Colyer hits the mat with the big boys |

Colyer hits the mat with the big boys

by Chuck Smock

Katie Colyer rides horses every day in the summer, but even that strenuous activity couldn’t prepare her fully for the new sport she took up this winter.

Colyer, a 14-year-old freshman at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, is the lone female athlete on the Douglas wrestling team.

“I tried basketball last year, but I didn’t like it,” said Colyer, who wrestles at the junior varsity level in the 130-pound division. “I get bored in the winter and I wanted something to do.

“Wrestling is a great way to stay in shape.”

She competed in horse-showing competitions as far away as Sacramento last summer and plans to enter more out-of-state events this year. She also plans to learn how to ride in jumping competitions.

For now, though, Colyer is preparing for the season-ending junior varsity zone wrestling tournament Saturday at Wooster.

She is 2-10 this season with two pins. Both of her victories have come against the same female opponent. And Colyer is already looking forward to wrestling as a sophomore.

“I want to stay in it at least until I beat a guy,” she said. “I want to try to stay in it until I’m a senior. I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

George Eden, a freshman at Jacobsen High School, earned a decision over Colyer in a junior varsity match Dec. 13 at Douglas High.

“I was trying to pin her, but I couldn’t,” Eden said. “She has really good footwork and she has strong arms.”

Eden said he was cautious heading into the match, but he certainly knew what was at stake.

“I don’t like to wrestle girls because I’m afraid I’ll hurt them,” Eden said following his victory. “And your teammates will make fun of you if you don’t win.”

Colyer said she talked with Eden after the match.

“He said it was weird because he didn’t know where he could grab me,” Colyer laughed. “He said he felt like he was wrestling with only one hand.”

She said her teammates had a similar reaction.

“Most of them are OK with me being on the team,” she said. “And most people who find out I wrestle are like, “Wow, that’s really cool.”

Ben Johnson, a Douglas junior who has posted a 26-5 record with 18 pins in the 215- and 189-pound weight divisions, said it took a some time for him and his teammates to get used to having a female teammate.

“A guy’s natural reaction is, it’s a guy-girl thing,” Johnson said. “Most guys are raised to treat girls with respect and not to beat up on girls.”

After realizing the Colyer wasn’t going to quit after the first couple weeks of the season, the Tigers accepted her.

“In the beginning, Katie was kind of hesitant to go out and wrestle,” Johnson said.

“I was afraid,” she admitted.

“Now she’s gotten a lot more comfortable,” Johnson said. “And recently she’s gotten a lot more aggressive.”

“I didn’t like getting beaten up all the time, so I fight back a little more,” Colyer explained. “I’m getting more comfortable with the different moves.

“In the beginning, they were really nice to me. Now they throw me around like everyone else.”

Aside from the obvious guy-girl things, there has been at least one other uncomfortable situation for Colyer to deal with this wrestling season. Imagine being a teenage girl and having to step on a scale in front of a roomful of strangers. Or having your weight posted on the wall – and printed in the newspaper – along with your teammates’.

“At first, I was scared to get on the scale, but then I started losing weight so it was OK,” Colyer laughed again. “Now, I don’t care. There were two times when I didn’t make weight, and that was embarrassing.”

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