Wrestling Rejection: Girls Say Boys Refuse to Compete Against Them
MONROE, N.C. - At a whopping 73 pounds, Kiralyn Krizan views herself as a fierce competitor on the wrestling mat. She prefers to win fair and square, but last month, she won a match against the Cuthbertson Middle School team by forfeit after her male counterpart refused to compete against her. She says, "I was like, 'Cool, the guys are scared of me, it's just somebody to be scared of me!"
Kiralyn's fellow female teammate also won by forfeit that day. Her mom, LisaKay, remembers the experience well. She says, "The ref raised her hand and said 'Congratulations, you scared a boy!' " LisaKay's got a lot invested in the Union Academy co-ed wrestling teams. Her oldest daughter competes on the high school level. Her husband is the middle school wrestling coach. She's seen her daughters' confidence soar, so she can't understand why some adults would encourage or allow male athletes to discriminate. "It's just a shame that they would even consider sending that message,” LisaKay says.
"What better athlete could you ask for that one who wants to try his or her best and still leave the mat proud of what he or she has accomplished?" wonders Monica Fusetti. Her daughter also competes on the Union Academy middle school team. Cailen Fusetti is no shrinking violet. "The first practice, I went up against a boy probably at least 20 pounds bigger than me. I could still take him down which actually made me feel good,” says Cailen.
Cailen's dad points out that each team submits a roster prior to the match. They know in advance who they'll face. Tim Fusetti says, "Win lose or draw, the whole point is to go out there and participate and be a part of the team."
Both families want coaches to encourage good sportsmanship, no matter the opponent. Tim says, "It's a moral thing, it's a competitive thing."
"You're always going to find people that are slower to learn and to come up to speed with today's culture,” says LisaKay.
For the girls, it's just about a good match. Cailen says, "If they don't want to wrestle a girl, whatever! They can call their self (sic) a wimp!"
Union County Public School officials say this isn't about discrimination, but rather the simple fact that they don't have athletes for every weight class. The Krizan family says there was a weight-appropriate athlete there who simply refused to wrestle their daughter.
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