Mia Marchitto won at 145 pounds in the L.I. girls...

Mia Marchitto won at 145 pounds in the L.I. girls wrestling championships on Feb. 4. Credit: George A Faella

Most high school students probably would use their ninth period off to go home, but Mia Marchitto goes straight to the wrestling room to help her coach set up for practice.

Marchitto is a senior at Sachem East, and the only girl on the wrestling team. But, that doesn’t bother her. “My team is like a second family to me,” Marchitto said. “It’s funny, they all act as if they’re my little brothers.”

Her interest in wrestling began in middle school. “A friend of mine said to me 'you should join the wrestling team.’ So, I just thought, why not give it a shot,” she said.

Marchitto joined the boys wrestling team as a seventh grader and was one of three girls on that team. “Everyone was super accepting and supportive of me joining,” she said.

Eager to learn more about the sport and get experience on the mat, Marchitto’s first season didn’t go quite as she had planned. “It was kind of rough,” she said. “There were a lot of forfeits simply because I was a girl. It’s hard to learn and get better when you’re not getting those opportunities.”

Despite the challenges, Marchitto continued through eighth grade and joined the high school team as a sophomore. Coach Ray Pickersgill says she’s been a dedicated teammate ever since.

“Every day she helps me set up and clean up practice,” Pickersgill said. “She’s always trying to help others and she’s always there supporting her teammates even when she’s not competing.”

Sachem East doesn’t have a girls wrestling program, so most of Marchitto’s matchups are against boys. “It hasn’t been easy for her,” Pickersgill said. “But she’s always stuck it out, and I give her a lot of credit.”

Marchitto was not selected to compete in the state girls wrestling invitational in Syracuse on Jan. 26, but she still made the five-hour journey in hopes of making it as an alternate. “We waited, hoping someone wouldn’t make weight, but unfortunately, that never happened,” she said.

“It was disappointing,” Pickersgill said. “ Especially for her, because she wants to compete at the highest level.”

But on Feb. 4, Marchitto won the 145-pound title at the Long Island girls wrestling championships where she had three pins and one decision. “She looked dominating the whole time,” Pickersgill said. “She showed people that she belonged upstate.”

Throughout her wrestling career, Marchitto says she’s learned how to stay determined even through the toughest of times. “I’ve had to prove myself time and time again,” she said. “No matter what I go through, I know I can fight my way through it and come out on top.”

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