Back in the early 2000’s, girls had no choice but to compete on boys teams to be able to wrestle. This often prevented many girls from participating, but a few girls distinguished themselves in these early days for winning varsity matches against boys. In some cases, girls convincingly pinned the boys and the inspiration that others derived from this has helped to make girls wrestling more popular.
In GIRL PINS BOY: Rosey pins David Rientjes (Belmont Wrestling), Rosemary Hernandez from James Monroe High School quickly and convincingly pins David Rientjes from Belmont High School in front of his own school.
During this time, it was very rare to see girls defeating boys so convincingly. You can notice the very poor sportsmanship in response to the match which is a sign of the era it took place in. David Rientjes, in the black singlet, is so enraged by the result that he tries to leave the mat without shaking hands with his opponent.
The crowd can be heard saying “you got beat by a girl, homie!” and laughing at David’s defeat. They likely found his loss very funny because David had earlier pushed Rosemary in an attempt to intimidate her, but ended up only demonstrating his frustration.
Victories like this showed that girls not only had a place on boys wrestling teams, but also could match them in technique, strength, and determination. They could defeat their male counterparts and establish themselves as another member of the wrestling team as opposed to being set apart by their gender.
While girls wrestling has exploded in popularity in recent times, and the number of girls wrestling teams has reached all-time highs, it’s important to reflect on the early days of girls wrestling in high school and what these pioneers had to go through.
It’s also important to highlight that how we handle our losses is extremely important. David’s reaction shows why you should instead always show opponents respect even in your greatest defeat because he’s now unable to get this viral video removed from the Internet even decades later. This is his permanent legacy.
Rosemary should be extremely proud of her achievements as she was one of many girl wrestlers to blaze a new trail for wrestlers who would follow years and even decades later. Since this moment has gone viral years later, we should celebrate those early pioneers and reflect on a time when the path to success had a lot more roadblocks along the way.