Victoria Benedetti: Wrestling Warrior

Although wrestling is a male-dominated sport, that doesn’t stop senior Victoria Benedetti from surpassing these gender limitations

Pictured here is Benedetti in her wrestling uniform. Courtesy of Victoria Benedetti

Pictured here is Benedetti in her wrestling uniform. Courtesy of Victoria Benedetti

     For centuries, wrestling has been a male-dominated sport. However, as inequality between gender roles has started to dissipate, women are experiencing increasing opportunities in sports. Many women continue to break gender norms, including senior Victoria Benedetti, who has been a part of the school’s wrestling team since her sophomore year. As a wrestler, she enjoys the sport more than anything and doesn’t feel she needs to prove anything to anybody.

    Benedetti is a junior in the IB program and decided to be the first one in her family to join a wrestling team because it seemed like a fun and exciting sport. Although she is the only girl on the team at the moment, there have been other girls to join before. With time on the team, she has gathered more experience and knowledge on the sport even though she struggled at first. 

     “My first competition was horrible, I got dragged all over the mat by the girl I was wrestling but afterward she came up to me and hugged me which I appreciated. Luckily the whole thing lasted less than two minutes.”

     Benedetti feels there is a high physical and mental demand from the sport and coaches alike. However, she feels the school’s wrestling team always supports each other by giving advice and being inclusive toward everyone on the team, regardless of gender. 

     “The [boys on the wrestling team] simply treat me like any other wrestler, which I really do appreciate,” Benedetti said. “Everyone is very supportive. The older wrestlers help out the newer ones and if they see that they are doing something wrong they’ll share advice with them and help fix what needs to be improved.”

     Comparatively, Benedetti notices it can be harder to wrestle boys since they tend to be biologically stronger; however that does not stop her from working as hard as she can. As with most male-dominated sports, sexism and discrimination do sometimes take place. Even though the wrestling team has a positive environment that accepts people of any gender, there are instances where sexist remarks are made from people outside of the team.

     “Sometimes there are sponsors that make sexist or offensive comments but I usually just don’t listen to them,” Benedetti said.

      Benedetti feels that it’s important to stay positive and work hard to be on the team since a lot of students end up dropping the sport due its physically demanding nature. 

     “Many students drop out of the team because it can become so challenging, but it’s also a complicated sport so it’s nice to let you in without any experience,” Benedetti said. 

     Benedetti looks forward to resume wrestling this year and plans to pursue her passion for wrestling in college. She enjoys the hard work, dedication and perseverance involved in the sport. While it is uncertain when practices and competitions will resume due to COVID-19 restrictions, Benedetti eagerly awaits the day they can go back to practice.