CENTRAL FALLS, RI (WPRI) ─ The Providence County Wrestling Club was founded in order to attract kids to the sport.
The gym has grown and produced many successful wrestlers, including Lakiesha Sullivan, who became the first woman wrestler to compete at the collegiate level this year.
“We do an all-girls practice once a week and she’ll come in and talk to the girls,” PCWC Co-Founder Eugene Monteiro said.
Her message to the girls?
“Don’t give up,” relayed Monteiro. “No matter how hard it is, keep trying.”
Sullivan has inspired the next wave of female wrestlers, including Central Falls High School senior Amber Aguilar.
Aguilar said she, like Sullivan, hopes to pursue wrestling at the collegiate level.
“She’s a role model to me, I really looked up to her,” Aguilar said.
The younger girls in the gym are now looking up to both Aguilar and Sullivan.
“I look up to them so much, they taught me everything,” Sixth-grader Isabella Rose Brown said. “When I mess up, they’re very nice and kind about it.”
Aguilar and Sullivan are laying the groundwork and teaching lessons girls will carry with them long after their wrestling days are over.
“Girls can do anything they want to,” Aguilar said.