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Girl Grappler Has the Moves but Lacks Muscle

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Missi L. Nimrick, a senior at Rock Ridge High School in Taylor Ridge, Ill., went out for the wrestling team this year as a joke, but soon found that wrestling is serious business.

It wasn't long before she experienced her "greatest moment as a wrestler--I broke someone's nose in practice," she said.

"I was practicing my takedowns, and we both shot the move at the same time and I got him."

Ms. Nimrick is one of the very few women who have wrestled over the past 10 years at the high-school level, according to Fritz McGinness, assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations. He said he knew of only one other girl, from Scottsdale, Ariz., currently involved in interscholastic wrestling.

Ms. Nimrick first became interested in the sport while watching members of the team work out in physical-education class, she recalled.

Some of the wrestlers got the idea that she should join the team and they persuaded her to take up the sport after Coach Craig Frederick consented.

According to the coach, she does about 85 to 90 percent of what the boys do in practice, and her fellow team members have reacted to her participation "real well."

"She gets a lot of attention and help," he said, adding that there have been no problems with other teams thus far--for one thing, she has not competed.

She is not sure whether she will ever wrestle in a match for Rock Ridge High. She said she "knows the moves" but that she lacks the "upper-body muscle" to earn a starting spot.

Although Ms. Nimrick's parents are no longer opposed to her participation on the grounds that she could be injured, the wrestler said she has two other problems--keeping her weight down and her grades up.

The Illinois High School Athletic Association allows athletes to compete if they pass four courses, but Ms. Nimrick said she is a little worried about her grades in geometry.

As for her weight, Ms. Nimrick reported that following the holiday break she weighed in at six pounds above her wrestling weight of 105.


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