By Justin Giedroc in Sports
October 6, 2011
They are relatively unknown. They have very few participants. Their existence is young.
However, the Lock Haven University Woman’s Wrestling Club appears to be headed in the right direction.
With a firm foundation, past success, and a head coach with a vision, nothing but positive things await the Lady Eagle wrestling program.
Entering its fifth year of existence, the the club is led by Head Coach Terry Fike, who has been in charge since the club’s inception.
Fike has about thirty years of wrestling coaching experience and he also doubles as the men’s wrestling strength and conditioning coach.
A two-time District Six champion for Altoona Area High School and two-time All-American honoree in Greco Roman wrestling for Pennsylvania at the USA Junior Nationals, Fike’s success has now carried over into his coaching career.
Despite his success, Coach Fike has his work cut out for him.
Trying to build a successful women’s wrestling program is never easy for obvious reasons.
Many wrestling fans have mixed emotions on whether or not girls should wrestle.
It is a subject that this controversy will likely never cease to allude.
But Fike feels that skeptical opinions shouldn’t matter because women are lesser athletes than their male counterparts.
“The work that needs to be done and the physical side of the sport are still the same,” he says.
Unfortunately for any coach trying to build a program, there are very few girls that wrestle in the United States.
During the 2009-2010 school year, only 6,000 girls wrestled in high school compared to more than 270,000 boys.
To try and overcome the lack of participants in the sport, Fike is encouraging wrestlers with all levels of experience to join the club.
There is just a few requirements; the girls must be open-minded, hardworking and competitive.
This year’s squad has five wrestlers. In women’s collegiate wrestling, there are seven weight classes, and in Women’s Olympic wrestling, there are four.
The Lady Eagles squad is led by Emma Randal and Candi Chopick.
Randal has been with the club since its inception, and she has seen her hard work pay off in the form of success.
She has earned 7th and 5th place at the US Open. (World Team Trials qualifier).
Chopick is more of a newcomer to the program, but she is rapidly improving and competing at collegiate and Olympic events for the program.
The team wrestles a schedule comprised of all tournaments and travels extensively.
The team’s traveling sites range from a tournament in Colorado Springs to Nationals in Cleveland, Ohio to Open Tournaments in Ontario, Canada.
However, Randal and Chopick are not the first Lady Eagle wrestlers to experience success with the program.
Jenny Wong, a 2003 bronze medalist at the World Championships, and Sara McMann, a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist, were no strangers to Thomas Fieldhouse and each used its confines to train for competitions.
It’s obvious that the past success is there for LHU.
The foundation has been laid and for now the only thing missing are more girls who are willing to compete.
Most people and don’t know that Lock Haven has a girl’s wrestling program. However, Fike feels that the lack of publicity is “not a problem because we haven’t gone out of our way to recruit, instead, we have invested in those who have come to us.”
But that doesn’t mean that Fike is not interested in having more girls sign up developing the program even further.