Framework

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Wrestlers on the Panorama High School girls' team watch a teammate during a tournament at the L.A. Convention Center. "There are still men out there that think women don't belong on the mat," says assistant coach Richard Ramos. "It sounds like boys are tougher, but to be honest, the girls are a lot tougher than the boys," he says.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Wrestling team co-captain Diana Oliva listens to the boy band One Direction before a match. When the team formed, some mothers had marched into the gym and pulled their daughters from the group, saying the sport wasn't ladylike, according to head coach Abby Herrera.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High wrestlers Leslie de los Reyes, right, and Josselyn Pacheco practice before a tournament.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Melanie Carter, top, wrestles during a home match. At Panorama High School, a few girls had participated on the boys' team, but coach Abby Herrera thought they'd do better on their own. School administrators gave her the go-ahead for an all-girls team.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Head coach Abby Herrera, left, comforts Panorama High wrestler Melanie Carter after she lost a match.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Stephanie Gallegos comforts a teammate who is inside a bathroom stall after losing her wrestling match at Panorama High School.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High School wrestlers, both boys' and girls' teams, ride a bus to downtown Los Angeles in the early morning for a tournament at the L.A. Convention Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High wrestler Kaylee Acu–a, one of the team captains, right, wears her wrestling singlet with a pair of boots during a tournament at the L.A. Convention Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High wrestlers Marjorie Tabion, Coellet Rangel, Stephanie Gallegos, and Melissa Martinez, from left, hang out in the practice room before a home match. The girls revel in their bruises and gossip about prom.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High wrestler Coellet Rangel, right, wears her wrestling singlet to class. Her coach calls her "The Beast."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Kaylee Acu–a, one of the team captains, relaxes her back against a wall as teammates wrestle in the practice room at Panorama High School.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

The Panorama High School girls' wrestling team members bow their heads before a home meet.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

The female wrestlers of Panorama High School roll up the mats after a home match. Though gaining in numbers, only about 3% of high school wrestlers are girls, about 8,000 nationwide in 2012.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Panorama High wrestler Marjorie Tabion, right, is comforted by assistant coach Richard Ramos after getting pinned during the city championship.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

Members of the girls' wrestling team of Panorama High School pose for photos with their city championship trophy and plaque.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For the Times

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“Boys — move!” a woman’s voice commanded. The wrestling team lollygagged offstage at the lunchtime pep rally at Panorama High School, and the crowd wasn’t paying much attention.

Suddenly, the DJ cranked a bass-heavy beat, and a group of girls came strolling out. Coach Abby Herrera told the students there had never been an all-girls high school wrestling squad in Los Angeles, but this season, a group of students from Panorama was changing that.

“And you’re looking at ‘em,” she said.

Fourteen girls, lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, faced their classmates with cold stares.

“At 98 pounds,” the coach announced. “The Beast: Coellet Rangel.” The wrestler, who doubles as a cheerleader, flashed a quick smile and bowed playfully. Then the game face returned.

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2 Comments

  1. April 3, 2013, 9:09 am

    The challenge of competition, team work, and diligent practice/repetition is good for body and spirit. You go girls!

    By: Bruno Marr
  2. April 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Girls wrestling rocks in Texas, well done to those in Cali who fight the senseless stereotype. Wrestling is great for the girls (and boys) for many reasons – self accomplishment, maturity, responsibility and self protection are just a few reasons. I saw my daughter emerge from a shy coccoon (sp?) to a person that is strong in her everyday life. Without wrestling, she would still be on the shy side…Rock on ladies, you can and will succeed ! A great sport for anyone

    By: lansef@verizon.net

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