Emma Sheehan joins the WHS wrestling team


Pictured above is sophomore Emma Sheehan, the newest addition to the WHS wrestling team.

Nicole Erdekian

In previous years at WHS, there have been only two female athletes who have joined the wrestling team and have completed at least a full season. Sophomore Emma Sheehan is on her way to becoming the third.

According to head coach Sean Chase, approximately every four teams the WHS wrestling team opposes, there is one girl.

Once Sheehan’s basketball season ended last year, she came to the immediate decision of trying a new sport for her sophomore year. Sheehan joined the WHS wrestling team this winter. After going to a wrestling meet last March, she instantly fell in love with the energetic environment. To prepare for her new sport, Sheehan joined the MetroWest United club wrestling team a week and a half in advance before the start of the season.

After losing a number of seniors from the previous season, Chase is hoping to rebuild the team and create new chemistry among the athletes.

However, this chemistry isn’t radically changed by the new presence of a female team member.

“The team dynamic hasn’t really changed; she’s just another person in the room,” junior captain Brooks Jones said. “Emma is a great team player. She’s always pumping up the guys and getting ready for practice the same way we do.”

Although she blends in with the rest of the team, Sheehan herself is quite aware of the gender difference.

“I know there are people who are kind of weirded out or uncomfortable having to wrestle me, but for the most part, everyone’s really supportive. It’s nice,” Sheehan said. “Sometimes I forget that I’m the only girl. I just won’t recognize it. And then other times I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m so separate from them.’ It kind of comes and goes. Honestly, sometimes I just forget I’m separate.”

One of those times, in particular, are the weigh-ins during the meets. Every meet, all participants are weighed to ensure they are in their correct weight class. With all the coaches being male, none of them are able to weigh Sheehan, so they have to find a female adult at the meet to do this job.

Aside from participating in team practices, Sheehan has had to put in a lot of individual work.

“[It’s] definitely intense,” Sheehan said. “It’s a lot of work just because I wasn’t used to running as much as we do in practice, so it’s been kind of an adjustment. I’m definitely really sore, but it’s a lot of fun.”

According to Sheehan, wrestling has gotten her into her best shape yet.

Sheehan participated in the team’s first quad meet of the season and won her last match of the day in the 120-pound weight class.

“She won her last match of the day, which actually makes her the first female wrestler in Wayland wrestling history to win a varsity match against a male athlete,” Chase said. “Emma actually showed a lot of potential.”

Despite being the only girl on the team, nothing stops Sheehan from being fearless on the mat. Sheehan has seven years of karate experience, so high-aggression sports aren’t new territory for her.

“Unlike the other young ladies we’ve had wrestle for us, she seems much more comfortable on the mat,” Chase said. “And she’s okay [with] mixing it up with guys, which puts her way ahead on the learning curve in terms of wrestling.”

So far, Sheehan loves the team and is having a blast.

“[For] guys or girls, if you want to try it, go for it because it’s a good experience,” Sheehan said. “And even if you’re [only] there for a couple of days and you decide you don’t like it, it is still worth a try.”

After this year, Sheehan hopes to continue wrestling in her future years at WHS.