Ruby Julien-Newsom transcends categories on the mat

Among a line up of boys in singlets stands one girl: Ruby Julien-Newsom (11), the starting 126-pounder on boys varsity wrestling. 

“My coach gave me the chance to wrestle off the guys on our team … I beat [them] for the spot,” Julien-Newsom said. 

As one of only three girls across the TPHS wrestling teams, Julien-Newsom took advantage of this opportunity. 

“Even if you are a varsity girl and you wrestle another varsity girl, it doesn’t count toward your team score,” Julien-Newsom said. “I got to wrestle off against varsity boys from other schools and then actually contribute to our team, and I thought that was really cool.” 

Julien-Newsom placed second in the boys varsity wrestling All Avocado League — one of her many achievements in wrestling. She is a 2X Master Qualifier and last season won the North County Conference Scholar Athlete award. At TPHS, she is the girls wrestling team’s captain, this season boasting the most pins on the team for two years running. Julien-Newsom also placed second in the NCC and was in the top three in every tournament this season. 

“Right off the bat I knew there was something special about her,” Michael Bigrigg, head varsity coach of the TPHS wrestling team, said. “She was able to pick things up really quickly. We took her to a competition … within a month of her starting wrestling … and she took third. Since then, she’s just been very dominant, she has a very high win rate.” 

Julien-Newsom’s accomplishments do not come without effort. 

“Ruby is definitely the hardest worker on the team outside and inside the room. She goes to the gym five days a week,” Jacob Cava (11), captain of the boys wrestling team, said. 

Julien-Newsom’s love for the sport came recently, having started in June 2022.  

“My freshman year … I overheard one of the guys on the team talk about weight classes and I thought, ‘What if I did wrestling?’” Julien-Newsom said. “I looked into it and contacted one of the girls who had been on the team and one of the coaches and said I was thinking of joining the team.”

It can be intimidating to join a male-dominated sport, according to Julien-Newsom. After helping out at the wrestling booth at freshman orientation, Julien-Newsom realized that a major factor keeping girls from joining was that it “seems scary.” 

“It will be really awesome if we could get more girls on the team next year,” Julien-Newsom said. “I get why it’s scary: you’re throwing people around, you get thrown around, but I think that’s what makes it so fun. It’s like … ‘Oh wow, I’m doing this sport that people are scared of.’” 

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