Shannon Workinger still remembers.
The boys staring at her, making bets on how long it would take one of them to wrestle against her, take her down and pin her to the wrestling mat, jeering her as she wrestled her matches at a tournament far from home.
“Not from Quincy, Quincy’s been really supportive,” she said, “but boys that I would wrestle would be (saying) ‘Oh, I don’t want to wrestle a girl,’ ‘girls can’t wrestle,’ ‘why are there girls from Quincy wrestling?’ all this stuff.”
So now that she’s a senior in high school, she wants the future generation of female wrestlers to be a little more self-assured, a little more ready not just on the mat but also off.
Workinger and a few of her wrestling peers, including a few Quincy High School students and alumni, are putting together “Wrestle Like a Girl,” where learning wrestling skills is only half the goal.
The camps will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. every Sunday at the second-floor wrestling room at QHS, for girls ages 4-13. The first session took place three days ago, but girls can still show up, sign up and get on the mat. A $10 one-time fee per girl covers all the sessions, Workinger said.
“The purpose of the camp is to show girls that they can be strong in any sport that they are doing,” Workinger said. “It’s not just specific to wrestling, it’s more about building confidence and building athletes from a young age, empowering young women to know they can do great things.”
She’s not alone on this quest, wrestlers from Royal City, Moses Lake and Quincy, along with QHS alum Xochitl Tafoya will help Workinger during camp sessions.
Last weekend’s session was Workinger’s first working with children, so it was a little challenging at times, but the look on their faces when they learned something or succeeded at trying a new skill made it worthwhile.
When the sessions end, probably sometime in early 2022, Workinger would like to see younger girls excelling in their wrestling technique, but above all, being more athletic and more aware of their own capability to do hard things, she said. That is going to be part of her legacy once she graduates, she added.
“As a senior in high school, I want to do something that leaves a mark on the younger generations of female athletes,” Workinger said. “I’m happy to have the opportunity to bring confidence to some of our young ladies.”