ELANs to participate in fall season with other community colleges
By Kevin Camargo
East Los Angeles College will rebuild the Women’s Wrestling Club for the fall season with the cooperation of other California community colleges.
“All 21 colleges that have wrestling in the California community colleges have made a commitment to having a (women’s) club team,” head coach Ralph Valle said.
“Our goal is to have at least 10 girls on our team this year. So far we have four committed to come here. That’s pretty good, actually, for this time of year.”
Assistant coach Miguel Soto said that there is currently no women’s wrestling at junior colleges.
“We’re going to compete this year. We’re going to have [our] clubs compete with clubs from other junior colleges,” Soto said.
ELAC has had the Women’s Wrestling Club since the ’70s, Valle said, but they have had girls off and on the team.
“In fact, we were one of the first programs in 1995 to actually have girls wrestle, and I had two in those days,” Valle said.
Valle said that he has had four women wrestlers in the last 30 years he has coached at ELAC. Two in the ’90s and two in the recent five years.
“Now we are making a concerted effort because we have something to offer them,” Valle said. “Now we’re actually saying to them ‘we have something for you. We have other schools that have girls teams.’”
The club will have an unofficial state tournament in the fall to get it started, as well as as participation in “The Brawl” — the wrestling tournament hosted at ELAC.
The wrestling matches will remain collegiate style.
“I believe women’s high school wrestling has been the fastest growing sport in the last three years. So there’s definitely tons of high school females who are looking to wrestle in college,” Soto said.
“We want to provide them that opportunity here at East LA.”
Lisset Rivera, a senior at Bell Gardens High School, plans to attend ELAC and be part of the wrestling club.
“It’s amazing that they’re giving us a chance to continue our sport because many girls do continue, but it’s very hard for them because they have to compete against boys. Now we’re going to have a chance to compete against girls.”
Rivera has been wrestling for three years and was captain at her school. “I would love to see more people wrestle, especially girls, because it’s an amazing sport.”
Soto said the team must be a club first before they can become a sport.
“Hopefully [we get] more girls into the room so that the years after there will be an actual team,” said Bell Gardens High School senior Miya Galvan.
Galvan has been wrestling for six years and wants to succeed in the club.
She was also a captain at her school and plans to attend ELAC.
“I appreciate what they’re doing, and I’m happy they started thinking about girls in this sport. It’s a small sport, but there’s so many people out there with big hearts that want to continue,” Galvan said.
The club is scheduled to face Santa Rosa Junior College in a dual meet on Sept. 14.
“You’ll see a [rise] in the number of women participation in community college wrestling this year,” said Valle.