Matcats earn War of the Roses regional coaches award for support of girls wrestling

GRASS LAKE, MI — Matt and Violetta Cepak’s oldest daughter was introduced to the sport of wrestling through the couple’s son.

The Cepak’s were at a practice for their son and Brent Harvey, founder of the War of the Roses all-girls wrestling series, had both of his daughters practicing.

“Olivia said ‘girls can wrestle,'” Matt Cepak said.

That was all it took, the Cepaks said.

Olivia’s first all-girls tournament was USA Wrestling’s junior nationals in Fargo, N.D., where she went 1-2.

The next all-girls wrestling tournament she wrestled in was folkstyle nationals in Oklahoma City and she finished second.

Today, Olivia is a junior at the University of the Cumberlands and wrestles and pole vaults.

The Cepak’s son Matthew is now 12 and wrestles alongside their 7-year-old daughter Isabella for the South Lyon Matcats.

There are seven girls wrestling for South Lyon.

“It’s going to be a high school sport,” Matt Cepak predicted. “There are going to be girls wrestling teams.”

For now though, the Cepaks enjoy competing at the War of the Roses all-girls tournaments.

“I think it’s important that girls have their own tournaments,” Violetta Cepak said.

The Matcats won the War of the Roses Central Region National Coaches Award because of the club’s continued efforts to expand girls wrestling within their club and in the surrounding region.

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Dominic Adams is a journalist and wrestling coach based in Fenton, Mich. He can be reached via email here.