FRESHMAN SAVANNAH Morrison (left) and junior Mia Kuchar are members of the Reed-Custer wrestling team. The two girls hope to make it to state this year.
by Brent Sumner Staff writer
Wrestling is a physically and mentally demanding sport usually reserved for male athletes.
However, at Reed-Custer, there are two female wrestlers breaking that mold. Don't under estimate their prowess, they are just as tough as their male counterparts.
Freshman Savannah Morrison and junior Mia Kuchar have gained notoriety for being two female wrestlers in the Comet's program, but for their success as well.
"They are tough," said Reed-Custer wrestling coach Jeff Sukley. "They are physically and mentally tough to be able to go out and do what they do to compete against boys and grown men. It is pretty impressive for them to do that. If I was a girl, I don't think I could do that, because it is not easy."
Savannah started wrestling when she was about four years old after seeing her brother compete in a tournament.
As for Mia, it was a little bit about following in her father's footsteps.
"My dad had been a wrestler," she said. "I came in to middle school, because they wouldn't let me do it before then. I kept bugging them, and they told me to be a mat girl, but that wasn't good enough. I came back in eighth grade, and they finally let me wrestle."
In her eighth grade year, Mia made some noise. While she was battling an injury midway through the season, she fought through and would earn a second place finish at girls state. The following year, during her freshman season, she would record a fifth place finish at state while battling another injury, this time her knee.
Savannah was a little luckier in her start, being able to begin wrestling for club when she was four. At the club level, she took first place at girls state for six years, and continued her trips to state in middle school.
"Middle school got a little tougher," she said. "In sixth grade I took fourth, seventh grade I took second, and in eighth grade I took fifth against high schoolers, because they decided since I have been wrestling so long, I went to cadet level."
Throughout their careers, they have had a handful of doubters, but they continue to prove those people wrong, rising up to the challenge.
For both of them, they feel a sense of accomplishment.
"It is pretty accomplishing," Mia added. "When you win, everyone has been telling you this whole time that you can't do it, but when you do it, you're like, 'ha, I told you.'"
One of the biggest questions that arises when talking to female wrestlers is whether or not there is a mindset in the community about it being a boys sport.
Both girls have received judgments from other wrestlers, and sometimes coaches, but they don't let that stop them.
"At first it was like that, but as teams started to get to know who we are, they were like, oh, that is not just a girl. You need to take them seriously," said Mia.
"I think the people telling you that you can't do it can get in your head," added Savannah. "It is hard sometimes."
Mia and Savannah both have full support from their families and friends, one of the aspects that keeps them going.
"At first, I thought my family was a bit skeptical," said Mia. "Then they realized that I was serious, so they backed me 100 percent. My friends also always backed me, because they knew that I wanted to wrestle."
"At the beginning, my mom said why don't you do gymnastics," Savannah added with a laugh. "Since I have started, my family has been cool with it."
As for this year, both wrestlers have notched a few varsity wins under their belts. Both wrestlers were battling injuries, including Mia's shoulder, which has followed her since middle school.
However, both girls plan on making their returns to the mat this season, and continue their path to girls state.
"My biggest concern is that I want them healthy to go to state," said Sukley. "They could also possibly get to college for this."
For both girls, they plan to wrestle for the rest of their high school careers, and upon graduation, continue to hit the mats for a college team.
For Mia, college wrestling is one of the things she most looks forward to, and for Savannah, she hopes to receive a scholarship and hopefully wrestle for Northern Illinois University or a college in Canada.
Outside of the wrestling room, they enjoy hanging with family and friends, and Mia is a movie and music fanatic. Savannah is also a member of the football cheer team.
But inside the wrestling room, the two girls are just a part of the group, and for Sukley, they are a part of the team.
"I think sometimes you have to remember that you can't just say men, you have to say ladies too," he said. "It is really not that much different. You remind the coaches when you get someplace that you have girls that need to weigh in, and they need a place to change. But they are part of the team."
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Article comment by:
I have great admiration for both girls. I don't know Savannah but Mia is a family friend.The confidence they have should be inspiring to everyone. Long held norms are hard to cross. Big kudos to their coaches. They are not letting themselves be held back by what others consider the status quo. Braidwood is lucky for all their hard working athletes. This week we get to see spotlighted two girls who look outside of the box. Go Braidwood!