Meet Nyatasha Jackowicz: Wantagh’s First Female Wrestler

Meet Nyatasha Jackowicz: Wantagh's First Female Wrestler

Dan Parker, Editor-in-Chief

Wantagh High School’s wrestling program has gained numerous accolades in its illustrious history. However, this year the wrestling program was given something that it had never received since its inception: a girl.

Sophomore Nyatasha Jackowicz is on the JV wrestling team, with a current record of 1-1, and she’s the first female wrestler to compete for Wantagh. Jackowicz only started wrestling this year, but she’s been practicing judo for eight years, a martial art that is similar to wrestling in numerous ways.

The first question that may spring to most people’s minds is: How do her parents feel about this? Jackowicz says that both her parents are supportive of her wrestling. Although wrestling is recognized as a male-dominated sport, Jackowicz doesn’t see it this way. “I’m treated nicely by the other guys, and I’m not treated any differently during practices,” she says. “The same goes for matches. My opponents wrestle me like they would anybody else.”

Jackowicz isn’t a Wantagh native; she moved here from Baldwin in ninth grade, but she’s very excited to be able to be a part of Wantagh’s wrestling program. “The coaches are extremely supportive and accepting,” she mentioned, “They’re really great coaches.”

Wrestling coach and National Wrestling Hall of Famer Paul Gillispie is absolutely thrilled about having Jackowicz as part of the team. “You wouldn’t even know she’s a girl,” Gillispie mentioned. “She really has adapted well to the team.” Coach Gillispie also added that in his nearly forty years of coaching, he coached only one other girl, who unfortunately quit. “But Nyatasha won’t quit,” Gillispie added, “She’s very tough and she’s a great person.”

Jackowicz’s practice partner, freshman Brian Hood, was pleasantly surprised by Jackowicz’s performance. “The team was stunned because she’s the only girl who’s been on the team, and nobody expected her to come up this strong,” Hood said, “As a practice partner, she’s gotten stronger and she’s been paying attention to how she does the moves. She’s just started wrestling and she does the moves well.”

She’s currently unsure if she wants to continue wrestling into college, but for now she will enjoy her time wrestling for Wantagh. Jackowicz strongly believes more girls in Wantagh should pursue wrestling. “Other girls should definitely do it,” she insisted, “Wrestling is fun. Nobody is going to bite!”