Horace Greeley High School wrestler becomes first girl to win in boys’ tournament

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At Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, Isabella Garcia is not only competing, but she's winning.

She’s one of many female wrestlers these days who are joining boys’ teams. Standing about 5 feet tall in the 106-pound division, Isabella Garcia says she always ready to rumble.

“I've been doing karate for I think 10 years now and my karate instructor, he suggested that I try wrestling because I liked the ground fighting and the grappling that we did. So I tried it freshman year,” Garcia says.

But while Garcia had some experience, it still wasn't an easy start.

“Maybe in the beginning, beginning, like early her freshman year, I was like ‘Oh, this girl might not last.’ Not that she did anything that would tell me that,” says coach Anthony Tortora. “But once we were about a month into her freshman year, I could sense that she liked the sport a lot and she was going to work her hardest to be as good as she could be at it.”

Garcia never gave up and her determination eventually paid off.

Recently, Garcia reached the pinnacle of her young wrestling career by becoming the first girl ever to win the Pawlings Round Robin Tournament, which also happened to be her first ever boys’ tournament victory. It was an achievement that not even she believed was possible when she started wrestling.

“I didn't think I would get there from the start. It's nice to know that the hard work does pay off. It's cool to get a, I guess, more physical sense of it,” Garcia says, but she has no plans of stopping there.

“I would love to be all-state in the boys’ division and then all-American in the girls. If I get there, I'll be super happy and if I don't get there, I'll know that I worked as hard as I could and I got as far as I could,” Garcia says.

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