When Evergreen wrestling coach Luke Burrier wrestles his daughter Maggie, it’s a full-out, hard-core practice match.
Coach Burrier doesn’t take it easy on Maggie, who is a freshman and member of the EHS wrestling team. Maggie has been wrestling since she was young, and the Burrier family has a wrestling room in their house.
The elder Burrier said he liked coaching his own children along with the rest of the team to share his love of the sport.
Evergreen has grown the girls wrestling program to the point where it has its own team, going from seven girls last year to projecting 15 female wrestlers this year. Burrier, who was last year’s wrestling coach for both boys and girls, has decided to be the head coach for the girls team, while Jake Kay, an assistant coach last year, is taking over coaching the boys team.
Kay suggested there might actually be more girls than boys wrestling this year, though the team numbers will solidify by the time the first meets come around in early December.
Both coaches said the wrestling techniques are the same for boys and girls, though girls have an advantage because their bodies tend to be more flexible.
In addition, because the sport is new to most girls, they don’t have egos that some boys who have been wrestling for years have, Kay said.
Burrier said the teams were young this year, with only a couple returning seniors. Leading Evergreen wrestling this year will be siblings Avery and Jameson Cox.
Jameson, a senior, is wrestling for the third year, and he also participates in jiu-jitsu. He called wrestling great exercise and a way to handle emotions, leaving everything on the mat.
He called the girl wrestlers phenomenal, and he liked working with them and pushing them to do better.
Burrier said girls wrestling was growing fast in the United States. All it took was giving girls the opportunity to try the sport.
“The young ladies have opened our eyes,” Burrier said. “They come in with confidence and positivity.”
Kay added: “They will be leaders of our team culture.”
Burrier called the EHS wrestling practice room and the positive culture that has been cultivated there special.
“We are looking for athletes and coaches with a good attitude,” Burrier said. “Wrestling is tough, so we need to keep the negativity and the bad attitudes out of this room.”
Maggie Burrier and junior Elise Stocks are two of the female wrestlers looking to make it to state this year.
For Stocks, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and boxing are ingrained in her family. She decided to go out for the team, and while friends knew about her passion for wrestling, others are surprised and interested when they learn about her chosen sport.
Both girls agreed that the male and female wrestlers are like a family.
“Most people say that about sports, but it’s really true here,” Maggie said.
They joked that it’s fun to throw the boys around in practice.
“We have stronger friendships,” Stocks said. “We are there for each other through the injuries and the highs and the lows.”