Ladd brings gender diversity to Central’s wrestling program


courtesy of Athletics Department

Ladd pins her opponent at a wrestling match.

Isabelle Ladd, freshman, is fairly petite compared to an average wrestler; however, that does not stop her from being the only girl on Central’s team. Ladd has been wrestling since she was in fifth grade.

“My step dad was really into wrestling, so he transitioned me into it,” Ladd said.

Ever since then, she has not stopped. Ladd is part of the Illinois Girls Wrestling team, which competes in the same tournaments as boys. It is only natural that she had no hesitation in her continuation in high school.

“I did not want to stop wrestling, and was not scared to continue,” Ladd said. “I knew a lot of people [involved in the team] beforehand, so there was not much of a problem.”

Mr. Dan Jones, who is the Athletic Director, said that this is not the first time there has been a female wrestler, “I am very familiar with girls in wrestling because I have coached girls before. It is a very tough sport, and I think that girls who are able to work and wrestle at that level are to be commended.”

Wrestling, like many sports, takes difficult training and pushes athletes’ stamina, which is something Ladd felt prepared for. But for Ladd, aside from the physical demands, some have wondered what it is like to be on a team with only boys.

“The coaches and my teammates usually treat me the same, even my opponents,” Ladd said. “Sometimes they will go harder on me, but not usually.”

During her freshman season, Ladd has not received any discrimination from her teammates and opponents.

“It’s can be tough on male components because they’re not sure how to react [to female components] because if they lose, there’s a stigma, but if they win, there’s also a stigma that they beat a girl,” Mr. Jones. said.

Being the only girl on the team has drawn some attention to Ladd, but she is not phased.

“My friend told me a lot of people in her class were talking about me, but I didn’t think too much of it,” Ladd said.

Ladd competes in the 113 pound weight class and would describe her season as going pretty well. Ladd is a girl of many talents as she also runs track. Her events are the 200 hundred meter and long jump. Although she suffered from a concussion in the beginning of the season, Ladd plans to continue her wrestling and track career.