Chrissy SantaLucia, who wrestled for Brien McMahon, has been named the Head Coach of an all-girls start up wrestling team to be based in Norwalk.
The “Connecticut Marvels” will take the mats and begin training as the first competitive all-girls dual team in Connecticut October 15th. The program is available to girls in grades K-12.
SantaLucia (McMahon Class of 1999) has been an assistant coach for the successful Norwalk Mad Bull wrestling program and will continue in that role as both teams intend to cross train together to expand the youth wrestling membership base in the area. The Mad Bulls, now in their 10th year have expanded the coaching staff headed by SantaLucia to insure a seamless transition to the all-girls practice and training format.
“I remember walking into the Norwalk High wrestling room for the first time six years ago for my first Mad Bull practice not knowing what to expect. It had been many years since I even had wrestling shoes on, and I must admit despite a few nerves about fitting in on the team, the coaches were very welcoming and immediately made me and my daughter feel comfortable,” SantaLucia said.
“I grew up in a wrestling family. Both of my brothers wrestled for McMahon. When I was wrestling for McMahon, my father was coaching for Norwalk High School. My oldest brother Joe has been coaching McMahon for over 20 years now.”
SantaLucia’s nephew was wrestling for the Mad Bulls when she brought her daughter Calli, who was 7 at the time, to the program. SantaLucia said she was a bit intimidated at first, but also intrigued because there was not a similar program when she grew up. Once coach Jason Singer discovered she has wrestled in high school, he asked SantaLucia if she would want to be a volunteer coach.
SantaLucia and the Mad Bull staff have been contemplating the all-girls concept for quite some time. With nine girls on the roster last year, Singer, the Head Mad Bull’s Travel Coach, entered an all-girls team from Connecticut called “CTWAY” into the prestigious Wildwood National Duals in New Jersey. The Girls wrestling concept was becoming a reality.
“In less than a week Jason had filled a roster of girls from across Connectcut that just wanted an opportunity to be on an all-girl team that actually competed against other girl teams,” SantaLucia said. “There are more and more girls wrestling in our state, some who have had a lot of success wrestling against boys. Some clubs have more than others, but collectively, we put out a very competitive team and took home the silver medal in New Jersey. Honestly, these girls didn’t care what team they were on. They were just excited to wrestle competitively with other girls and against other girls. More importantly the girls had fun bonding with each other during some very intense competition, and now we are going to push that forward as their own team, the Connecticut Marvels.”
SantaLucia continued about the present team; “Our practices are high level, with a good mix of drilling and strong technical instruction. The coaches, wrestlers and families have been extremely supportive of the girls on our team. My daughter has gained confidence and resiliency through this sport. She has been empowered by the dedication and hard work this sport demands of its athletes. She also loves the camaraderie this sport has to offer, building strong relationships with the boys and girls, AND girls from other teams. Even over the last 6 years, I’ve watched girls wrestling grow. All over the state, youth teams are gaining more and more girls and it’s been so inspiring. Girl’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in our country, gaining strides of over 300% in participation in recent years. So, we’ve seen the need for wrestling opportunities for girls in our state.”
Regarding the Marvels; “Basically, we will continue to train during the week with the regular Mad Bull squad and add an all-girl only practice to focus on them. The CT Marvels are looking to not only build the program with younger girls, but the hope is to also give older girls opportunities to train in freestyle (the collegiate style for women) and compete in freestyle against other girls.Women’s wrestling is the fasting growing NCAA sport in all of college. Colleges are adding women’s wrestling at a very fast pace, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this growing wrestling community here in Norwalk. As a non-profit community based club with volunteer coaches, you can’t find a better place to try this awesome sport that gives so much back to its athletes.”
For more information go to www.madbullwrestling.com.