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Female Wrestler Hosanna Kropp Breaks Down Barriers At Wellington High School Story by Y. A. Teitelbaum • Photos by Abner Pedraza

Hosanna Kropp has come a long way in a short time. Two years ago, the Wellington High School wrestler could barely lift the 45-pound weightlifting bar and was unable to do one pullup. Now the junior regularly benches 140 pounds with ease and does five pull-ups while wearing a 25-pound steel chain. “Hosanna’s work ethic is really unmatched,” wrestling coach Travis Gray said. “I have been coaching for 15 years, and I have never coached someone as committed and determined as her. If she can find somewhere to work out seven days a week, she will do it. All summer long, she has been attending camps, competing in tournaments and training in the weight room.” Kropp gained great experience by competing in several major tournaments over the summer, including the U.S. Marine Corps Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., held July 1522. She finished 2-2 in the individuals, highlighted by her second match, where she trailed 8-0 before rallying for a 15-14 victory. “I wrestle all year long so colleges can look at me,” said Kropp, who was homeschooled before arriving at WHS as a freshman. “Eventually, I want to win an Olympic title — that’s my ultimate dream.” The high school wrestling season begins in early November and ends with the state tournament in early March. During the high school season, Kropp usually gets a run in before school and lifts four days a week through her wrestling class. Wrestling practice lasts between an hour and 90 minutes. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she is an assistant coach at a youth wrestling class, and then wrestles in another practice from 6:30 to 8 p.m. After prac60

september 2017 | wellington the magazine

tice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she trains at PAL boxing. During the summer, Kropp lifts six days a week and wrestles six or seven days a week. She participates in highlevel camps to improve her wrestling and train freestyle for national tournaments. “I’d say I work way harder during the summer due to all the amazing national women wrestling opportunities that there are,” Kropp explained. Kropp competed in other sports before focusing on wrestling. She was a competitive figure skater, a pole vaulter and boxed at the PAL, which was where she learned about the Wellington wrestling program. “As a middle schooler, I was not very strong,” said Kropp, who turns 17 in November. “I wanted to learn how to fight so that I could get in shape and protect myself. I didn’t really know what wrestling was, but I really loved boxing and thought wrestling might be able to help me.” When she arrived at WHS, she headed to a wrestling meeting to find a room full of boys staring right at her. “Travis Gray asked me if I wanted to be a stat girl, I said, ‘No, I want to wrestle!’ It felt a little awkward that day being the only girl, but now my teammates are as close to me as family,” Kropp said. The Wolverines have won the last four district championships and the last two county championships, and expect

to have new wrestlers at eight of the 14 weight classes. Their top returnees are seniors Jared Abramson (126 pounds) and Eric Saber (170 pounds), along with Chris Difiore (106 pounds) and Cameryn Townsend (138 pounds). “I know one of Hosanna’s biggest goals is to make our varsity lineup, and it has been and will continue to be difficult, because she is at the weight classes where we have our best wrestlers,” Gray said. “Right now, we are just focused on getting her better every day.” Kropp wrestled at 126 pounds last season and is planning to compete for a varsity spot at 120 pounds. Whatever happens, she knows that the team fully supports her. “We have a great group of kids at Wellington, and they really received her well from the beginning,” Gray said. “I know her father was very concerned about her wrestling with boys — and just wrestling in general. I had a long talk with her father before she began, and I actually thought that I may have unintentionally talked her dad out of letting her come out for the team by telling him that we haven’t had any other girls stay with the program. I recommended that maybe she could have a friend come out for the team with her so she felt more comfortable. She proved me wrong. Ever since her first day, she has fit in with the team, and she really has earned the respect of her coaches and teammates through all of her hard work.” Kropp said she is known at school as “the girl wrestler” and wears it as a badge of honor. Wrestling has helped her develop character, which helps her in her everyday life. “To be a quality wrestler, I have

Wellington The Magazine September 2017  

September 2017 | ON THE COVER ON THE COVER Anne Caroline Valtin, executive director of the Great Charity Challenge,is proud of the work t...

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