Tabitha Wood has made a significant impact on the Independence girls varsity wrestling team this year by bringing in her decade of wrestling experience.
But, she is only a freshman.
Her interest for wrestling began at a young age.
“I started wrestling in kindergarten because my parents just put me in it and it was fun…like seven or eight years,” she said.
It was just a year and a half ago that she moved here to Texas from California. Ever since she moved here, she has been in a more co-ed environment with her fellow wrestlers compared to when she was in California.
“Well before I only wrestled with guys, that’s all I wrestled until I came here. And so that’s really different because girls tend to do different moves because of the way we’re built compared to guys,” Wood said.
The team and coaches say that her experience is helping her prosper in competition.
“Record-wise Tabitha is the best, but she has wrestled more than the other girls, and she’s been wrestling for a while too. So, she has a little background knowledge on top of what we have taught her,” wrestling coach Michael Heggie said.
“The first three tournaments I placed, and I won my match at one of the duels. The first tournament was in Richardson and I placed third. The second tournament was Coppell, and I placed third. And then the third tournament was Rockwall, and I placed second,” Wood said.
“She’s been doing pretty well, I think her record is like twelve and four- she won twelve and lost four. She has a lot of team points for us-scoring a lot of points, medaling in most of her tournaments,” Heggie said.
On top of scoring, she helps her other two teammates improve in practice.
“My goal was to pin her, let me pin her five times in a day, per day. ‘Let me get out of her hold, let me not let her get me down.’ Most time she got me down but, it was just like wrestling her a lot, then you had to improve,” her teammate Najla Muhammad said.
For Wood, practices are a give and take. She learns from her teammates like freshman Sariah Ferguson.
“I help her work on her set ups and stuff. And then she helps me work on getting out of my base because I struggle when I’m on bottom. And then I help their set up too,” Wood said.
As she becomes a better wrestler, she is appreciative of how much she has accomplished so far.
“I just remember whenever I do good, like how happy that makes me, and I’m proud of myself for achieving that,” Wood said.