Inside Stories

Lowell Girls Lifting Wrestling to New Heights

LHS wrestlers are all smiles after winning Timberlane Invitational at Timberlane Regional High School in New Hampshire.

By Nathaniel Ford

LOWELL – Five years ago, Lowell High School had never sent a female wrestler to compete in the state tournament. Now, their newly formed team is positioned to win a state championship. 

The squad of 10 girls is the largest in the state and one of the biggest in New England. They have already won two tournaments this season, putting themselves on the map.  

“Right now, I think we are the best girls team in the state, and I think it is very realistic to win the all-state tournament this year and potentially the New England tournament,” said Nick Logan, a special education teacher at Lowell High School, who is completing his second year as head coach.

Amada Moundele, a junior at Lowell High School and a two-time state placewinner, leads the squad. She is the only upperclassman on the team, and wrestles in the 165-pound bracket this year. Sophomores Ameliyah Martinez (235) and Saphira Sao (114) have both contributed to the team’s success as well.

“Our girls have had tons of success. We had three girls wrestle in the state tournament last year, including our first finalist,” Logan said.

Moundele is ranked first in the 165 pound weight class in New England Rankings, and Martinez is ranked second in 235. 

“The young women who have chosen to take on wrestling have already done so much to be leaders and help pave the way for women that come after them,” said Brad Lewis, Excel Academy’s wrestling coach.

Logan, who also coaches at Doughboy Wrestling Club, has collaborated with wrestling coaches at other schools to create opportunities to wrestle as often as possible, and Lewis is one of those people.

In January 2024, Lewis organized a dual meet at Mahar Regional School between Lowell High and wrestlers from four Boston-area schools.

The reason multiple schools from Boston had to come together was because of the sheer size of the Lowell team. Having 10 girls in the wrestling program is something that few teams even in New England can say they have.

“I think it’s only fitting that Lowell, which has been a dominant men’s program for some time, be on the forefront of this for girls,” said Mike Marshall, the founder of Doughboy Wrestling Club.

Amada Moundele after taking home first place in the dual meet against a collection of Boston area wrestlers at Mahar Regional.

Lowell High School’s wrestling program was founded back in the 1958-1959 school year. Since then, they have won 13 state championships. Recently, the team has had 50 or more members seemingly every year, and their youth programs in the city average over 200 wrestlers a year.

Logan says girls have always been welcome to wrestle on the team, but there just has not been a lot of participation. He says Moundele was a huge reason for this change. 

“My sophomore year, I was recruiting like crazy. I spread the word to everybody,” she said. 

Moundele has finished third in the state tournament back-to-back years, and she has been a great example of the success that could come with wrestling for Lowell.

“Promoting it as a girls team helps girls want to join because it looks like its own thing, as opposed to just being co-ed with the boys,” said Logan.

Lowell is not the only place girls wrestling is growing: it is the whole state. In the 2022 season, 88 girls competed at the state tournaments. In 2023, the number doubled, jumping to 177 girls in just a year.

Because of this, the sport for girls has expanded dramatically in the last two years. An All-State tournament was added last season for the girls. This year, three Divisional tournaments were added as a qualifier for the All-State, with the top four in each weight class moving on.

As well as this, two big changes have come outside of Massachusetts. The New England tournament now has a girls division this year. Also, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) put out weight classes for the girls that are now normalized across all states.

“Hopefully the sport grows to a point where we will need to separate the tournaments because they’re so big,” said Phil Napolitano, an assistant director at the MIAA. He also is the wrestling liaison in the state, which involves hiring referees, tournament directors, and also booking sites.

Currently, both tournaments are at the same venue on the same day. If the girls game continues to grow, which Napolitano thinks it will, they may have to add another day or book another venue.

Lowell Girls Wrestling Team Picture at Lowell High School

Girls wrestling is on the rise in the nation, being one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country. The sport will be developed further, and coaches are hopefully more changes are coming.

“I think it’s going to grow by the hundreds each year. It wouldn’t shock me if in five years, they have their own dual meet season,” said Marshall. Currently, there is no official dual meet season recognized by MIAA for girls.

With participation on the girls’ side increasing by the year, the same increase needs to be happening elsewhere in the sport. Currently, there is only one female referee in the state, and there is a lack of female coaches as well.

“I think it is important that there is a pipeline for female wrestlers becoming coaches,” said Lewis.

Logan agreed. 

“The end goal here would be to have their own team with 25 or 30 girls and have separate practices with their own coach,” he said.

Nathaniel Ford is a student at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. studying journalism.

One response to “Lowell Girls Lifting Wrestling to New Heights”

  1. Gary Morrison says:

    Amelyiah Martinez was the first female finalist last year as the runner-up at 235, she’s about 170! This year she’s been a giant killer at 235, undefeated vs other females…heading into states on a roll she has a great shot to be ONE of LHS’s first girls state champs. Amada is leading the way at 165, and Amelyiah will finish off at 235. LETS GO LOWELL WRESTLING!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *