Sports, The SportsTalk Shop

A Part of Me

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Today here at “The Shop,” our newest member of the ATVN Sports Department introduces herself as we look to enhance our coverage of local wrestling–women’s wrestling–in particular, as it continues its march to get sanctioned as an official sport in Pennsylvania.



I, Cameron Nunez, grew up in the beautiful suburban township of Forks in Easton, Pennsylvania, where wrestling tradition has lived for many years. Since I was two years old, my weekends have always been spent in a huge, musty gym. Even though my body hurt so much, and it smelled so horrible on some days, I fell in love with it so quickly that it eventually became a part of me.

In October 2005, my parents decided they wanted my older brother Nick to start wrestling for the local Forks Township pee wee wrestling team. From then on I spent some weekdays in that large maroon and gold wrestling room just running around while my dad watched my brother practice. As the little sister, I occasionally served as the “dummy” for my brother to perform some excruciating techniques on.

Naturally, most of my winter mornings started at abnormal hours as I was hauled to wrestling matches that were sometimes nearby but other times several hours away. The presence of hundreds of sweaty males on the weekends was not something a six-year-old girl would want to do, yet there was something about it that felt like home. I may have seen one or two girl wrestlers at this period, but I didn’t give it any thought until I was older.

Once I got older (about 11 years old), I started to do my own thing in the winter, which was basketball. I loved and enjoyed it so much, but it made me sad that I had to miss many of my brother’s matches for the historic wrestling program of Easton Area High School.

So, in the winter of my seventh-grade year, my closest friend and I agreed to oversee the wrestling program for middle school. Every day I would clean the filthy mats for the boys, which caused my socks to become the most hideous color brown. I enjoyed keeping the score for the middle school team on match nights before seeing my brother wrestle for the high school team. I recall attending my first-ever Easton match against Phillipsburg, our century-long rival. I was astounded by how crowded the gym would become with spectators on both sides, as well as by the powerful electric chemistry between the male competitors. It felt like a fever dream every time and I could not wait to officially be a part of it in the fall of 2017.

I was so excited to be a part of such a legendary program, even if it was just being a wrestling manager at the time.  I lived for waking up at five o’clock in the morning to go to tournaments like the Bethlehem Holiday Classic or Districts. In the winter of 2019, I remember going to Districts and seeing a girl wrestle one of our boys and thinking to myself, “Wow, I wish I could wrestle.”  Little did I know what next season was going to bring and that girl would later be my college teammate, Avia Bibeau.

The fall of my junior year came; I had just finished my field hockey season and was ready to start cleaning the mats. The night before the yearly winter sports meetings, I saw a post on the Easton Wrestling Twitter page saying, “Girls are more than welcome to join the team this year.” I told my parents.  They were a little concerned since I would be wrestling boys but as long as I did not care, they were ready to fully support me. My passion for the sport grew more and more every day in that room. All the wins and losses did not matter; I was happy to be part of many events, like the first match against Parkland. The thing that helped me realize that this was the right sport for me was when I won the 2020 Dick Rutt Memorial Award for my hard work/dedication in the room. Ironically this was the same award my brother won his senior year. It made me realize that if I keep pushing myself maybe this sport could open doors for me.

The summer before my senior season, my dad found a wrestling club in Stroudsburg where East Stroudsburg University Wrestling Coach Anibal Nieves would be coaching practices.  Little did I know by going to them, it would open up a major opportunity for me. I would go Mondays and Wednesdays to learn from him. I loved going so much that even in the fall after field hockey practice on those specific weeknights, I would head up to Stroudsburg for wrestling practice. One night after practice, Coach Nieves walked up to me and asked if I would be interested in taking a tour of ESU and possibly committing to wrestle at ESU. I remember thinking, “Wow, I really could wrestle in college”. A couple of weeks later, I took an official tour of ESU where I got to meet the Department Chairman of Athletic Training and got to see the wrestling room. I knew right after this would be my home for the next four years because I could wrestle, they had a top-of-line Athletic Training program, and it was close to home. A few months later on November 11, 2020, I officially signed my letter of intent to pursue my athletic and academic career as part of the Warrior Nation, aka East Stroudsburg University.

A few weeks later, my official senior wrestling season came but this year would be different because I would be a part of Easton’s first official girls wrestling team. I was excited to finally be able to wrestle only girls and get a feel for what was going to happen in college. I was lucky enough to have two Division One Leigh wrestlers to coach me through it.

The practices were hard, but nothing ever deterred my passion for the sport. Many wins and losses came that season, but it was great to be able to represent the Easton Red Rovers one last time throughout it all. One memory I carry with me forever is being able to go with my team to PA MyHouse State Championships and seeing hundreds of girls there. Sadly, I did not finish how I wanted, and then, just like that my high school wrestling career was over. This got me motivated for what the next four years were going to bring at ESU.

During the summer, I went to many freestyle tournaments and practices to learn freestyle, which helped me prepare for what women’s college wrestling was going to bring. The fall 2021 semester came;  it was time for my first two days, extra workouts, and weight management. Our preseason was a little thrown off due to Covid-19, but I managed to get in my multiple workouts a day. Early November was our first competition – the ESU Open – and I was tired from cutting weight but overall excited to wrestle in my first collegiate match. Sadly, it did not go my way, but it was an awesome experience. For the next couple of months, I continuously worked on my craft and just got better in the room every day. Our match against Elmira came and Coach Nieves told me I would not be able to wrestle in the actual match, but I would get an extra match against a girl that pinned me at the beginning of the season. Finally earning my first collegiate victory by pinning her, it got me motivated to compete in Regionals in February. My regional tournament did not go as I had hoped, but Coach assured me that if I wrestled the way I had in my two previous matches, I would be unbeatable the next season, and I was therefore eager to get ready for my sophomore campaign.

We are starting to get ready for winter break as I write this. Unfortunately, I am now sidelined due to back and shoulder concerns, so I did not participate in many matches this fall semester. However, I am hoping to resolve my back problems during the break so I can return stronger for the next semester. Although wrestling is essential to me, ultimately my health comes first. Young Cam would probably be awestruck but also proud of where she is now.  “Wrestling is a way of life” is one of my favorite Rudis shirts, and I’m delighted that it is!



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