The idea was so alarmingly preposterous to the Rebecca Wright‚??s parents, they nearly said no.
Their slender, young daughter ‚?? a cheerleader and barely into her teens ‚?? wanted to spend her freshman high school season battling against boys on the wrestling mat.
And Connie Wright couldn‚??t help thinking that if Rebecca didn‚??t wind up with broken bones, she‚??d surely need her head examined.
‚??I had my reservations against it,‚?Ě Connie Wright said. ‚??I was a little bit uneasy about it.‚?Ě
Not after Rebecca Wright has compiled an 8-4 record at the 106-pound weight class for District 2 Class 2A runner-up Lake-Lehman ‚?? with all the wins coming by forfeit and all the defeats coming by pin.
But it turned out there was nothing wrong with Rebecca Wright‚??s ambitious idea.
‚??It‚??s a lot of fun,‚?Ě said Wright, the daughter of Bob and Connie Wright of Sweet Valley.
She just wishes most of her success, or even all the defeats, would have been decided through actual competition.
‚??Some teams will have a 106-pounder and they don‚??t want to wrestle me because I‚??m a girl,‚?Ě Rebecca Wright said. ‚??I could see why. It‚??s a no-win situation for a boy, even if he does pin me or I pin him. It‚??s kind of a downer.
‚??I want to wrestle.‚?Ě
She got that chance a couple of times this season.
Most notably, Rebecca Wright registered a takedown in a match against Wyoming Area ‚?? taking a quick lead that elicited delightful support from the stands.
‚??The crowd kind of erupted. She gave the home fans a thrill,‚?Ě Lake-Lehman coach Tom Williams said. ‚??It was pretty neat, and I think it was pretty neat for her, too.‚?Ě
‚??She almost had it against Wyoming Area,‚?Ě her mom said proudly. ‚??She can bridge really well. But she can‚??t bridge out of it when he gets under her head.‚?Ě
The bridge Rebecca Wright took to the wrestling mats was made smoother by her brother.
Bobby Wright is a 160-pound junior in Lake-Lehman‚??s starting lineup, and helped sell his parents on the thought of a wrestling Rebecca.
‚??It wasn‚??t so much my mom, it was my dad (who had reservations),‚?Ě Bobby Wright said. ‚??I told him we‚??d teach her, we‚??d take care of her.‚?Ě
Rebecca‚??s teammates aren‚??t the only ones around the mat watching her back.
Williams won‚??t send her out to lock horns with an opponent he feels may become especially aggressive wrestling against a girl.
‚??She‚??s brand new to the sport. We just don‚??t want to put her in a dangerous position,‚?Ě said Williams, who believes Rebecca‚??s past experience in the sports of cheerleading and gymnastics developed enough athleticism to attempt the sport of wrestling. ‚??We‚??re trying to give her opportunities to experience some success.‚?Ě
Rebecca Wright has been considering giving wrestling a try for some time.
‚??I‚??ve been interested ever since I was in seventh grade,‚?Ě she said.
During that time, she was a member of the All-Star cheerleaders and was also a cheerleader for the school football teams in the Lake-Lehman district.
This year, she received her chance to make a move to wrestling through circumstance.
Lehman began the season by taking a couple of forfeits at the 106-pound weight class because the team didn‚??t have anyone to fill that void.
‚??Basically, we had an opening that we were having a hard time filling,‚?Ě Williams said. ‚??We told the kids, ‚??If you know of anybody, we‚??d like to try to fill that weight class.‚?? The kids were talking about Bobby‚??s sister, and I found out she was interested.
‚??It‚??s something different.‚?Ě
It was certainly different for her mom during shopping trips.
‚??Instead of going out shopping for girlie stuff, we‚??re looking for singlets,‚?Ě Connie Wright sighed.
The Black Knights discovered just how different it is with a lineup featuring a single participant who isn‚??t a boy.
‚??It‚??s all been a little different, having a girl on the team,‚?Ě Bobby Wright said, ‚??us having to get out (of the room) for her to weigh in.‚?Ě
But it turns out Rebecca Wright has made a big difference in Lehman‚??s program during her first season in the sport.
‚??We love having her out here,‚?Ě Bobby Wright said. ‚??It‚??s not like we just wanted her to come out and take forfeits at 106. She goes out there and she wants to win. She‚??s definitely gotten a lot better ‚?? her stance is better, stuff like that.‚?Ě
And the Black Knights believe their better off with Rebecca Wright than without her.
‚??As a matter of fact, she was an inspiration for one of our junior high kids,‚?Ě Williams said. ‚??We now have a female contestant at the junior high level. I think Rebecca‚??s kind of been an inspiration for a lot of people.‚?Ě
Especially for Bob and Connie Wright, who don‚??t wrestle with fears for their daughter‚??s well-being as her grasp on a tough, physical sport grows stronger by the day.
‚??It‚??s been fun,‚?Ě Rebecca Wright said, ‚??and a lot more work than I expected it to be. I think I can see myself doing it throughout high school.‚?Ě