WCA Introduces First Girls Wrestling Team

After they just wrestled in their first match ever in this 2022-23 season, these girls are ready to be part of a new tradition.


Maddox Rosenberg

The girls wrestling team: (L-R) Kate Van Zee, Katherine Shaw, Denny Muehleisen, Kyndal Brown.

This year introduces the first ever girls wrestling team at Westminster. Girls have been given the opportunity to wrestle for a few years now, but this was the first time enough girls were interested in taking up the offer. 

Many schools across the country have had girls wrestling teams for years now. So many teams, in fact, that there is a girls State wrestling competition as well. 

This year, the WCA wrestling team introduces Spanish teacher Renee Dunn on the coaching staff. With a background in many combat sports, she will bring a new perspective to the team. 

Dunn has been interested in coaching a girls wrestling team since 2021 when she had a conversation about it with boys wrestling coach Tim Muehleisen. 

A few female students who were interested in wrestling learned about this and approached me about starting a girls wrestling team. I was eager to help but, unfortunately, we couldn’t generate enough interest to start a team. […] This year, those same girls approached me again. We had conversations with the Athletics Department, the girls generated a buzz, and a team was formed,” said Dunn.

Kate Van Zee, junior, has been interested in the team for a while. She was one of the students who approached Dunn on forming a team, and she helped make it happen. 

“I first became interested in wrestling in middle school, because my brother was in it. He often put me in headlocks that I had difficulty escaping. I wanted to learn wrestling so that it would slightly even the odds. Katherine Shaw and I worked last year on the possibility of a girls wrestling team, and due to the support we received from others, we decided to make it a reality,” said Van Zee.

Both those on the team and coaches alike agree that wrestling is a different type of sport than anything else. It requires the same amount of effort and athleticism, but the camaraderie is completely different in a physical combat sport. 

“Hand to hand combat sports are personal in a way that cannot be compared to other sports. For anyone (with the attitude of an athlete, not of a combatant) to enter a circle or ring, to me, requires not only grit but a certain level of trust and respect that isn’t necessarily expected in other forms of competition […] it is also an invitation to another to push me, bodily and mentally, to an extreme. It’s an opportunity for me to do the same for them,” said Dunn. 

Many of these girls, like Van Zee with her brother, have a family history with the sport. Denny Muehleisen is no different. Hearing the name “Muehleisen” when talking about wrestling is like mentioning jelly when talking about peanut butter: they just go together. The Muehleisen family has a rich history with wrestling. Both Denny’s dad and grandpa wrestled, not to mention they coached the WCA varsity team for 20 years together. 

I came out for wrestling mostly because I just really like being a part of a team, but I was also interested in the sport and wanted to give it a shot. It is important to me because I really enjoy being on a team and my dad and grandpa both wrestled so it is fun to keep the tradition going.” Denny Muehleisen, freshman. 

Tuesday, November 29, was the first time WCA girls wrestled in a meet. All of the girls wrestled their hearts out, with many having their first wins. The team and fans are looking forward to many future matches, and everyone is on the edge of their seats for the future of WCA girls wrestling. 

I want to continue to be a part of everything – I want to encourage, support, and learn with these girls as they pave the way for our school to represent girls in wrestling,” said Dunn.