The beginning for Kyra Blackwell: What it takes to power through the match

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Alyssa Deplaris

Freshman wrestler, Kyra Blackwell continues to "power through" her intense wrestling training.

As Kyra Blackwell approaches the mat, she makes eye contact with her opponent and shakes his or her hand. Blackwell avoids thinking about her fear because there is only a matter of seconds until she could be taken down. Instead, Blackwell focuses on her opponent, striving for victory.

Kyra Blackwell is a freshman wrestler on the DGS girl’s wrestling team. Previously wrestling one year before high school, she explains the intimidation she experienced at her first match of the season.

“I was nervous at my first match because there were a lot of girls who looked stronger than me. It does scare you at first because you don’t know how you will react during the match. However, once you get on the mat it’s not nerve-wracking because you get to the point where you just want to take the person down,” Blackwell said

The training for wrestling consists of non-stop high-intensity workouts. Blackwell notes why it is important to persevere through long practices.

“The training can be hard and you really need to be mentally and physically disciplined. If you fool around, the coaches will push you harder to make you understand that this is not a game,” Blackwell said.

Freshman wrestling coach Gregory Maloney has recognized Blackwell’s determination to excel this season and triumph through her recent back injury.

“Kyra is a hard worker who asks a lot of questions — you can tell she wants to get better. Recently she injured her back in practice which has prevented her from wrestling the last couple of days; however, Kyra is relentless and doesn’t let setbacks get to her. She is very serious when it comes to practice, whether she is wrestling with another girl or boy on the team, she acts the same,” Maloney said

Senior wrestler Cristal Lopez gives insight into the intense practices that Kyra continues to conquer.

“She powers through practice by having her teammates and coaches push her to keep going. Wrestling is a hard sport, and the way we practice is non-stop and always active. When it’s time to get serious, Kyra is focused on techniques and drills,” Lopez said.

The girl’s wrestling team is larger and more popular than ever before, although wrestling has not always been a co-ed sport at DGS. Blackwell explains the challenging aspect of the gender dynamic when competing with boys and girls.

“It is difficult because the guys still look at us like they can’t take us seriously. I remind myself that this is an equal sport and it doesn’t matter what they say because wrestling is what I like doing,” Blackwell said.

Coach Maloney acknowledged the physical and mental growth Blackwell is building during practice and in matches. Maloney believes the best is yet to come for Blackwell’s future wrestling experience this season.

“Kyra has been able to implement the basic moves during matches. Her intensity level is increasing and I think she is gaining confidence. Within the next couple of weeks, I think we will definitely see her grow and be more competitive on the mats and win some victories,” Maloney said.