Athlete of the Month: Taylor Lewis-Richardson

Courtesy+of+Taylor+Lewis-Richardson

Courtesy of Taylor Lewis-Richardson

Alex Cirino

Coming into your first season playing a sport at the varsity level can be rather challenging—especially when that sport is wrestling. Adapting to the sport’s fitness requirements and mental determination hasn’t gotten in the way of sophomore Taylor Lewis-Richardson, who enjoyed her debut season on Wilson’s wrestling team.

Lewis-Richardson is a multi-sport athlete who has participated on the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. She was encouraged to join the wrestling team after two of her friends convinced her to try it out alongside them. Eventually, they didn’t end up on the team, leaving Lewis-Richardson alone to try the sport out for herself. “Last year I was a little bored in the winter,” she said. “I was like ‘let me make sure I stay active this time around.’”

The inaugural wrestling season has been a challenge, but an overall a rewarding one. Competing against almost all male opponents, most of whom are stronger, has allowed Lewis-Richardson to take on a different mentality. “I just don’t think about it too much,” she said. “I focus more on weight classes rather than who I’m wrestling.” Lewis-Richardson began the season in the 120 weight class but dropped down to the 115 class mid-season, a change that has played out in her favor. 

In the Melee on the Metro 5 tournament, a two-day event hosted by Wilson, Lewis-Richardson qualified for the second day of the competition after winning her individual match-up against rival school Bishop O’Connell. “[The win] was a pretty big deal for me because it was the longest I’ve ever lasted in a tournament.” 

Lewis-Richardson also had the opportunity to participate in Wrestle Like a Girl night on January 31 at American University. The event took place before American’s wrestling team took on the Naval Academy, and featured Lewis-Richardson and her fellow female teammates taking on other female wrestlers from around the DMV area.

Wrestle Like a Girl was founded by Olympic wrestler Sally Roberts, and is focused on empowering girls and women through increasing opportunities in female wrestling.

Self-improvement is what has motivated Lewis-Richardson the most as wrestling embodies a completely different mentality than the other sports she plays. “All of the other sports I’ve played have been team-based, but in wrestling, it’s just you on the mat,” Lewis-Richardson added. As her wrestling season is coming to an end, a friend’s piece of advice has become one of her biggest takeaways from her new experience: ‘You get what you deserve in wrestling.’ “If I want to strive to get better it shows me that I have to put in the work,” she said.