Alaska ladies dominate wrestling at Arctic Winter Games
‘Though she be but little, she is fierce.’
That Shakespeare quote perfectly embodies 15-year-old Kaley Fowlkes. The North Pole sophomore has been wrestling for five years and usually takes on the boys.
“Being able to say that you’re a wrestler, I think it really means something, especially being a female,” said Fowlkes. “I think people are impressed we can keep up with the guys.”
At the Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland she can showcase her skills against the other ladies. On the last day of competition, they tried Inuit-style wrestling.
“They’re scrappier. It’s a totally different style. It’s fun to watch,” said coach David Lorring.
He said Alaska is a little behind the times when it comes to female wrestling. There’s only been a state tournament for women the past two years.
But he said the sport is gaining popularity and the numbers are growing.
Freshman Madison Knott, also from North Pole, recently picked it up.
“Ever since sixth grade I wanted to try but there was this stigma, ‘Oh girls can’t wrestle.’ Then I finally got the guts to try it out in eighth grade and now I can’t get enough of it,” she smiled.
Knott said women can’t out-muscle the men, so they have to use more finesse and technique.
“When people come up to me and say, ‘What sports do you do?’ I say, ‘I do wrestling.’ They say, “Really? You go out with the guys?’ Yeah, tear them up!” she laughed.
Fowlkes is the Alaska state champion in her weight class and didn’t disappoint in Greenland.
“It feels good to be chosen out of all the people from Alaska to come here and represent the state and our country,” Fowlkes said. “Being able to bring home three gold medals feels pretty good.”
Altogether, the Alaska ladies brought in ten gold ulus and two silver.
Fowlkes said she’s excited to have beaten the women, but will no doubt be back on the mat, taking on the men like a champ.
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