Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

Beat The Streets had the chance to sit down with several NYC Wrestlers and ask them some questions that we thought you might have. We talked with Wingate Senior Destane Garrick (returning 172 lbs. City Champion), New Dorp Junior Saira Ahmad (returning 198 lbs. 5th place), Robert Wagner Junior Jenifer Juarez (returning 112 lbs. 2nd place), and Bronx Science Senior Amy Furusho (returning 105 lbs. 2nd place) We asked them the six question noted below. Are these questions you have about wrestling as well?  If so, check out what the NYC Girls had to say.

1)      Why did you decide to join the team?
2)      What did your family think of your decision to join the girls wrestling team?
3)      What did your friends this of your decision to join the girls wrestling team?
4)      How do people react when you tell them you are a wrestler?
5)      What is the one thing about wrestling that motivates you to keep coming back?
6)      Is there anything about your experience wrestling that you’d like to tell to other NYC girls?
7)      What is one thing you thought about wrestling before you started, that turned out not to be true?


Q: Why did you decide to join the team?

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “I decided to join my high schools boys wrestling team because I always loved contact sports as a kid. I was a very athletic child but all the sports I did were very feminine (ballet, gymnastics, and ice skating). By the end of the boys season I absolutely loved wrestling and decided to wrestle freestyle and that got me even better and I wanted more and more. I was hungry to get better.” 

AMY FURUSHO: “I decided to join the wrestling team because my friend, who turned out to be the captain of the wrestling team, kept persistently telling me to wrestle. I also wanted to try something I had never done before.”

SAIRA AHMAD: “I decided to join the team because I had lost approximately 60 lbs and was really into weight training. My friend suggested I try it out because of my athletic background. First week was HELL, week after that was heavenly.”

DESTANE GARRICK: “I decided to join wrestling because I wanted to try something new. One person that really got me into this sport was my coach Steve Flanagan. I thought it was a really interesting sport so I wanted to try it out.”

Q: What did your family think of your decision to join the girls wrestling team?

DESTANE GARRICK: “My family wasn’t really happy with me joining. My mom was against it because she thought it was a “man’s sport.” They really didn’t believe that I was going to make it in wrestling. My family wanted me to join girlie sports, but I didn’t want to. I joined a guy sport and proved them wrong—that a girl COULD do a guy’s sport and succeed in life.”

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “At first my mom hated the idea of me grappling. She didn't like that wrestling was a contact sport. My dad hates that I wrestle and assumes that I get hurt every time. When I started wrestling my mom wanted me to be home earlier then the time practice ended. She started letting me stay longer as the season progressed. The first time my mom saw me wrestle was my very first match. I lost, I lost bad. After that she never saw me wrestle again until I went to wrestle in Madison Square Garden back in 2012. I got first, and I felt my mom to be a bit more relieved that I had won. I do wish she would come see my more recent matches because I feel my improvement every day in the wrestling room. My mom is more used to the fact that I will be wrestling for a very long time, and I'm glad she understands now.”

AMY FURUSHO: “My family really did not expect me to make such a decision. Although they did seem a bit hesitant at first, they supported my decision and respected my wishes.”

SAIRA AHMAD: “They weren't too surprised because my mother and father have a history of participating in combat sports.” 

Q: What did your friends think of your decision to join the girls wrestling team?

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “My friends supported me all the way with joining the team. Although they ask me to this day why I love the sport so much. And the best thing I can think of is, “You have to try it for yourself, and once you do your whole perspective of wrestling changes." They always want me to do better and I know they do. Yes, they get a little iffy when I cut weight or am a bit tired. But at the end of the day, they know I'm doing something I love.

SAIRA AHMAD: “I was known as the shy, kind, intelligent girl, so they were doubtful.”

AMY FURUSHO: “My friends did not really expect me to join a wrestling team either. It's quite understandable because I'm really small (4'10" to be exact) and seem like the type to trip over my own feet.”

DESTANE GARRICK: “My friends were against it because they wanted me to join volleyball, and I thought that volleyball was too girlie. I wanted to do a sport that would take me places and that is what wrestling is doing. And now my friends see that I’m accomplishing something and getting known in the state. Now they really like that I’m trying to do something with my life and accomplish my goals in being on the Olympic team.”

Q: How do people react when you tell them you are a wrestler?

SAIRA AHMAD: “SHOCKED, but they automatically respect me. It’s something to be proud of. Separates me from the average girl.”

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “People go like " are you serious,” or " I'm definitely not messing with you," or even, "that's amazing".  And I can't agree more this sport really is better then any other sport out there. I also feel that once I told them that I wrestled I got a little more respect and I thought that was pretty good.” 

DESTANE GARRICK: “When people ask me what sport I do and I say wrestling, they give me a look and every one of those people gives me the same look. They don’t even think about the possibility of a high school girl wrestling. There are a lot of people who asked me why I do this sport, and I tell them that this is a sport that changed my life. After I joined wrestling, it’s been busy but it made my life a whole lot easier. Wrestling is a sport that relieves my anger. I love this sport and I will love it until the day I die. The reactions of some people are just funny because they think a girl like me would never do a sport like this.”

AMY FURUSHO: “People really don't expect me to be a wrestler. To be honest, I don't blame them. When people find out that I'm a wrestler, their reactions are actually somewhat comical. There's usually a long awkward pause before the same question is asked another two or three times.”

Q: What is the one thing about wrestling that motivates you to keep coming back?

AMY FURUSHO: “One thing about wrestling that really motivates me to keep coming back is that for me, wrestling is the only escape I have from everything else I do. In a weird way, wrestling is like a haven for me.”

SAIRA AHMAD: “The adrenaline, that moment of complete bliss when you win a match that you KNOW you worked hard for. Also, it keeps me doing productive things. Let me tell you something, my reflexes and cardio have improved so much that some days I feel like a ninja. LOL just kidding, not really (seriously though).”

DESTANE GARRICK: “The one thing that motivates me to keep coming back is that I want to be on the Olympic team. That’s one of the biggest goals that I have right now. I want to be known as the best wrestler I can be. I work hard to get where I am. I’m trying to be known and show my family that I can do this and can make it in life. I really want to have the opportunity to wrestle on the Olympic team and I hope that dream will come true someday. I really do.”

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “First, I love wrestling, and second, I wanna be better than my competition. I know that I have to bust my butt in practice every day to meet that goal of beating my opponents. There is no better feeling than getting your hand raised when you know you worked harder than any one of your opponents.” 

Q: Is there anything about your experience wrestling that you’d like to tell to other NYC girls?

SAIRA AHMAD: “Wrestling will boost up you confidence. There's this charisma us wrestlers have. It’s the oldest and most difficult sport in the world. I thought that I wouldn't ever be able to run a mile under 8 minutes, but because of the strenuous work I put in on the mat, I was able to achieve that goal. Also, after an undefeated streak, I was beaten by a girl who I was terrified of at the time. After working my butt off, I was eventually able to win against her.” 

AMY FURUSHO: “Something I'd like to tell other girls: Wrestling is fun and you don't know it until you try it!”

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “All I want to say is, don’t be afraid to try it out. It’s a lot better than people perceive it to be. It's so much fun to wrestle. You could be a first day wrestler or a three year wrestler like myself, but if you commit to this sport and work hard there will be coaches working just as hard to get you better.” 

DESTANE GARRICK: “I would tell other New York City girls that wrestling is a good sport. Even though it’s seen as a “guy’s sport,” girls can do it just as well. My experience was a life changing one. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with wrestling. Wrestling is a really dedicated sport that we would love for many girls to join. I’ve been wrestling for four years and have loved it. I believe that other girls in the city that put their heart into it will also love it. This sport is like a lifetime. It’s a sport that many girls will love to join to get noticed, to show everyone that she’s the best in the state, city, or world. This is a big thing for women’s wrestling and I hope that a lot of girls will understand that it is a good and loving sport.”

Q: What is one thing you thought about wrestling before you started, that turned out not to be true?

SAIRA AHMAD: “I thought it would be awful and boring. I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG IN MY LIFE.”  

JENNIFER JUAREZ: “At first I thought wrestling involved punching and kicking and throwing stuff at people, but it's the complete opposite. It's a contact sport that involves attacking the legs and upper body by shooting on someone or throwing someone (trust me, the throws are pretty safe and are really fun to do when you execute them in a match!). I also thought that you had to be super strong and that you would be matched with anyone. No, you don't have to be strong. There are other components to wrestling like speed and technique. Also, you only wrestle people that are in your weight class. For example, if you weight 95 lbs, you would wrestle in the 97 lbs weight class, or if were 130 lbs, you would wrestle in the 132 lbs weight class. So, don't get intimidated. You may think that you would wrestle bigger girls, but you don't; you just wrestle girls in your weight category.”  

DESTANE GARRICK: “I thought wrestling was like the TV show WWE Raw, until I started to wrestle; that’s when I found out that it’s not what I thought it would be. I learned that it was actually a sport you have to wrestle hard in. Now I really know how wrestling really works and the focus you need to have.”

AMY FURUSHO: I thought that the participants were scary. This might sound like an immature generalization, but when you're under 5 feet tall and weigh about 100 pounds, a lot of things might seem intimidating. My teammates are really nice and they're kind of like teddy bears.”

Head Girls Coach Jacque Davis
phone: 212-777-5702

  • The public school athletic leagues of New York City, California, Hawaii, Texas, Washington, and Tennessee all sanction Girls Wrestling as a High School Championship Sport.
  • Curtis High School on Staten Island won the first-ever Girls High School PSAL Dual Meet Championships in 2013.
  • In the summer of 2013, the New York Junior National team -- on which 7 of the 12 members were New York City girls -- won the United States Junior National Duals Championship, marking the first time a team outside of California or Texas had ever won.
  • Over the past five years, the New York National Team has tripled in size, becoming one of the largest state teams at Nationals.
  • New York state has had nearly 10 athletes represent the U.S. at World and Pan-American Championships, 4 of which were from NYC PSAL teams.
  • There are over 30 Women’s College Wrestling Teams, all of which offer athletic scholarships.
  • Women’s Wrestling became an Olympic Sport in 2004.