BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
A pair of local high school athletes are challenging a predominantly male sport and taking to the wrestling mat.
Mackenzie Rosiak, 17, a junior at Lackawanna Trail and Heather Traver, 17, a senior at Montrose, are both part of their respective schools varsity wrestling squads.
Rosiak is in her first year of wrestling with the Lions, and got involved because the team was missing a wrestler in the 112-pound weight class.
And being a part of a family that has a rich wrestling tradition was also a deciding factor in her decision to join up with the Lions.
Her father, John Rosiak was a wrestler in high school and currently serves as Trail’s assistant coach, while her brother Marvess is on the team with her, her other brother Cooper is on the junior high team, and her oldest brother Dominick wrestled before graduating from Trail.
Rosiak said she is confident in her ability to be a wrestler, despite going up against predominantly male competition.
“I know all the moves, and I’ve been wrestling with my brothers my whole life,” Rosiak said. “I have the knowledge, and it’s just a matter of applying it.”
She previously served as the team’s manager, and said she’s looking forward to her first match.
“I’ve only wrestled in practice,” Rosiak said. “But I can’t wait to wrestle in a match.”
As far as her goals for the year, she just wants to help out her team.
“I want to do my best,” Rosiak said. “And just help out my team.”
She said that just going out on the mat helps out the team, as they won’t be giving up six points automatically for a forfeit.
Trail coach Jeff Stauffer said he thinks it’s great that Rosiak stepped up to the plate.
“She has some natural talent that some of the boys on the team don’t even have,” Stauffer said. “I think she should do pretty well for us this season.”
Rosiak, who also plays field hockey and softball, said that the entire team has been very supportive throughout the process and that she enjoys working out with the team and staying in shape.
And Rosiak’s first match could be against Traver, who also wrestles in the 112-pound class.
Traver, of Friendsville, got started in wrestling in a similar way to Rosiak, as she was serving as manager last season.
“We didn’t have anyone to wrestle in the 103-pound class,” Traver said. “So I figured I’d give it a try.”
Since then, Traver has wrestled in more than 10 matches in either the 103 or 112-pound class.
This year, Traver has been mostly wrestling at 112, and said it’s a lot of fun.
“People are very supportive of me,” Traver said.
While Traver hasn’t notched a win in head-to-head competition, like Traver she has garnered some forfeit victories in her weight class, and that helps, she knows.
“I’m hoping to get a win this season,” Traver said. “And just help my team do well.”
However, it’s not all fun and games, as she’s had to deal with boys being hesitant on the mat.
“It seems like they just want to get it over as quickly as possible,” Traver said.