"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."
– Maya Angelou

About

Wrestle Like A Girl was founded in mid-2016 by Sally Roberts, a U.S. Army combat veteran and 2x World Bronze Medalist in women’s wrestling on the premise that girls and women across the United States should be afforded opportunities to participate in the sport and that they can do anything. 

MISSION - The mission of Wrestle Like a Girl is to empower girls and women through the sport of wrestling to become leaders in life.

VISION - Our vision is to increase the opportunities for girls and women, who either wrestle, want to wrestle, or simply want to participate in a movement to own their personal space, own their voice and own their sense of self.

VIEW - Our view is that girls can do anything - especially wrestle. When we talk about wrestling, the benefits that participants get out of this sport are profound. Our impact is helping girls and young women learn where their self-confidence is, learn what resilience means, learn about healthy choices both physically and mentally, and learn how to dig deep within themselves so that they can become whoever, whatever they want to be both on and off the mat. We work to Empower, Advocate, Educate, Support and Grow.

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Empowerment
Camps & Clinics

Empowerment camps and clinics are more than just wrestling clinics; they work to develop the total athlete by educating wrestlers on the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, and the importance and application of sport psychology. Empowerment Camps and Clinics employ some of the nations best women’s wrestling clinicians to teach wrestling techniques. And utilizing the Wrestle Like A Girl handbook, they will share their personal stories and knowledge of how nutrition, hydration and sport psychology played into their successful careers. 

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High School Wrestling
Support & Initiatives

The Wrestle Like A Girl organization has a strong commitment to the growth and development of female wrestling in the United States by providing opportunities to wrestle at the high school level. Wrestle Like A Girl supports the start-up of new high school wrestling programs and advocates to increase the number of sanctioned girls high school state tournaments across the United States. Wrestle Like A Girl is proud to collaborate with other organizations and networks to grow female wrestling.  

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Collegiate Wrestling
Support & Initiatives

Wrestle Like Girl is currently working in collaboration with other agencys and organizations to determine the most effective way to bring women’s wrestling to the NCAA.

BOARD MEMBERS

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Sally Roberts - FOUNDER and Executive Director

Sally is a former elite wrestler, a former combat veteran and sport psychology consultant who founded Wrestle Like A Girl™ on the premise that girls can do anything and that through sport, they can realize their full potential.

She is living proof that girls can indeed do anything as she was the youngest of three children growing up and the first in her family to graduate high school, graduate college and earn an advanced degree. Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a 3-time national champion, 2003 World Cup Champion, 2003 & 2005 World Bronze Medalist and a 2008 Olympic Alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. She was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions. 

Sally received the 2016 Women in Sport Award on behalf of United World Wrestling and the International Olympic Committee. She is a board member of USA Wrestling, the United States Olympic Committee Youth Development Working Group and the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. She is an athlete ambassador for TrueSport, the grassroots organization for the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Sally and Wrestle Like A Girl were recently featured on Megyn Kelly’s Today show.  

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of Colorado - Colorado Springs and a Master of Arts degree in Sport and Performance Psychology from University of the Rockies. She has a certification in nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. When she is not flying around the country for Wrestle Like A Girl, Sally calls Colorado Springs, CO home and in her spare time she likes to hang out with her husband Dennis and their two pups.   


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DAVID GREVEMBERG - INTERIM CHAIR

David has decades of sports administration experience specifically in the disabled athlete realm. Over the course of his career, David has held positions at Disabled Sports, USA; the International Paralympic Committee and Glasgow 2014 Limited, the organizing committee for that year’s Commonwealth Games held in Scotland. A former competitive wrestler, he has also served as a coach, athlete agent, team administrator, consultant and Board member.

He is currently the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the organization responsible for the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and many other initiatives. David earned his Master of Science degree in Sports Administration from Georgia State University and his Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business from Springfield College. David resides in London, England with his wife and their two children.


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TELA Bacher - INTERIM VICE CHAIR

Tela’s passion is helping people develop a positive relationship with food and exercise and empowering all athletes and non athletes to be the best version of themselves. Raised by a single mother in Homer, Alaska, Tela grew up in the woods living from and close to the wild Alaskan wilderness. She found wrestling at Homer Middle School where she had to fight the school board to join the wrestling team. She went on to be the second female to place at the Alaska State Championships and she earn a spot on the first ever Women's Wrestling Olympic team in 2004. She is also a 2003 National Champion and 3x National Team Member.

Tela is currently the TRAILS Coordinator and Education Specialist at Independent Living Center, providing services to seniors and people and families living with disabilities. She earned her undergraduate in Psychology from Trinity College and her certification in Mind Body Eating Certification from the Institute for The Psychology of Eating. Tela homesteads in Homer, Alaska with her husband and their 3 children.


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JAMEELA PEDICINI - TREASURER

Jameela is committed to empowering women and girls – through policy, education, and sports – to exercise their voices and choices. She is a pioneer in the field of impact investing and has worked with public pension funds, university endowments, and private foundations to align their investments with their mission and incorporate environmental, social, and governance issues into investment decision making.

She is currently an Executive Director at Perella Weinberg Partners and co-leads the Mission Aligned Investment efforts of the firm. Previously she served as the first Vice President of Sustainable Investing at Harvard Management Company responsible for leading Harvard’s sustainable investing strategy. Jameela earned an MPhil in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford, an MSc from the University of Amsterdam, and a B.A. from Antioch University. Jameela lives in New York City..


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DR. AMANDA STANEC - BOARD MEMBER

Amanda grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada where she was an avid soccer player. She is committed to helping people live healthier lives by bringing together the sport, physical education, health and wellness communities in a comprehensive way. A highly published author and curriculum writer, Amanda has led projects on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the International Olympic Committee, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, United World Wrestling, NFL Play 60 and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to name a few. She is no stranger to hard work as she is a Boston Marathon (2014) and Ironman Coeur D'Alene (2015) finisher.

She is currently the Owner, Principal Consultant of Move Live Learn which provides contract services in research, curriculum writing, speaking, workshop development and facilitation. She earned her undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University, her Master of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her PhD in Kinesiology from the University of Virginia. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband Jim (who wrestled for Cornell University and was an All-American in 2001) and they are proud parents of three girls: ages 1, 6 and 8. The older girls wrestle for their dad and are excited that Missouri just announced girls wrestling at high school level!

ADVISORY COUNCIL

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ARNO NIEMAND

Arno is an accomplished wrestler, businessman and veteran having served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1958-60. After his military service he began working for Niemand Industries where he would quickly become President and CEO. He then founded Body Bar Systems in 1990 which sells fitness products worldwide and was the pioneer sponsor of the US Women's National Team that competed in the Olympic Games in 2004. Arno has a lifelong devotion to the sport of wrestling and his efforts have not gone unrecognized. In 2008 he received the FILA Gold Star, the highest award given to an individual by the world governing body of wrestling and in 2009, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame earning the Order of Merit.

Currently Arno is a renowned author with several books including “Miracle On The Mat” which chronicled Cornell College's (Iowa) road to the 1947 NCAA championship. He received his MBA from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia and his undergraduate degree from Cornell University where he also competed. Besides wrestling, running has been a concurrent passion as Arno was a competitive distance runner for several years. He resides in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Brenda.


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CHAD SHILSON

As the MN USA Wrestling/MN STORM Girls' and Women's Director & Coach, Chad is all in when it comes to increasing opportunities for our female wrestlers.  He's also no stranger to hard work as he has completed over 100 marathons and ultra-marathons and is a 15x National Champion in the USA Wrestling Veterans Division. He has been a financial advisor for the past two decades.

Chad is currently a Senior Vice President with RBC Wealth Management. He earned his undergraduate degree from Augsburg College where he also wrestled. Chad resides in Maple Grove, MN and has been married to his wife Margaret for more than 20 years. Their son and daughter are very active in wrestling as well; Tyler competes for the University of Wisconsin and Emily was a silver medalist at the 2017 Women’s World Cadet Championships in Athens, Greece; she was also the first female wrestler to qualify for the MN State Wrestling Tournament AAA.


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MILTON SPEID

Milton is an experienced business development and corporate social responsibility professional with extensive capabilities in developing global corporate philanthropy programs and creating strategic philanthropic partnerships. As the son of Jamaican immigrants, Milton has a personal commitment to poverty alleviation and cultivating relationships that maximize resources to achieve the greatest impact.

He is currently the Director of Development-Eastern Region at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Milton received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Hartford where he captained the Men’s Soccer Team. Milton lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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CLINT WATTENBERG

Clint is no stranger to the wrestling world having competed for Cornell University where he was a three-year captain and ended his collegiate career ranked second all-time for the Big Red in wins (113). He was an EIWA Champion, a 2x NCAA All-American, a competitor in the 2004 Olympic Trials (taking 3rd) and a member of the US Freestyle National Team from 2006-2008. Clint has deep coaching experience spanning more than a decade and across all age levels from returning to his alma mater to the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club to having founded and served as President of the New York Wresting Association for Youth. Clint is also a registered dietician and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

He is currently the Director of Performance Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute. Clint earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University and his Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from Ithaca College. He resides in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Sarah and their children, daughter Payton and son Landon.


STAFF

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SALLY Roberts - founder and Executive Director

Sally is a former elite wrestler, a former combat veteran and sport psychology consultant who founded Wrestle Like A Girl™ on the premise that girls can do anything and that through sport, they can realize their full potential.

She is living proof that girls can indeed do anything as she was the youngest of three children growing up and the first in her family to graduate high school, graduate college and earn an advanced degree. Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a 3-time national champion, 2003 World Cup Champion, 2003 & 2005 World Bronze Medalist and a 2008 Olympic Alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. She was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions. 

Sally received the 2016 Women in Sport Award on behalf of United World Wrestling and the International Olympic Committee. She is a board member of USA Wrestling, the United States Olympic Committee Youth Development Working Group and the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. She is an athlete ambassador for TrueSport, the grassroots organization for the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Sally and Wrestle Like A Girl were recently featured on Megyn Kelly’s Today show.  

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of Colorado - Colorado Springs and a Master of Arts degree in Sport and Performance Psychology from University of the Rockies. She has a certification in nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. When she is not flying around the country for Wrestle Like A Girl, Sally calls Colorado Springs, CO home and in her spare time she likes to hang out with her husband Dennis and their two pups.   


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AMY ZIRNEKLIS - DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Amy’s passion for the champion mindset skills learned through sport is a motivator for her career in sports management and international business. As Deputy Director, she supports WLAG in strategy and development. Her drive for empowering youth and increasing opportunities for women in sport has grown organically from her collegiate Division I volleyball experience at Rider University and throughout her professional experience of assisting in managing the Olympic medal winning U.S. Women’s National Road Cycling Team.

Amy is currently a Manager of Athlete Relations at USANA Health Sciences. She earned her MBA in Finance and International Business from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rider University and holds Certificates of International Affairs from NYU and The Law of the Sea from Rhodes Academy of Oceans and Law Policy. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT and is the happy mother of son Kintaro.


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AXA MOLINA – NATIONAL SANCTIONING MANAGER

Axa is from Federal Way, WA where she started wrestling her sophomore year of high school. She was a multi-time state placer before accepting a wrestling scholarship to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. While at Lindenwood she served as a captain, earned All-American honors and qualified for and competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Her passion for advancing Latinas in higher education led her to apply for the Miss Hispanic Seafair Scholarship program for women where she earned the coveted program title. Her role with WLAG is to work with USA Wrestling’s State Sanctioning Task Force and each of the remaining unsanctioned states to get more girls high school wrestling divisions established.

Axa is a former assistant coach at Grays Harbor College where she helped train five All-Americans and one national champion. She earned  her Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training with a minor in nutrition from Lindenwood University. Axa enjoys baking and creating new recipes for loved ones to savor! She lives in Seattle, WA.