PHILIPSBURG — Beyonce once asked, ‘Who Rule the World?’ Of course, the answer was Girls!
And using that mantra many girls are starting to flock to a male-dominated sport in wrestling.
Wrestling has always been big in Pennsylvania, but has lacked in the numbers of females participating.
That curve has started to change, as evident by the number of attendees that participated in the 2020 Pennsylvania Girls State Championship and Northeast Folkstyle Championships at Gettysburg High School recently.
One of those wrestlers came home with gold in Philipsburg-Osceola middle schooler Charli Hunt.
Wrestling has been in Hunt’s family for decades. Her mom is the former Amanda Bainey, daughter of Doug and April and niece of Tim.
Hunt’s uncles wrestled, as did her cousins. But it was watching her brother Jaxson wrestle that finally made her don a singlet.
“I thought it looked fun,” Hunt said.
Hunt’s mom said that Charli made the decision to wrestle in the spring, so they waited for the next season to roll around and signed her up.
The first couple of practices were tough, but Hunt has taken to the sport like a duck takes to water.
“It’s hard to learn, but the coaches help out a lot,” Hunt said. “They break down the moves for you to learn and practice.”
And Hunt has shown a good handle on the sport. She is a two-time Area 2 champ, advanced to the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Tournament and a MAWA regional last year.
When asked what makes her so good at wrestling, Hunt had a simple answer.
“Practice,” she said.
Her mom also added that she has a drive and determination. “She never gives up,” Amanda Hunt said.
Hunt has wrestled in tournaments against boys and girls and doesn’t care who her opponent is.
“Girls tournaments are more of a level playing field,” she said. “But I enjoy the challenge of competing with the boys.”
Hunt can be intimidating too. She usually steps on to the mat at tournaments in a Wonder Woman singlet, complete with WW headgear.
“Two years ago at PJW states in WIlkes-Barre, she had $50 to spend,” her mom said. “She bought her Wonder Woman headgear. Wonder Woman is her favorite. This year for Christmas, her dad and I surprised her with the Wonder Woman singlet.
“My mother-in-law refers to her as the Warrior Princess.”
Hunt’s dad, Dave, is not only one of her biggest supporters, he’s also one of the coaches in her corner. Her uncle Doug Bainey also helps when he can.
Cousin Dan Bainey, who owns Next Level Training also helps during tournaments outside of the P-O wrestling program.
Amanda Hunt said coming from a wrestling family, she was excited when Charli showed an interest.
“I thought it was great that she wanted to do it,” she said. “I wish I would have!”
Hunt also enjoys doing dance and theater in addition to playing soccer in the fall. She also enjoys riding ATVs and playing outside.
But wrestling has given a lot to Hunt.
“It made me more confident in myself, introduced me to new friends and has me challeging myself with additional workouts at Next Level Training.”
Both Hunt and her mom say if you want to get involved with wrestling to jump right in.
“Do it,” Amanda Hunt said. “Step out and try something new. The team, coaches and wrestling families are so helpful and supportive.”
Hunt’s answer was much more simple.
“You should try it, because you never know if you are good at it.”