Warwick 12-year-old Madison Volpe made history last weekend, winning the junior varsity middle school state championship in her weight class by pinning multiple opponents.
Wrestling has historically been a sport dominated by male athletes, however, more and more females throughout the world have thrown their hat in the ring and have found success.
In the past decade, New England has seen some of its first female state champions at different levels, and Volpe is another name added to that very short list.
Maddie’s father, Guy Moniz, was a big reason why she decided to give wrestling a try a few years back.
“It’s actually pretty funny. Me and my dad used to always play fight in the living room and would wrestle so I got right into it,” said Maddie.
This winter season marks Maddie’s third year in the sport, and her first year wrestling for Warwick Vets. She began wrestling at the youth level, where last year she finished runner up in the state tournament. She also wrestled for the city’s advanced travel team, and competed in the first-ever Wonderwoman tournament in Londonderry, New Hampshire and has been catching the eyes of many in the process.
It did not take long for Maddie to impress her coaches, teammates and fans, as she fell in love with the sport in her first year and has been improving ever since.
“It was toward the end of my first year and beginning of my second year. My coaches told me that I had the natural talent, parents would come up to me and tell me, ‘you did so good out there,’ they would be cheering for me and telling me how I made an impact on other little girls wanting to wrestle and watching me out there was exhilarating for them,” said Maddie.
As one of the first girls to wrestle in the city of Warwick, it has not always been easy for Maddie. However, she has enjoyed making her mark with the Hurricanes, and has appreciated the support of her teammates along the way.
“Sometimes they tease me and make jokes, but whenever I wrestle, they are right there behind me. It’s great having a team where I know that they will back me up and support me. It’s not tough, but I also wouldn’t say that it is the easiest thing in the world,” said Maddie.
Maddie’s state championship win helped qualify her for the middle school varsity state championship this upcoming weekend at Ponaganset, where she will once again look to make noise against some of the state’s top grapplers. Maddie likes breaking down barriers, and proving skeptics wrong.
“When I’m out there, I like to prove the stereotypes wrong. It’s not just boys that can wrestle, and the best way that I can prove that is by never giving up,” said Maddie, who also hopes to take her wrestling career to the collegiate level. “I think I want to take it far. I want to try to get a scholarship in college.”