Winter is Coming: Warrior Wrestling Prepares for 2022-23 Season


Lydia Scott

A True Team: Warrior Wrestlers celebrate their 21-22 region victory, and are eager to (once again!) dominate in their 22-23 season.

Dating back to the first Olympics and beyond, wrestling is widely recognized as the sport of the ancients. However, despite its historical significance and inherent difficulty, wrestling is one of the most overlooked sports in North Atlanta. As winter approaches, veteran wrestlers and newcomers are preparing diligently for the season — hoping to make it their best.

The program clocks in at around 40 members, with athletes spanning both a girls’ and a boys’ squad, and – in North Atlanta’s case – most of these participants are upperclassmen. Wrestling doesn’t get the equal attention of more fan-intensive sports like football or basketball, but it remains a powerful sports force in North Atlanta. During the eight-year-leadership tenure of program head coach Mike Hutchings, the team has won the region for two consecutive years – and is gearing up to win again.

Hutchings – who also coaches girls’ tennis at North Atlanta – has been coaching wrestling for nearly 30 years. He views the sport as ideal for any athlete to develop determination and physical stamina. “Wrestling teaches many life lessons you can’t learn from other sports,” said Hutchings. “It’s extremely demanding and pushes participants to their limits, but is a highly gratifying discipline.”

Junior Kaleigh Fleming, one of the wrestling managers, shares a similar sentiment. She became a manager at the beginning of her sophomore year and has been a dedicated team member ever since. She appreciates the welcoming nature of the team and encourages interested students to join. “As I spent more time around the team, I began to enjoy the sport and the friendships I’ve made because of it,” said Fleming. “I greatly respect them and am excited about the new season.”

Beyond teaching essential values, wrestling teaches athletes to protect themselves and their strengths. Senior Ashley Hernandez was inspired to join as a first-year wrestler because of her desire to learn self-defense. However, in her short time on the girls’ team, she’s already learned numerous skills that will help her long into the future. “I’m a woman of color and pretty short, so I have a lot of disadvantages when it comes to defending myself against aggression,” said Hernandez. “I joined wrestling because I believed it could make me stronger and teach me how to use my build to my advantage – and it has.”

Although wrestling is competitive and physically demanding, North Atlanta attempts to change the aggressive stigma and emphasize the importance of sportsmanship, whether it be for female or male athletes. Senior Alonso Ramirez has been wrestling for six years and looks forward to each passing season -valuing connections made through the sport. “People tend to think wrestling is all toxic masculinity, but in our team, it’s not like that at all,” said Ramirez. “We pick each other up if we’re having a bad day because comradery keeps us all going despite the sport’s difficulty.”

With their hard work and determination, there’s no doubt that the Wrestling Warriors will have another successful season. When these athletes hit the mat, they can use your support, so get out there and cheer on our dedicated grappling Dubs, NAHS!