Norton’s Kate Connell and Mansfield’s Greta Hobbs lead the way for female high school wrestlers | local sports

Only a select few wrestle at the high school level in Massachusetts. It takes unique skill and determination to compete in a male-dominated game.

Norton High School junior Kate Connell and Mansfield High School senior Greta Hobbs embody these traits – the former through her judo chops and the latter her work ethic – which has allowed them to become pioneers in the sport.

“(Wrestling) is different from scoring a goal in football with all the girls, for example,” Connell said. “You are breaking records.

Connell, who weighs 113 pounds and finished 11-13 on the season with nine pins, was the first girl to start for the Lancers varsity team since Lisa Passente in 2006. Connell is also the only woman to win a game of section in the history of the school. She and Norton head coach Pat Coleman attribute much of her success to her experience in judo. Connell spent four years practicing the martial art before taking up wrestling as a freshman.

“Kate came to wrestling with a background in judo-karate, and her signature move is a deadly headlock,” Coleman said. “She has remarkable flexibility and is very difficult to pin. She still has a lot to learn and as a junior she is looking forward to an even better season next year.

“I have an instinct for (wrestling),” Connell said. “I know what to do most of the time. It’s mostly a question of flexibility and instinct, skills I learned while doing judo.

Connell has racked up many highlights over his three-year career. But one moment, in particular, stands out as the most memorable of them all. Last December, she picked up a team win in the final game of a tie against North Attleboro. In dramatic fashion, Connell pinned Abe Guir with 20 seconds remaining to claim victory.

“It was kind of like a movie,” Connell said. “The stands were going crazy – everyone was cheering. My coach and one of my teammates came to pick me up and the whole team gathered around me.

Despite all his success on the mat, after graduating from high school in the spring of 2023, Connell doesn’t know what his future in wrestling holds. She hesitates between joining the army or going to university.

“I haven’t really looked into colleges yet,” Connell said. “I’m most likely going to the military after high school, but if I go to college, I want to wrestle.”

Greta Hobbs

As mentioned above, Connell isn’t the only local female wrestler. Mansfield senior Greta Hobbs (118 pounds) has been playing the sport since the spring of her sophomore year. She fell in love with it at a very young age after watching her older brother, Carter Hobbs, wrestle when he was in high school.

“The more I watched it and got to know (wrestling), the more I wanted to be a part of it,” Hobbs said.

In a sport dominated by men, Hobbs often faces opponents taller than her (she has fought 28 college boys in her career). But she more than makes up for that with her tenacious work ethic. Mansfield coach Eric Farley raved about Hobbs’ conduct.

“Greta was and is a vital part of our team,” Farley said. “She’s an incredibly hard worker. She won’t back down whether she’s tired or in pain. I’ve never heard a complaint from her. I want every wrestler to have her attitude. It would make it easier for me to task. “

“The majority of my matches are against guys,” Hobbs said. “You feel like you’re at a disadvantage when you’re on the mat. So I have to work harder on my skills to outplay the guys.

Hobbs returned the praise to Farley, acknowledging he introduced her to the fundamentals of wrestling when she started competing less than two years ago.

“My coach works with me during the season and the offseason,” Hobbs said. “He was very helpful and taught me almost everything I know.”

Hobbs will continue her wrestling career after graduating in the spring. She committed to the University of Western New England, a Division III wrestling program. There was a time when Hobbs wasn’t sure if she had an opportunity at the college level.

“I didn’t initially think I could wrestle in college,” Hobbs said. “But when I wrote my college essay, it was all about wrestling. Then the Western New England coach called me and offered me a place on the team.

“She’s going to college and I’m incredibly proud of her,” Farley said. “The fact that she’s new to the sport and already has such drive and drive is great.”

The hope is that Connell and Hobbs inspire young girls to follow in their footsteps and struggle.

“I would say (to a budding female wrestler), it stinks when you lose,” Connell said. “But when you win, it’s great. It’s a great feeling. It’s worth it in the end.

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