When you think of a wrestling match, you probably don’t conjure up an image of women on the mat. However, Casey Lopez is trying to change that. And, with the help of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, she’s well on her way.
In early May, Lopez became the first woman to receive a wrestling scholarship to a Division I school.
“I’m extremely happy and grateful to have received this opportunity to wrestle,” Lopez told The Baltimore Sun. “It has sunk in, definitely, and I am really excited to see how it grows now that Division I programs are starting to open up.”
What she means by that is, along with Presbyterian College, 38 other schools around the country will begin competing in the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association in 2019.
With her track record, it’s easy to see why she was the first to receive an offer at the highest level in college sports. She’s the first woman to win the Maryland State Wrestling Association’s Triple Crown, doing so after winning titles in Greco-Roman, freestyle and folk style wrestling. She also posted a 29-19 record for Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she took on boys who were physically much stronger than her.
This from ESPNW:
Earlier this year, Cassy Lopez was losing to a male wrestler in her county by eight points in the final period. That’s when Lopez went against technique, reaching up from bottom position to grab her opponent by his head and pull him down. She pinned him with one second left in the match.
“Don’t count her out,” Harman said. “She can get a guy to his back when they least expect it. On paper, that guy was probably a better wrestler than her. But that’s the kind of stuff she would do.”
Her talent and heart are especially impressive considering she didn’t wrestle in her first match until four years ago, and she even considered not trying out at all. However, with her experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, her father convinced her to give it a go.
And, she hasn’t looked back. At first, she received negative comments about her decision to wrestle, but years later, people commend her talent and hard work.
Not only will she make history as an athlete at Presbyterian College, but she also has her sights set on pinning another achievement: Dental school.
Wishing you all the best, Casey Lopez, as you leave it all on the mat.
For more on Casey, give ESPNW’s feature a read.