Valley wrestler competes in national event today | New


SELINSGROVE — Anna Kalcich joined Selinsgrove’s junior wrestling team in eighth grade “on a whim” after growing tired of football.

Today she competes in the USA Wrestling Championship in Fargo, ND

She quickly embraced the male-dominated sport. “I like all the different elements, the technique and the discipline,” said Kalcich, who will be a senior this fall.

However, it took a few years to develop skills while battling the boys.

“It was really tough, but I love wrestling,” Kalcich said. “I toughened him up.”

Her tenacity paid off and with the support of coach Seth Martin who actively recruited girls into the program, Kalcich was able to compete last year with other women and started winning matches.

“Anna was the only girl when she started wrestling in eighth grade,” Martin said. Last season there were nine girls on the junior and varsity teams and he invited Selinsgrove High School graduate and former wrestler Shuntil Snyder to help coach them.

“It’s a growing sport in the United States, Pennsylvania and Selinsgrove and I’m all for the growth of a women’s team,” he said.

“I think there have always been girls interested in contact sports, but now they do.”

As for Anna Kalcich, Martin describes her advancement in the sport as “transformative. When she started, she didn’t talk much and was very quiet. It was a great journey to watch her gain confidence.

In April, she and teammates Neveah Fegley, Sabrina Fegley and Timiah Fegley competed in the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association’s East National competition.

Today, Kalcich will be the first woman from Selinsgrove to compete in the freestyle event at the national championship in Fargo, ND. Competition continues Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It will be a great experience for her,” Martin said.

With the financial support of several individuals and local businesses, her mother, Tina Kalcich, is traveling with her and will encourage her in the stands.

“I almost feel like I’m more nervous,” said Tina Kalcich, who has been a big presence at her daughter’s games.

Unlike her husband, Jes Kalcich, who bought Anna’s wrestling gear when she expressed interest, Tina Kalcich was not initially supportive of their daughter’s choice of sport.

“Once I understood what this sport is, I love it,” said Tina Kalcich.

For Anna Kalcich, sport is more than just competition.

“It taught me discipline and how to handle myself in certain situations. It taught me to calm my nerves,” said Kalcich, who intends to continue wrestling in college.

In the meantime, she is a strong advocate for more girls to participate and for women’s wrestling to be sanctioned by the PIAA.

For this to happen, 100 school districts must have board-approved teams. There are now 54 board-approved teams across the state, Martin said.

“I want to pave the way for Selinsgrove to get a women’s wrestling team,” Kalcich said.

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