Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on January 31, 2001 · Page 16
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 16

Asbury Park, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Page 16
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ASBURY PARK PRESS 2 WEDNESDAY, JAN. 31, 2001 mm Wrestling's not STAFF PHOTOS STORY By KAREN HAMMERDORFER DELANCEY CORRESPONDENT As the lone female wrestler on the junior varsity wrestling team at Point Pleasant Borough High School, Jenna Falcone can easily pin down the reason why she joined the team boredom. "J wanted to try a new sport. I liked the one-on-one aspect where you don't have to rely on anyone but yourself,' said the 15 year-old sophomore, a former cheerleader. "I've always been into sporty stuff," said the self-proclaimed tomboy. "I'm good at sports. I'd rather play football than paint my nails. I like putting on a dress once in a while, but I find sports more interesting." Falcone is no stranger to one-on-one sports. She holds a first-degree black belt in karate; her father Mickey, a 5th-degree black belt, is her martial arts instructor. As a member of the New Jersey State Karate Team, Jenna competed in the USA National Karate Federation last year in Sacramento; the team placed third. Although 14 at the time, she was one of the top three female karate fighters for the 15-16 age group. When Falcone considered joining the team, she says, her most challenging opponent was herself. When she caught sight of the room full of boys waiting to sign up for wrestling, Falcone nearly decided to pack it in. "I was never so terrified," she said. She got halfway home and went back. f "I worried that I wouldn't be accepted," she said. "The guys on the team changed drastically but I have, too. At first I distanced myself because I was scared. I thought they'd push me hard to make me quit." But Falcone didn't quit. "The way you work out during practice is the way you'll be on the mat. If you don't give 100 percent at practice, you'll just get killed out on the mat. You have to work your opponent," she said. "I know a lot of guys from other schools would have been doing mean stuff," said Falcone. just a guy thing any more "They're never mean or cold. If if I mess up, they point out how to fix it. I'm not sure if others would have accepted me as much as these guys. I wouldn't trade this team for any other in the world it's like having 30 big brothers in school; it's really cool." Ian Kerwin, 17, co-captain of the varsity team, said having Falcone on board is a step forward for the sport. "Only a couple of teams in the state have female wrestlers. I think it's pretty neat that we're one of them," he said. Falcone is not the high If your child is struggling with homework, it could be a I reading or comprehension problem. Success is learned. SM fLkSYLVAN Learning Center Better grades are just the beginning" i , mmmmim-imsmmh m ww i riiMMTO MiffllMM'l . I i - hi j" j ! ) i ' - U i ' ' J I i Yet. 1 ; i ...... iJU :-fj: j :X-, it-Ttit... .,, Wrestler Jenna Falcone warms up (left) with a teammate before the start of a match and watches her teammates (above) as they wrestle. school's first female wrestler. Several years ago, Christina Po-piel, now 21, wrestled from 7th grade until her junior year in high school; she also took private wrestling classes. "I was harassed and wasn't taken seriously," she recalled. But a new coaching staff has taken over the high school's wrestling program since then, and Falcone's family and friends have been uniformly supportive. "I'm tickled to death," said Falcone's mother, Melody. "It's a tough sport; I'm gaining a new respect for it. They work out six days a week for three hours each day, including Christmas Eve. As long as she doesn't come home with a dislocated shoulder, I'll be happy." "I thought it was a little strange at first, but I'm really proud of her," said sophomore Alyssa Eckart, 15. "She's very outgoing, that's probably why she had the guts to do this. Go Boro!" As of Friday, Falcone's record was 0-8. See next page Sylvan can neb. f shrsbury 544-1300 TOMS RIVER 349-81 1 1 freehold 845-0799 MiDOLETOWN 615- 2227

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