WITH THE STEREOTYPES
Daily News; Los Angeles;
Mar 27, 1999; Heather Gripp
Her father wants her to be a tennis player. Her mother cringes as she
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
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
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
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
gain experience against the older athletes.
"I'm just looking to have a good time," she said. "I don't let it get
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
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
Her teammates and classmates alike support her.
"It keeps me out of trouble and I like it," she said of wrestling. "I
it because it's different. I like being different."