January 18, 2017
The wrestling team has a reputation for having the strongest, toughest athletes who never go down without a fight. Cue sophomore Jana Tumaneng.
Wrestling has long been categorized as a men’s sport, but Tumaneng is one of the few girls who decided to break the gender barrier.
“At this point, I would consider wrestling a co-ed sport,” said Coach Billips. Recently, the wrestling community has seen a substantial increase in the number of female wrestlers. “It’s starting to get big in the olympics and around the world.” In the past 10 years, Coach Billips has coached three girl wrestlers at Atholton.
Tumaneng developed a passion for the sport when she was nine years old. She was enrolled in a jiu jitsu and martial arts classes, and decided she would take up wrestling because it was similar and looked fun.
“What stands out about Jana isn’t that she’s a girl, but she has an outstanding work ethic,” said Billips. “She was one of the few wrestlers to put in the off-season work. She went to a tournament in Fargo, North Dakota and scored a win. That’s one of the biggest high school tourneys too.” In addition, Tumaneng earned a spot on the Maryland State Wrestling team.
“Wrestling is one of the best winter sports to be in because it really helps bring out skills that you would need in real life. It helps you develop the hard work ethic and heart into everyday life. It helps you grow as a person and it teaches you how to persevere, to survive and to fight for what you want,” said Tumaneng.
Tumaneng is having a lot of success this year, and not to mention enjoying an undefeated season for Atholton’s JV.
“I picture the rest of the season going really well. We are very confident that our team has a chance of going undefeated,” said Tumaneng. “I know we still have a couple of schools to wrestle and it may be hard, but the team works really hard during practice. Atholton will definitely be known as a school that won’t go down without a fight.”
Wrestling has a reputation of not being the easiest sport. In matter of fact, the practices are very brutal and harsh, but rewarding.
“Easy is not a word I would ever use to describe [practices]. Since we have an addition to our coaching staff, we definitely work hard every practice. There are no short cuts and as little breaks as possible,” said Tumaneng. “Honestly, practices are what you make of them, depending on how hard you work. The harder you work, the more harder practice will be. You can’t get better if you don’t have hard practices, the whole point is to get better. No matter how brutal, each practice is always enjoyable. Sometimes you feel like you have reached your limit, but you only push harder during these practices. We want Atholton to become a team that no one wants to mess with and the team practices like champions.”
Although Tumaneng is on a team with all boys, she still is a perfect fit into their team.
“Being in an all boys environment is both a fun experience and kind of a struggle. It is really hard to relate to the team sometimes because I’m the only girl and I don’t have as much in common with them. It is also a very welcoming atmosphere and everyone on the team is very supportive,” said Tumaneng.
Senior wrestler Caleb Cron has been impressed by the team chemistry.
“Being a first time wrestler, I’m really impressed on how tough, yet great the team is. I don’t think our team chemistry can improve any more than it is,” said Cron.
Tumaneng has worked hard to get where she is. This season, she is showcasing her drive for success and her work ethic through her wrestling performance. Unfortunately, some people still need convincing.
“Some guys give me looks and immediately assume I’m not going to be a good wrestler because I’m a girl and think they have an easy match, but every time I wrestle, I plan on proving to every single person that I am not going down easy.”