Any sport is competitive, but imagine playing a sport where you are immediately misjudged. Kaitlyn Rodriguez ’22 is the only female on the Middle School Wrestling team, and has been wrestling at All Saints’ for two years. Kaitlyn was State Champion in her division last year, and placed 3rd this year.
“Honestly, I was scared to [see] how the boy’s would react to me being the only girl on the team,” Rodriguez said.
She went on to say that “the boys are very supportive and friendly…they help [give] me confidence.”
Coach Gaul started the wrestling program at All Saints’ 10 years ago and told The Modern Saint that the Middle School team was lucky to have such a talented leader.
“In the state of Texas, female wrestling is starting to become more popular,” Coach Gaul said. “Many public schools have female teams. I was very excited to have a female on the team, but I was a bit worried about how she would mesh with the rest of the team.”
Kaitlyn has had two great practice partners who were respectful and wrestled her every day. In addition to being the sole female on the All Saints’ team, she is often times the only girl participating in tournaments. Despite two successful wrestling seasons, she is sometimes denied permission to participate in matches, simply because she’s a female.
Still, Kaitlyn has remained steady and determined.
“She [still] brought her gear to each tournament and warmed up with the team,” Coach Gaul said. “She stayed and supported her teammates without complaint.”
Kaitlyn spoke of how other schools dismiss her because she’s female, and that girls wrestling is not what they would consider “correct.”
“I think it is unfair,” Kaitlyn said. “If the boys and I are in the same weight class, we should be able to wrestle.”
Coach Gaul noted how encouraging his team was to Kaitlyn when they traveled to the State Tournament.
“The All Saints’ boys were all gathered around Kaitlyn, standing with her in support while she waited to see if other teams would dismiss or allow her to compete,” Coach Gaul said.
He went on to say that it was a great example of “Protecting the Family.”
The wrestling season may be over for this year, but the team finished strong, and the All Saints’ Upper School Wrestling Team will be in good hands next year as Kaitlyn enters her first year of high school.