South Dakota’s Ronna Heaton is Breaking Down Barriers
South Dakota's Ronna Heaton is breaking down barriers one match at a time.
Brookings High School's own wrestling sensation just happens to be a girl and for South Dakota's State A Wrestling Tournament, that is something that just doesn't happen everyday.
As the only female wrestler in last weekends State A wrestling tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, Heaton was able to hopefully open more doors for future female wrestlers in this state not only with her paving the way off the mat for change but doing so with her performances on the mat as well.
Ronna Heaton finished 7th in the State A tournament and became the first female wrestler in the state to accomplish that feat as well.
Although the accomplishments for most are a sign of progress within a very conservative state, Ronna knows that she'll continue to be met with opposition, but she says it wont hold her back. She told CBS News "I don't really think much of it because I am still going to wrestle. Can't stop me."
According to data provided by CBS NEWS, around 10,000 female wrestlers will compete at the high school level across the United States.
The thing I find funny is there are some boys across the state of South Dakota that declined to wrestler her. Her father Tim told CBS NEWS "Most of the boys that forfeited and didn't wrestle her were boys that pretty confident that they were going to lose to her and didn't want to get beat by a girl," he went on to say, "Those boys didn't make it to State."
Shame on each and everyone of those wrestlers, coaches and parents that would allow a forfeiture in this case. Poor coaching, poor sportsmanship and poor parenting all around.
I am so happy for Ronna and her family that they can be a part of her sports journey while hopefully creating a opportunity for someone else in her shoes to shine one day as well in the wrestling world!
** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JT@ESPN991.COM AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991.