February 14, 2019 03:10 PM
(ABC 6 News) – One Austin High School athlete is following in her father’s footsteps all while turning head and paving the way for other female athletes.
Freshman Denni Heimer is Austin High School’s first female wrestler.
“It’s really cool because it’s like a brother-brother vibe even though I’m a girl,” Heimer said. “It’s just like hanging out with people. It’s really fun.”
Her presence on the team has brought diversity and inspiration.
“She’s a hard worker and some of the others guys see that on the team and they want to work just as hard as she works,” Packer’s Head Wrestling Coach Jacob Nelson said. “She’s got to try and prove herself, she’s kind of felt like she’s had to, so she’s put the extra work in and it’s really showing lately when she’s wrestling.”
All of her hard work and dedication showed on Monday night when she pinned her opponent in Austin's match against John Marshall High School. This was her first varsity win.
So, what’s it like for Heimer when she’s out on the mat?
“When I was in middle school, there were guys that had never wrestled a girl before so we would talk during the match,” Heimer said. “I have a problem where I talk during the match. They’re kind of like, ‘what do I do?’ But I guess I feel the same way too.”
As for her opponents, that’s a different story.
“It’s not different at all,” Austin’s Senior Wrestling Captain Joshua Belden said. “A lot of the girls that are wrestlers are just as tough if even tougher than the guys so it’s not really different wrestling a girl.”
By becoming Austin’s first female wrestler, Heimer is breaking stereotypes and showing that it’s perfectly normal and fun to compete in a boy’s sport.
“She’s paving the way that’s for sure and a lot of her classmates that are females are taking a look at her and they’re really impressed by her and her work ethic and her decision to come out and wrestle,” Nelson said.
For girl's who want to take a leap and try a sport that might be dominated by boys, Heimer has some words of advice.
“Just go for it,” Heimer said. “The worst that can happen is that you don’t like the sport or it doesn’t fit for you, so try a different sport."
Updated: February 14, 2019 03:10 PM
Created: February 13, 2019 10:35 PM
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