The Sacred Heart women’s wrestling team continued their inaugural season with two dual meet wins against Limestone University and Bridge the Gap on Feb. 5.
Led by head coach Paulina Biega in her first year and freshmen Ashley Reed and Madison Sanquist, the Pioneers sit at number 14 in the national poll, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
“There are always many ups and downs along the way but overall, I am really happy with how things have been going,” said Biega.
Reed, who is the 6th-ranked wrestler at her 191 pound weight class, pinned freshman Journey Land to secure the victory for the Pioneers over the St. Bernards of Limestone University.
“I’m very proud of that win,” said Reed. “I wrestled her twice that night and the second time I was finally able to hit a move that I have been working on with the coaches.”
Reed has a chance to qualify for the regional tournament and she has been pleased with her success.
“This season has been very successful,” Reed said. “There have been a lot of obstacles with Covid, but we have persevered through them.”
When asked to give some advice to her team and those individuals competing in the regional tournament, Biega left the squad with words of wisdom.
“If you wrestle until the whistle blows and leave your heart on the mat, things will go well,’’ said Biega.
With a program built on the foundation of many first-year collegiate athletes, Biega believes these dividends will pay off in the coming seasons as a veteran core will soon develop.
“The only way from here is up,” said Biega. “I expect them to be even better students, athletes and people in future years.”
Despite Sacred Heart being one of only three Division I women’s wrestling programs, Biega has an optimistic view on the future of the sport.
“Women’s wrestling is already one of the fastest growing sports in the country,” said Biega. “I think if we keep on doing what we are doing, the growth will get even better.”
The Pioneers look to finish out their season at the Northeast Regional Championships on Feb. 20, where any wrestler who places in the top five spots of their weight class can advance to the Cliff Keen National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships which takes place on March 5, according to teamusa.org.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.