Meet Coach Gannone: RV welcomes its first head coach for girl’s wrestling

As Women’s History Month gets underway, RV makes strides in athletic equality with a motivated new head coach for the girl’s team

Alexandria Carr, Managing Editor

Former boys wrestling coach Joshua Gannone has been approved as the first official head coach for the girls wrestling team in Rancocas Valley sports history.  Coach Gannone has been coaching at RV since 1997 for the boy’s team and has taught many youth classes including ones at his own wrestling school. Gannone has been a major part of RV history.

“I wrestled at Rancocas Valley from 90 to 94, and then I ended up moving back home into the Mount Holly area, at which point I became an assistant coach for Brian Bowker. The first couple years that I started coaching with Brian we also had one of our, you know, as of right now our best girl wrestler ever” Coach Gannone said recounting his history with RV. There is inspiration behind his move to the newly formed girls team: his daughter, Bella.  Just as his father had taken him to wrestling practices, Gannone immersed his daughter in the art of wrestling.  

“ My daughter started wrestling. So, as my son got older, he’s a few years older than my daughter…and as he graduated I was thinking about kind of retiring at which point. I’m asking my daughter if she wants to stick with wrestling and kind of stay with it and she did.” Gannone said.

Not only has Gannone made history at RV by being the first official girls wrestling coach, he has the added responsibility of providing a safe environment for the girls while also training them to the best of their abilities for competition.

“ You know, I guess communication, and the athletes, being honest about how they’re feeling is super important. You know the sport of wrestling is super demanding and requires a lot of discipline and training for off-hours training. So, you may not feel great all the time when you’re training, but especially with COVID and the way it can spread like wildfire just kind of have, to be honest as an athlete. Speak your mind to the coaches and then it’s the coach’s job to make sure that the athletes are safe,” he said.

There are many struggles in sports especially with COVID-19, but Coach Gannone is determined to make the most of the 2021 girls wrestling season.  Gannone is hopeful to get the girls to their best abilities for competition season.

“ You want to be able to train practice and then showcase your skills. So maybe we’re not getting as many opportunities this year because of it, but hopefully, the kids are, hopefully, we’ll have a full season and the kids are able to showcase their skills,”  Gannone said.

Coach Gannone is not only hopeful for a full season, he is also hopeful to get more girls interested in the sport.  Many girls may not see themselves fit for the sport because it has been dominated by men for so long.  However, Coach Gannone comes off as motivating and welcoming to any girls who want to better themselves through sports.

“This year is a tough year and that you know as a coaching staff we hope that we’re able to kind of really build the program. So, you know if there’s girls in the school district that are looking to change their lives right, make something to prove to themselves, if they’re looking to challenge themselves and grow as a human, as a student-athlete that wrestling could definitely be the bus or, or the motive to take that student there,” he said.

It’s fitting that RV would welcome its first girls wrestling coach and team in March, which is Women’s History Month. Despite the challenges this year presents, RV is excited to have Coach Joshua Gannone as the first girls wrestling coach and hopeful for the future of girls wrestling at Rancocas Valley.