Lake Shore’s Only Girl Wrestler


Presley Saleh

Isobel Wharff, a Junior at Lake Shore High School, brings a different world of wrestling to the team. Out of the 15 members, Wharff has been living the experience of the only girl on the successful sports team.

Wharff’s interest in wrestling grew in sixth grade at Kennedy Middle School. With enough care, talent, and dedication, Wharff has improved drastically even from a year’s comparison. Since the start of the season on November 2021, Wharff’s work has been paying off, building on her previous skills to a higher level. She is honored by her collection of medals and accomplishments throughout her time devoted to wrestling. Wharff’s strength, strategy, and perseverance can be noticed in any match she is against, even through her hardships.

A 6-0 match Wharff won January 12th at Grosse Pointe South.

Wharff states, “It’s hard sometimes because being the only girl in a predominantly male sport isn’t the easiest.”

Consequently, wrestling as a high school sport from a girl’s perspective is bound to be experienced differently than boys. For example, Wharff sometimes separates with her team to enter girl’s-only tournaments and other events that allow for more balanced competitive placement. Likewise, Wharff has been treated differently in good ways and bad ways which experiences tend to be traced back to her gender.

Wharff has explained that some hardships she has faced are, “I don’t get taken seriously by other teams or other people. Boys will forfeit because I am a girl, or they get way too upset when they lose against me.”

Wrestling boys is not the only issue, Wharff also explained, “Even though this happens to most athletes, sometimes it gets hard because there’s so much pressure on me, especially when I’m wrestling a girl. When I wrestle a girl and lose, I feel bad differently than losing to a boy.”

However, Wharff is on a caring team where each member is treated like an extended family member. She elaborates, “It’s like having a bunch of older brothers. The guys on my team are really supportive of me and care a lot about how I do.” She also says, “When I win, a lot of people from the bleachers, other teams, and more care, and it feels good.”

Recently, Wharff had a placement of eighth in the state. Following this success, she has been racking up several wins for her record. Wharff’s noticeable improvements even from months apart bring potential openings to place even higher in regionals or even states for girl’s wrestling.

As she and the team anticipate these days to come, the several supportive coaches and teammates help bring out the best in her abilities.

To other girls considering wrestling next year, she tells, “The coach and the people on the team actually care about your success. The coach doesn’t sweep you under the rug.”

Although Wharff’s journey has not been an easy feat, her success is projected over the horizon.