girls soccer team. PHS is also adding girls wrestling.

Photo by: Francisco Castaneda

Female athletes Shi Ross, Daphine Samayoa and Natalie Talent are members of the first all-girls soccer team. PHS is also adding girls wrestling.

Photo by: Francisco Castaneda

Photo by: Francisco Castaneda

Female athletes Shi Ross, Daphine Samayoa and Natalie Talent are members of the first all-girls soccer team. PHS is also adding girls wrestling.

Story by Keith Perkins, Reporter

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On July 11, the USD 250 Board of Education voted to approve the addition of a girls’ soccer team. For the 2019-2020 year, the athletic department will be establishing separate boys and girls wrestling and soccer teams. 

“Three years ago, when I came here, I thought it was odd that we didn’t [have separate boys and girls teams]. Where I came from, everybody had a separate boys and girls soccer program,” activities director Jeff Staley said. “So when I found out that we were co-ed, I honestly raised the question with myself, started looking into it, and I found out that there was interest on our girls’ side, to have their own program, I then went ahead and pursued it.”

I found out that there was interest on our girls’ side, to have their own program, I then went ahead and pursued it.”

— Jeff Staley

The process of surveying interest began with girls playing for the co-ed team. 

“I talked to the girls who were a part of the co-ed program, all of them at that time were unanimous that they would have loved to have their own program,” said Staley. 

Junior Natalie Talent has been playing soccer since second grade and spent her first two seasons as a part of the co-ed program. She began looking for a local school with a girls’ team, in the hope of consolidating. Having failed to find a program, she went to Staley. It was established that there were players interested, and the idea was brought to the school board. 

“We went to the (school) board meeting at the end of the summer, actually sat in on it, and they brought it up. [I proposed the idea] and they said yes,” said Talent. “It does make a way for other people, other girls, to play soccer in the future. So I’m fine with taking a hit, not going to playoffs and stuff like that for it to be open to other people.” 

Natalie Talent”

— “It does make a way for other people, other girls, to play soccer in the future.

In addition to soccer, wrestling had also been co-ed until this year. The state of Kansas decided that all programs would make the transition to separate girls’ and boys’ divisions.

“There was a growing interest in girls wrestling. We found throughout the whole state that there were more and more girls going out for wrestling,” said Staley “So the state decided to create a separate state championship for girls. And that’s when all the schools who have wrestling divided up into two different genders.”

The girls’ and boys’ season will take place at the same time and as of now, they will practice together, according to wrestling coach LC Davis. 

Junior Rebeccah Jones was the only female wrestler on the team last year, and in her two previous seasons, competed mostly against male wrestlers. She is excited this year to wrestle in female competition and feels that wrestling against boys has helped prepare her for other competition. 

“I had to push myself harder competing against (boys),” Jones said. “I’d say they gave me a bit of an advantage on learning how much I can push myself.”

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