By Ray Hamill — Arcata’s Maeve Moore is a success story the H-DNL would not have seen a few years ago, and the latest example of how one of the fastest growing sports in the nation is taking a foothold here in Humboldt County.
Last week Moore signed a letter of intent to wrestle next year at Southern Oregon University, taking her talents to the collegiate level less than three years after she first took up the sport.
It’s an opportunity that would not have been available to her a few years ago, but a door that is opening ever wider for local girls, as the sport of women’s wrestling begins to build momentum in high schools and colleges across the nation.
And it’s an opportunity Moore is happy to take advantage of.
“I think the fastest growing sport right now is women’s wrestling,” the Tigers senior said. “There are a lot of programs in college and high school offering women’s teams, and now girls don’t have to compete with the boys because there are no other options.”
That growth was evident on the North Coast this past season, with the inaugural all-girls H-DNL wrestling championships, while California is one of a growing number of states that now offer all-girls state championships.
For Moore, however, the opportunity wasn’t always there.
She not only had to work hard to earn a place on a college team, but she also had to work quickly, only taking up the sport as a sophomore.
“When I was a freshman, my brother (Ben) was a sophomore and his friends convinced to try out for the wrestling team,” she said. “So I managed the team, and I just loved it.”
The following year, Moore decided to try out for the team herself.
“It looked like fun, so I gave it a try and I loved it immediately,” she said.
As the only girl on the team for her first two years, however, it wasn’t an easy path to success.
“It was pretty difficult,” Moore said. “But the boys became family, and I felt very accepted and supported.”
By Moore’s senior year, she was named one of the team captains and led the way on a girls team of six wrestlers.
The reason for choosing Southern Oregon was founded in two tournaments she competed in as a junior.
The first was the 2018 North Coast Section championships, which she admits was an eye opener.
“It was incredible seeing that level of wrestling in girls my age,” she said, adding that it inspired her to want to do better.
That year Moore also competed as part of a California all-star girls team, defeating a Southern Oregon opponent, which immediately caught the attention of SOU coach Mike Ritchey.
“He asked me if I wanted to wrestle at Southern Oregon,” Moore said. “And I liked the school. It’s a really nice location. Ashland is really pretty and it’s smaller, which I like.”
Moore joins other former H-DNL girls wrestlers to recently take their talents to the collegiate level.
Eureka’s Marie Seely wrestles for Southwestern Oregon Community College, while current McKinleyville senior Audriana Beattie will wrestle at York College in Nebraska next year.