Rock Solid

Zuchowski brings her skills to the wrestling mat

Wearing a red and white singlet and black wrestling shoes, freshman Justine Zuchowski steps onto the mat ready to show the boys what she can do; that girls can wrestle too.

“Wrestling is really big in my family and my uncle never had a girl, and he really wanted a girl. So I was always spending time with my uncle. And he was a state champ for six years. So I just kind of took after him,” says Zuchowski. Her background is why she started wrestling and the reason she plans to continue on with the sport.

She states, “Wrestling kind of lets me get out my energy. And another big thing is my godson who passed away last year. I always have his birth and death day on my arm or my leg when I wrestle even for practice. I don’t wrestle without him.” Zuchowski has been wrestling for a total of three years. She wrestled at other schools other than Slippery Rock, such Saint Mary’s and Ridgway High.

“It’s a lot better here than in my old schools. They never had a girl [wrestler] and they didn’t have anything to help me. Like they didn’t do one on one with me. They didn’t explain a lot of moves. And here there’s a female coach, which is awesome. She wrestled whenever she was my age. And she was showing me all the techniques that I should know.” Zuchowski sets new bars in Slippery Rock wrestling not only opening up the mat for other girls and wrestlers from all backgrounds, but breaking barriers for other sports as well. This 2019 team welcomed her with open arms, and the program cannot wait for her future years of competing for Slippery Rock.