A group of high school wrestlers were forced to forfeit their matches Saturday because of a policy, and it could end up costing them their chance at a state title and scholarship.
Kali Gracy took second place in her weight division for wrestling state qualifiers Saturday. The tournament was at Mill Valley High School, where Gracy attends.
Anyone who knows her will tell you she loves to wrestle, but she only got the chance once Saturday.
She lost her final match but accepted two victories by forfeit. That's because she would have wrestled guys from St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy, but the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS, won't allow mixed-gender wrestling. Since the two young men both attend Catholic schools, they had to forfeit.
The decision to forfeit caused controversy with the parents of some of the students who have watched their sons work hard from a young age, hoping one day to make it to state, represent their schools and possibly get a shot at a college scholarship.
The grandmother of one of the boys spoke about the emotional moment of watching him have to forfeit.
"When he's putting on his head gear and walked up there I just thought, ‘Bless his heart.' He's my grandchild and I love him to death and he's worked so hard for over 10 years. And to not be able to wrestle, to have to lie, essentially, that he couldn't wrestle. It goes against everything I think," Sue Procina said.
Gracy and her family did not want to talk to the media after the tournament. She just wants to focus on state and on her sport.
The boys who had to forfeit will get one more shot to advance through the losing bracket.
The archdiocese said this is a relatively new policy implemented since more girls have become involved in wrestling. According to the archdiocese's policy, they believe mixed-gender wrestling is contrary to the teachings of the church because it involves physical contact between girls and boys.
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