These wrestling champs are motivating more girls to get on the mat. Monica Serratos and her daughters launched Girl on the Mat, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting girl wrestlers.
“The sport of wrestling is not just for boys. It’s a sport for girls as well, and girls can do anything that boys can do,” said one of Serratos’ daughters, Cookie.
Serratos was a wrestling champ as a kid and now Cookie has 28 wrestling medals under her belt. Their local gym, Grappler’s Studio, in California partnered with Girl on the Mat to host all-girl practices to start training more girl champions. But Serratos said it wasn’t always so easy to be a woman on the mat.
“Every time they go out there and step on the mat, they’re not just battling their opponent, they’re out there challenging the stereotype,” she explained. “They’re displaying all the hard work that they’ve put in over the season. They’re learning discipline and they’re overcoming adversity, and as a parent, that’s the most rewarding thing to see.”
So far, Serratos said more than 20 girls have joined Girl on the Mat. She said they travel all over California and often outnumber the boys at practice. Helen Maroulis, a gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics, has also shown her support for the nonprofit.