Teen Becomes 1st Female Wrestler to Win Mass. State Championship - NECN

Teen Becomes 1st Female Wrestler to Win Mass. State Championship



    Danielle Coughlin of North Andover finished off her opponent in the Division 2 State Championship Wednesday (Published Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014)

    (NECN: Josh Brogadir) - Is she a female champion wrestler who beat the guys to take the title? Or a champion wrestler who just so happens to be a girl?

    Either way - in Massachusetts, Danielle Coughlin is one of a kind.

    We've known for a long time, that grit, sweat and toughness are not confined to a gender, but until now in Massachusetts, a girl has never wrestled like this before.

    "It was so overwhelming, I immediately was teary eyed," Coughlin said.

    Coughlin is a senior co-captain at North Andover High School, and has been wrestling since fourth grade. She finished off her Division 2 State Championship match Wednesday night in the 106 pound division, and became the first girl to ever win a Bay State title.

    And it almost didn't happen.

    Down four to nothing in the quarterfinals, she came back with a reversal, a take down and a 5-4 win. It's extra effort she refuses to take for granted.

    "You're going to do nine push-ups instead of 10, or say you're sprinting when you're not. You're only hurting yourself. There's no way to cut corners," Coughlin said.

    Coach Carl Cincotta wouldn't have it any other way, boys or girl.

    "To me it doesn't matter at all, whoever comes in the room, we're going to practice the same. If they can't do it, then they can leave," Cincotta said.

    He does say some other coaches have chosen not to send their guys out against her.

    "Other times they do, she's gotten over 100 career victories, she's beaten a lot of them," he said.

    Danielle's grappling style is just like the boys she shares the mat with every practice: Toes in, shoot, take down.

    That her ponytail is flopping about and she's wearing pink shorts is notwithstanding.

    "I don't want people to look at me as a girl wrestler. I want them to look at me as a good wrestler or a hard worker, more than anything else," she said.

    It's also worth noting that four other wrestlers on this mat won Division 2 state titles a day ago, and this is the fourth team title in a row for the Scarlet Knights.

    Wrestlers lean on each other and push each other in more ways than one.

    "You can clearly see where your hard work goes, more than any other sport can allow. I definitely say go for it. If you want to be the best, it's in your head, it's in your mind, you can get there, girls or boys," Coughlin said.

    The state open meet is Friday in Salem, and New England's are in Providence next week.

    Will she wrestle in college? She didn't think she wanted to at first, but now might reconsider.

    And why wrestle when there are so many other sports? Her brother won states, and she has been watching him since she was a little kid. He's now one of her assistant coaches.