When Scottsburg High School sophomore Fee Diaz first stepped on a wrestling mat, it was not in an attempt to pin an opponent. It was to take photographs for the student newspaper.
“They said they needed a spot filled,” Diaz said about being approached by SHS wrestling coach J.T. Jenkins while on assignment for The Booster.
Jenkins’ offer piqued Diaz’s interest. She put down the camera and picked up a singlet and headgear.
“I thought it would be something different,” Diaz said.
Trying something new paid off for Diaz — she placed fourth in her weight class at the inaugural Indiana High School Girls Wrestling State Finals held on Jan. 20 at Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Ind.
“I was pretty proud,” Diaz said. “The people there have been wrestling for years and years. Some of them had full teams of girls.”
The inaugural Indiana High School Girls Wrestling State Finals is the first of its kind for the state and for many states nationwide. SHS Athletic Director Jamie Lowry hopes girls wrestling continues to grow.
“Fee has done really well,” Lowry said. “We may look back at it [decades later] and see what Fee started. Hopefully, this starts something really big.”
Throughout the regular season, Diaz did not always have the opportunity to wrestle other female athletes. In the Mid-Southern Conference, Diaz said the number of female wrestlers is few, especially in her weight class of 98 pounds.
“I’ve only wrestled one other girl,” Diaz said before heading to state finals.
To compete, Diaz had to wrestle male athletes. On her team, the next male counterpart to practice with is 40 pounds heavier than her.
“When there are no girls, I just wrestle a boy,” Diaz said. “I like going out there and being different. I like to show them I can actually do it too.”
With the guidance of her coach, Diaz quickly picked up on the basics and was able to make significant gains. She had one pin this season, and next season, she wants to go further.
“I just want to get better and learn new moves,” Diaz said.
She also hopes more females will try wrestling.
“I hope a lot of girls want to try it,” Diaz said. “It’s awkward at first. You get over it. It’s something different.”
At Scott County School District 2, Diaz’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.