More Girls Participating in High School Wrestling

SACRAMENTO -- Most parents take a vested interest in their kids' extracurricular activities, especially sports. But what if your daughter wanted to wrestle against boys.

"I really wanted to play football," said Bella Camboia.

"But we were a little nervous for her going out for the football team," said Jake Camboia, Bella's father.

"So, I looked around for the next roughest sports, and I came across wrestling," Bella said.

" I think she was looking for something that was a little more aggressive, a little more physical," Jake Camboia.

"I need a physical outlet. I need something where I can, I don't know, sometimes it just helps," Bella said.

Whatever the reasons, the Camboia family has totally embraced oldest daughter Bella's passion for wrestling, even if that means wrestling against boys.

"I haven't had a reason to worry yet, but I know eventually she's going to come across an opponent that's going to be tough," Jake Camboia said.

"You come across a guy every now and then that really wants to hurt you because you're a girl, and they don't like that girls wrestle. But you don't get that as often anymore because now there is more," Bella said.

At Bradshaw Christian High School, this is the first year they've had female wrestlers. Bella and Amy Grubbs are a good start for the Pride program. Five years ago, girls at the high school level had to mostly wrestle against boys, but not any more.

"In the last four years, it's really started to change because so many females have entered the sport that now, it's big enough they can hold their own tournaments, and you don't see it as much anymore," said wrestling coach Blair Wheatley.

"It's socially accepted in a new way. People are now starting to come into what they want to do, and if they want to do it, they know they can and they have the opportunity to," Grubbs said.

Some sight the rise in popularity to female MMA fighters as one of the reasons young girls are giving wrestling a try. Many wrestlers have had great success in the sport, but that's too real of a discussion for some dads.

"I would like for her to not do UFC. I think they are brutal to each other in the ring. I wouldn't want to watch my daughter in the ring like that," Jake Camboia said.