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Laure Felix

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Daily News; Los Angeles;

Mar 27, 1999; Heather Gripp

Her father wants her to be a tennis player. Her mother cringes as she tries
to support her's daughter's choice in sports.

Laura Felix is a wrestler.

The scrappy Calabasas High freshman proudly talks about how she got the
bruise on her face. She takes it as a sign of how far she's come since
taking up wrestling in November. She's continually learning new moves and
training long after the high school season ended.

She knows she can hold her own with the boys.

This weekend she takes on the girls. Felix is competing in the Michigan
national girls' championships today through Sunday.

"It doesn't really matter to me who I wrestle against," Felix said. "Girls
are just as tough as guys. I like wrestling period. It's a fun sport."

Calabasas wrestling coach Andrew Falk had Felix in one of his classes and
noticed her toughness. He thought she would be perfect for wrestling
and invited her to join the Coyotes' team.

"Once she got in, it was like, `Wow,' " Falk said. "Some people really do
well with the discipline and training that it takes. Wrestling is very
regimented. It's like the military, and it suits her perfectly."

Felix, 14, played on the Coyotes tennis team in the fall. Her only exposure
to wrestling was watching the professional version of the sport with
her older brother.

"She learned real fast," Falk said. "She's stronger than some of the guys.
She's faster, she wrestles better.

Felix quickly earned the respect of her teammates.

Wresting in the 103 weight class, she primarily competed at the junior
varsity level. She finished the season with a 7-3 record and the Frontier
League JV title. She recorded three pins.

Felix's expectations aren't high for this weekend. She is mainly looking to
gain experience against the older athletes.

"I'm just looking to have a good time," she said. "I don't let it get me
down if I don't win.

Watching Felix surpass expectations rubbed off on her Calabasas teammates.
Falk points to a meet against Alemany as a perfect example of
Felix's power. She ignored Alemany's taunting and won. Her victory pumped up
the Coyotes and brought them back to fall just short of a team

Felix's favorite match was against Chatsworth. After she was dominated in
her first two matches with the varsity, she moved to JV - and almost
pinned her opponent, earning the first win of her career.

Her mother's eyes aren't closed as often during matches anymore, Felix said.
Her teammates and classmates alike support her.

"It keeps me out of trouble and I like it," she said of wrestling. "I like
it because it's different. I like being different."



1/23/2001 Daily News Of L.A.

CALABASAS - The kid's record so far this year on the Calabasas High School boys' wrestling team is 25-6 - not bad for a girl.

Meet 16-year-old Laura Felix. She's gone from being a high school discipline problem to the kind of student teachers point to when they want to motivate other kids having a hard time finding their stride in school.

Laura found hers a few years ago as a freshman when she already had one foot out the school door well ahead of the bell.

''I would have bombed out of school if not for wrestling,'' she said Monday on her way to practice. ''I'd probably be in jail by now.''

Tough words from a tough, little girl. Just ask her coach and the boys she wrestles in the 103-pound weight class division.

The joke in the locker room is that an awful lot of boys in Division V schools - smaller high schools in the area - come up sick or injured on the day they're supposed to be wrestling Felix.

''In my league, I think a lot of the boys are scared to wrestle me,'' Laura said, smiling. She's not cocky, just confident. Her winning record allows that.

''Sometimes they don't show up or they'll complain about having to wrestle a girl. But that all changes when I wrestle the boys in bigger schools in the Valley. They kill me. They don't cut me any slack for being a girl.''

And that, in a lot of ways, says Calabasas High wrestling coach Andy Falk, gets right to the heart of this story.

It's about respect and opportunity - about a kid finding her way in school when she thought there was no way for her. But there always is, any good teacher knows


Felix Helps Validate Girls' Tournament

By DANNY SCHUMACHER, Special to The Times


 Laura Felix of Calabasas High has placed no worse than fourth at boys' wrestling tournaments this year, but Saturday she discovered that other girls are as tough.
Felix combined with Suzanne Kivi of Reno and Sarah FulpAllen of Half Moon Bay in the 104-pound division to highlight the first Thousand Oaks girls' wrestling tournament at Westlake High.
Each displayed impressive repertoires.
Kivi, a girls' national champion who has wrestled for five years, pinned FulpAllen in the second round of the championship match and was selected most valuable wrestler.
Felix, a sophomore, was penalized for using an illegal move and was pinned by FulpAllen in the semifinal. She finished third.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm mostly disappointed that I was pinned," Felix said. "Everything I did she was able to counter."
There was no disappointments for tournament director Shannon Yancey of Thousand Oaks.
Yancey, a four-time silver medalist at the women's wrestling world championships, had hoped the tournament would validate girls' wrestling, which is not yet a sanctioned high school sport.
She was happy with the outcome.
Seventy-nine wrestlers competed in 12 weight classes and medals were awarded to the top three finishers in each class.
"I was hoping for 70 girls and I got exactly that plus a little more," Yancey said. "I got some good competitors, not just beginners. Each year I want to see [the tournament] get bigger and better."
Calabasas Coach Andy Falk was impressed.
"It was a real good [tournament]," Falk said. "I think it's going to take off. If you [organize] more of these things then the momentum will build."
Yancey's squad had a fair showing.
Amber Gomez placed second at 160 pounds and Courtney Whitner finished second at 171 pounds. Breanna Rooney (114 pounds), Elyse SchoenWard (123) and Tara Cook (145) each finished third.
Yancey also was pleased with Kivi's performance. Yancey, who was an assistant at Reno's Wooster High, coached Kivi three years ago in a youth league.
"She was impressive," Yancey said.
Felix, a member of the Calabasas tennis team, hopes to compete in other girls' tournaments, including the Napa Valley tournament at Vintage High on January 22.
She also has tried golf, kick boxing and bowling, but prefers wrestling, which she first tried last year with prompting from Falk.
"Coach Falk was my teacher and he saw I wasn't doing well in school," Felix said. "He thought that wrestling would help me."
In boys' wrestling:
North Torrance tournament--Simi Valley's Tyson Hadduck placed fourth at 189 pounds and Dan Kunkes finished sixth in the heavyweight division at North Torrance.
Hadduck was the tournament's top seed in his class but dropped into the loser's bracket after a first-round defeat..
Kunkes lost in the semifinals and an ankle injury forced him to forfeit his final two matches.