DeRenzo breaks stereotypes on the mat

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lakeland High School wrestler Angelia DeRenzo gets it done on the mat against her competition.

The freshman is in her second year wrestling, and as she continues to improve, things have gone well. In just a short time, DeRenzo has already learned some valuable lessons and is excited about the potential she has as she continues to stick with the sport.

“I’ve learned that when you lose a match, it’s always a learning opportunity,” DeRenzo said. “Each year, I learn something new in the wrestling world, and my technique continues to improve.”

Email newsletter signup

DeRenzo wrestles in the 132-pound weight class and got into wrestling because she wanted to try something new. Her older brothers used to wrestle, which also sparked her interest in giving it a try. Her family, along with her teammates and coaches, play a part in her motivation. They are always encouraging her to keep going and instill confidence in her.

Throughout her two years of wrestling, DeRenzo has stepped in front of many different faces, including mostly boys as well as a couple of girls. Her first year, she admitted things were a bit tough, but she saw an opportunity for a bounce-back this season. The Lakeland freshman admits she often gets a sense from her competition that they think she is weak, but it’s always a different story once matches start. There are preconceived notions about female wrestlers in a sport dominated by males, but that also gives DeRenzo a lift when she steps on the mat.

“I do it to prove a point,” she said. “Females can do what we want and break the stereotype.”

DeRenzo also gets questions from people who have seen her wrestle, and there is always an intrigue. They always wonder if she gets hurt or how tough it is to wrestle. Throughout her two years so far, DeRenzo hasn’t thought about quitting. She knew when went out for the wrestling team, it would be a challenge, and she has welcomed it by pushing herself beyond her boundaries.

“I’m looking forward to her growth as she continues,” Lakeland Coach Nathan Hoffman said. “She has been doing well. She has a wrestling background with her family. Good things can happen for her as she continues.”

The Lakeland freshman sits at 14-15 on the season, having wrestled matches at both the JV and varsity levels. But as she is still young to the sport, there is plenty of growth to be had. While DeRenzo isn’t the first female wrestler ever, she knows that everyone who has done it so far encourages the next girl to try it.