GREAT FALLS – There was no grace period for new Providence women’s wrestling coach Carlene Sluberski upon arrival in Great Falls.
After graduating with a master’s in teaching from the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) in December, she was on the road with the Argos in Canada less than a month later.
“Definitely been crazy,” she said. “I’m learning a lot, but it’s been a really good experience overall. That’s really why I wanted to come here, I wanted to learn as much as I could and that’s what I’m getting.”
Sluberski came to Great Falls following the departure of former Argo coach Tony DeAnda shortly before the season started. Men’s assistant coach Michael Ayala stepped in on an interim basis, but with no dedicated coach in the fold, the Argos made the decision to red-shirt most of the team until a successor was appointed.
Enter Sluberski, who brings a wealth of competitive and coaching experience to the position. She’s a two-time member of the USA Women’s Senior National Team and served as a training partner at the 2013 and 2014 world championships and at the 2016 summer Olympics. She’s not far removed from her competitive wrestling career and can certainly relate to the current Argo team.
“Definitely, that’s a huge part of it,” Sluberski said. “Men’s wrestling and women’s wrestling are different, and there’s a lot of aspects that you don’t think about in women’s wrestling.
“Girls need that social support and thrive more on that, and I think a lot of time on men’s teams they’re tough and told what to do and that’s how they do it and that’s it. Girls like to talk about things and analyze everything.”
Though the majority of the Argos are red-shirting this season, there are four wrestlers who competed at the varsity level this year and will make the trip to the WCWA national championships in Georgia Feb 8-9.
“We have a couple girls ranked pretty high,” Sluberski said. “Dajan (Treder) is ranked second and Yurie (Yoneoka) is ranked third and so we’re going in with the expectation of becoming all-Americans. This whole year has just been a team process, so this is their time to go and represent themselves and show what they’ve been working for.”