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Shikellamy High School wrestler demonstrates girl power

Gabby Bradigan, a senior from Shikellamy High School, is a standout on the boys wrestling team.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — While many girls her age are dancers or cheerleaders, Gabby Bradigan, a senior at Shikellamy High School, is fascinated with wrestling. She's been interested in the sport since she was 8 years old. Gabby used to watch her younger brothers wrestle.

"I used to go to their practices when I was younger, do my homework. If there was an extra guy who needed a partner, I would jump in because I went to all the practices anyway," Gabby said.

Gabby has been wrestling for ten years.

"I like being able to have the chance to prove that I'm not just another girl or another female. I can prove my strength and my technique on the mat," Gabby said.

Shikellamy does not have a girls wrestling team, so Gabby is on the boys team. She has experienced discrimination in the past.

"Some opponents had to forfeit because the parents didn't want their kid to wrestle a female. So it's definitely been a challenge. You definitely get looks as a female, but you learn to ignore them and just do you, and that's how you end up striving," Gabby said.

Even so, Gabby has learned to brush that off. Recently she received a wrestling scholarship to Elmira College in New York. She is the first girl from Shikellamy High School to wrestle in college.

"It's been one of my main goals throughout high school, throughout anything that I've done, so it's one of my biggest accomplishments that I've succeeded," Gabby said.

One of Gabby's coaches says she even influenced another girl to join Shikellamy's team this year.

"It doesn't matter how hard the practice is, she is one of the people pushing everybody the hardest, which is really inspiring because nobody wants to be outworked. She's always trying to outwork everybody," Bryce Town said.

Gabby says wrestling has opened a lot of doors for her, and she encourages other girls to get involved.

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