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Kayla Rogers thrives in change of scenery

Olivia Burdick, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 30, 2016

Ethan FritzbergJunior Kayla Rodgers holds her certificate of participation in the state tournament from the last wrestling season.

Ethan Fritzberg

Junior Kayla Rodgers holds her certificate of participation in the state tournament from the last wrestling season.

Sophomore Kayla Rogers is a small, 98 pound, 5 foot, very strong, determined young woman. Rogers sits cross-legged in the hallway of the language pod outside the art classroom. Her shoulder length, dark brown with one purple streak, coiled hair is braided down the right side of her neck as she talks about her wrestling career that began in eighth grade. She explains what wrestling means to her and what she has learned from it.

“I had a bet and I felt like I had to prove myself,” Rogers says, explaining why she first joined the wrestling team in eighth grade at Chelan Middle School in Lake Chelan.

Rogers explains that when she decided to join the team all the guys were saying that she couldn’t wrestle with them because she was a girl, so she made a bet with some of them.

The bet was that if she lasted through the entire season they would pay her $10, and if she dropped out she would pay them $10. What ended up happening is that Rogers lasted throughout the entire season while the guys she made the bet with dropped out, so she made $20.

“[Wrestling was] Kind of a joke at first and then I didn’t want to go back on my word and back down, so I decided to join,” Rogers said.

Rogers knew she was going to join the wrestling team going into high school.

“I was more excited than nervous,” Rogers  said.

At Chelan she had already been through the worst aspects of being the only female on the wrestling team. She went through guys and girls telling her she couldn’t do it, which just pushed her to try harder and show them she could.

“When I wrestled in Chelan all the guys were really mean about it and saying I couldn’t wrestle. Other schools especially closer to Chelan didn’t want girls on their team at all, so people started spreading rumors about me, saying ‘oh you’re a lesbian,’ and ‘you can’t wrestle, you’re just rolling around with guys all the time—you’re a whore.’”

But in spite of all the rumors and people going against her, she wrestled in spite of them and proved them all wrong.

Rogers’s record freshman year is more than impressive. She placed first at districts and second in Regionals. She then advanced to State her freshman year, and placed in top 16 of female wrestlers.

“Coming to Ballard, it’s much more accepting here and in the community in general so I really wasn’t scared to join,” Rogers says, going more in depth on why she wasn’t nervous

Rogers talks about her team at Ballard like they are brothers.

“We went from not really knowing each other at all to being like brother and sister… It’s just a really great sense of community.”

When Rogers reflected on what she has learned from the experience of being the one girl on an all boys team and in a sport dominated by boys, Rogers mentioned some important learning points, and has gained experience that she wants to share with other female wrestlers.

“I’ve learned to never give up. Fight for everything, even when you’re having a hard time, even when you’re losing. If you try and give it your all, you’re not gonna feel bad,” Rogers says “If you lose and you tried your hardest you’re not gonna feel bad because you did try and you did learn.”

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Kayla Rogers thrives in change of scenery