Lil' wrestler: 7-year-old breaks into all-boy wrestling club at Scott AFB|
Posted 11/24/2010 Updated 11/24/2010
by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
11/24/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Change can come from people of any age, and for an all-boy wrestling club, change came from a 7-year-old girl.
Karlie Hey, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Jacob Hey, 932nd Mission Support Flight Security Forces, became the first female out of 70 children to become a wrestler at the Belleville Little Devils Wrestling Club.
"She could have chosen cheerleading like her older sister Kamryn, but that's not what she wanted to do," said Michelle Hey, Karlie's mom. "I told her if she likes it, go for it."
The BLD Wrestling Club has been in existence for about 50 years. Last year, Karlie wanted to wrestle but she was not allowed. This year the board of directors had to vote so that she could join.
"It's exciting because it keeps her on her toes," said Mrs. Hey. "As a parent, it's also nerve wracking when your kids are wrestlers."
Wrestling is something that runs in the family.
Tech. Sgt. Jacob Hey, 932nd Mission Support Flight Security Forces, was a national champion while in high school in Dixon, Ill. He was also an Air Force Greco Roman Wrestling Team member from 1997 to 2009.
"I was at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs when they started bringing women there to train," said Sergeant Hey. "At first everyone thought it was a joke until they saw that they put in the blood, sweat and tears just like the men. Women wrestling is now an Olympic sport."
Karlie's 13-year-old brother, Jevon, has been wrestling since he was 5, and last year he was a state qualifier.
Sergeant Hey now coaches his children in wrestling.
"Karlie is a fast learner and she's always practicing," said Sergeant Hey. "It's also teaching me to give her space because she doesn't always want her dad telling her what to do."
The wrestling season lasts from November to February. Practices are every Monday and Wednesday and every weekend they have tournaments.
"It's a lot of work, but it's fun," said Mrs. Hey. "We are all one big wrestling family, and we all help each other out. Hopefully we'll see more girls in the future."
The BLD sports range in age from 5-14 and take place at Citizens Park in Belleville. For more information, call 233-5892.