Feature: The Happiest Accident

It took a friend to push Mieke Waanders into wrestling, and she has never looked back
Mieke Waanders is a senior who is in her second year of wrestling, Ive seen a lot of improvement. I have a winning record now, Waanders said.
Mieke Waanders is a senior who is in her second year of wrestling, “I’ve seen a lot of improvement. I have a winning record now,” Waanders said.
Mardell Ostrom

Record-winning Mieke Waanders’ surprising love for wrestling began while she was invested in a different sport, “Last year on my softball team, a couple of my teammates just sort of invited me to try it out and I ended up really liking it,” Waanders said. Like many beginners in sports, Waanders found herself not being immediately successful in wrestling, “But I did a lot of practice, and over the summer did a couple of camps and now this year, I’ve seen a lot of improvement. I have a winning record now. So I’d say that’s pretty good.” 

Feeling the weight of losing multiple matches, she was determined to advance in her performance. Following her first year of wrestling, Waanders went to a wrestling camp in Salt Lake City and attended a clinic taking place at Broomfield High School in Colorado. She also follows professional wrestlers online, including Cary Kolat, “He’s probably my favorite wrestler. He does a lot of instructional videos on his Instagram and Tiktok account,” Waanders said. 

Waanders was open about still struggling with calming herself before critical matches. She found her key in her teammates and coach, “Our coach is pretty good about telling us that it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, and that it just matters if you’re improving. You just think about if you did better than you had the past week or the last time you competed and this helps me,” Waanders said. The captain of the girl’s wrestling team and friend of Waanders’, Keilani Manfre says Waanders has ambition and a strong character, “She’s grown technically as a wrestler and overall has grown into an overall amazing person,” Manfre said.  

EHS Girls Wrestling
Girls wrestling team at EHS
Girls wrestling team at EHS (Mardell Ostrom)

What does Coach Trey Jackson say about his wrestlers?

Mieke Waanders:

Mieke is a Beast! She is an absolute joy to be around. She shows up with a smile and is always the hardest worker in the room. She sets goals for herself and works to achieve them. I am very fortunate to have her on my team.

Maile Manfe:

Maile is the most experienced girl on the team having grown up wrestling. When she is on she is difficult for anyone in the state to compete against.

Orianna Jurardo:

Orianna is a pleasure to have in the room. She will do anything the coaching staff asks her to do, and I am happy to have her as a member of the team.

Kimberly Montes De Oca:

She has a great attitude and is a quick learner. We missed having her the first semester. She has a lot of promise and I am excited to see what she can accomplish.

Girls wrestling coach Trey Jackson has a lengthy background in training students. “I have coached boys for a long time, and I think girls are for the most part more coachable,” Jackson said. Jackson values Waanders as a student and sees her as a positive addition to the girls’ wrestling program, “Mieke is a Beast! She is an absolute joy to be around. She shows up with a smile and is always the hardest worker in the room. She sets goals for herself and works to achieve them. I am very fortunate to have her on my team,” Jackson said. 

 Even with experience, she still feels the nerves of critical matches, “I just try my best to breathe, and I like to take deep breaths before going into it, ” Said Waanders

Waanders believes that if you have drive, and work to progress in anything you do, you will be successful, just as she and her coach hope that girls in the future will continue to enjoy wrestling, “I think the future of women’s wrestling is very bright. The sport continues to grow and expand as we see girls’ tournaments that rival the boys’ tournament in scope and size, and I am excited to watch the sport generally continue to grow,” Jackson said. 

 

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