OCU wrestlers receive Olympic trial berths
The Oklahoma City University women wrestlers are strong, determined and at the top of their game.
"I'd say we're one of the top teams in the country," OCU Stars wrestling coach Archie Randall said.
The OCU Stars are a top team after just five months into their first season ever.
"Within the next two to three years we'll be the top program in the country," Randall said. "That's our goal."
A more recent goal however, is to win the national title at this year's National Women's and Girls Wrestling Championships. This week more than 400 college, high school and elementary-aged female wrestlers will compete at OCU's Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center.
"What I perceive to do to is increase the number of colleges that wrestle, to promote the program as much as possible, and to give the girls their due," Randall said.
Obstacles and challenges would be expected for most first-year programs, but launching a women wrestling program had it's own unique challenges.
"The pereption of women wrestling is that their technique is not as good, their desire is not as good," Randall said. "Most don't think that women should be wrestling."
Physical sterotypes are another obstacle for women wrestlers.
"The stereotype for wrestlers is short, stalky, and muscular and with cauliflower ears," Randall said.
When it comes to overcoming this particular sterotype wrestler Lacey Novinska says coach Randall's advice is this.
"We need to act like women outside the wrestling room," she said. "You're wrestlers when you walk in the door and when you leave you're women. Just remember that at all times."
That's advice Lacy says she and the rest of the team don't mind hearing.
All of the OCU women's wrestlers are focused on this week's national tournament but in a few years several of them, like Novinska, will be focused on the 2012 Olympics.
"I'd like to try out for the 2012 olympics, but after that I'll probably focus more on my career," Novinska said.
Randall said he admires his team for setting such an ambitious goal.
"They want to be Olympians, they've got that chance. We're going to try and give them that chance, " he said.