South Jersey wrestling sisters inspire girls to join the sport

UPPER TOWN, NJ (WPVI) — “There have to be two people in a sport. You have to have someone who makes you better,” said Brynn Cunningham of Sea Isle, New Jersey. “To me, that person is my sister.”

Brynn, 11, may be older than her sister. But 9-year-old Keira Cunningham first started wrestling with the Upper Township Green Hornets.

“Even so, some people say it’s not a sport for girls,” Keira said. “But we show that you can do everything that boys can do.”

Keira first showed interest in the sport at the age of 5 after seeing her male cousin compete. After trying it out for herself, she was hooked.

Brynn initially had reservations about joining her sister, but after seeing the newcomers’ performances, she wanted to try it for herself.

“When my sister started, there were only three girls on the team,” Brynn said. “And now it’s 23.”

Both girls have proven themselves in local, state and national tournaments. Each has secured state finals wins in their weight classes.

Most recently, Keira took first place for Girls 9U 75 lbs at the Annual Kick Off Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This victory fulfilled a third of her dream of becoming a Trinity Award winner. She must crash the upcoming Tulsa Nationals and Reno Worlds tournaments to earn the tricky title. After that, Keira has her sights set on high school, college and Olympic-level wrestling.

But win or lose, both sisters make their family and community proud.

“To see her as a dad is crazy,” said her father, Joe Cunningham. “I struggled growing up, but they’re already a lot more successful than I’ve ever been.”

Another coach, Jerry Stroh, has been with the Upper Township Green Hornets since the 1980s. He credits the Cunningham sisters with helping grow the sport.

“They help a lot, bring more girls because they see how much they’ve won, their trophies, and the girls say, ‘I can do that,'” said Stroh.

To learn more about Upper Township Green Hornets wrestling, visit their website.

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https://6abc.com/south-jersey-wrestling-sisters-inspire/12702747/ South Jersey wrestling sisters inspire girls to join the sport

Alley Einstein

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