CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — This past summer, Canandaigua became the first high school in Section V to form its own girls wrestling team. The Braves will send two girls out of 24 from Section V to compete in the first-ever NYSPHSAA girls wrestling invitational on Friday.

The one-day event will be held at Onondaga Community College in the Syracuse region.

Braves head coach, Eric Mullen, said that the interest in the sport has grown not just in New York, but around the country since girls wrestling was named an Olympic sport in 2004.

“It’s been a lot,” said Sophie Pollack, who’s been competing since the 8th grade. “Even more at lighter weights. But all my friends that I wrestled with forever. They’ve kind of like brought their friends then now we’re all friends. It’s just great.”

Pollack is currently ranked 10th in the country for her weight class and has signed to wrestle at Delaware Valley next winter. The senior will compete in the New York state invitational tomorrow in the 185lbs weight class.

“For girls that are even thinking about it just try it because it’s not going to hurt you at all,” said Pollack. “You’re just going to gain so much and so many life lessons from it.”

Fellow wrestler, Elizabeth Rushman, who will also wrestle in the New York state invitational, said she sees many young girls observing and wanting to join the sport.

“They’re going to see us do it and it feels pretty good to know we’re going to be a step in that,” said Rushman.

Pollack comes from a wrestling background as her older brother, Joey, won a sectional title for the Braves in 2018. Although she had been competing against boys for the school before this past season, she was happy to find out the school offered a girls-only option.

“I was a little nervous because like I didn’t know how many girls were going to come out and actually wrestle,” said Pollack. “But I remember walking into the wrestling room for an offseason practice for [Eric] Mullen. I was like ‘Mullen, guess what I have a birthday present for you,’ and I brought my friend Liz [Rushman] with me. I was like, ‘look who’s back.’ He was like ‘I got a present for you too.'”

Rushman has wrestled since the fifth grade and said she has known Mullen for several years.

“He’s always like ‘what’s up Rushman,'” said Rushman. “Every time he sees me. It’s kind of a good feeling to get back in here and have him be like ‘what’s up Rushman’ and I’m like ‘Hey guys I’m back.'”