Cantu makes history on the wrestling mat


Destiny Givens

Last year, then-freshman Joy Cantu works on a drill with the wrestling team. Now she will be helping other girls launch their own team.

Destiny Givens, Managing Editor

The MHS wrestling team broke history this month having the very first female wrestler, freshman Joy Cantu, compete on the varsity level.

Cantu, who might be small in stature competing in weight group 106/113 and is also five foot one, doesn’t fail to leave a big impact on the mat. Cantu, who has been wrestling since the age of  7, often reflects on what it was like in the beginning.

“When I first started it was more like I had to prove myself every time because the boys weren’t just going to let me do it,” Cantu said. “So it feels powerful and it probably does intimidate them [male wrestlers], but nobody knows how it feels to be in this sport unless you’re in the sport.”

David Maldonado Jr., a junior on the wrestling team, feels that having a female wrestler this year is something new, but ultimately she’s treated the same way regardless of her gender. David expresses the team tries their best to help her in any way they can.

“I think we welcomed her pretty well, she’s new to the school,” David said. “I think she’s made some pretty good friends. We make an environment where if she has any questions about anything she can ask [whether it’s] about her diet, her weight, working out, [or even] about positions; I think we all come together to help.”

Cantu expresses that this accomplishment is one of many titles that she holds, but she is ultimately grateful for what she was able to achieve. 

“It feels amazing honestly,” Cantu said “ I know it’s new for the school to have a girl wrestler, but it’s not new for me. Since I’ve already made bigger accomplishments than just being first. I mean obviously it’s a big deal but it’s not new. It’s new to you guys , but it’s not new to me.”

Head Coach David Maldonado feels like having a female player compete was inevitably coming with the rapid growth of female wrestling within the past years.

“I think it’s a long time coming,” Maldonado said. “ I think it’s something that girl wrestling has developed quite a bit. I mean it’s been in the last few Olympics so it’s something that’s growing. I kind of had a pretty good idea that eventually it was going to happen. It just happened to be that this year we have a girl and she’s doing well.”