A fresh face on the team

Sophomore Rejie Palingayan, the only girl on the DBHS wrestling team, hopes to contribute skills in this mostly male sport.


Eric Hong

Sophomore Rejie Palingayan prepares to pin her opponent during practice.

Emily Kim, Asst. Sports Editor

Despite being the only Diamond Bar girl in a male-dominated sport, sophomore Rejie Palingayan has not let that hold her back from competing just as much as any other member of the Diamond Bar High School junior varsity wrestling team.

Palingayan decided to join wrestling after seeing the team practicing in the amphitheater. After realizing that the sport was not very female-oriented, Palingayan decided to challenge herself by trying out.

Because she is a girl, Palingayan faced obstacles to compete. Being physically weaker than the males on the team is one of the handicaps that she has to deal with. In order to compensate for this, Palingayan trains everyday alongside the team and on her own time at the gym. She also takes care to maintain a healthy diet not only to help improve her body’s condition, but also to help her lose weight when deciding what weight class to compete in.

“She wrestles with the rest of the guys and she works out with the rest of the guys,” coach Marcus Johnson said. “It’s just when she wrestlers, she wrestles girls.”

Palingayan says that she has not experienced any form of discrimination within the team. She feels that she is just another member of the team who has to work harder due to the natural difference in strength.

“Every single day it’s hard work,” Palingayan said. “We have to stay strong the whole time.”

Many of her friends have been shocked to hear that Palingayan is on the wrestling team, and some question her ability to physically compete against the boys. Nevertheless she refuses to let the words of others determine what she can do.

“People are always going to say something no matter what you do,” Palingayan said. “Do what you want to do and do your best in everything.”

Wrestling has been more than just a physical challenge. The mental and emotional hardships, such as the determination needed to be pushed past one’s limit, that Palingayan also has to face, is something every wrestler experiences. It is more than just performing the moves and getting the opponent pinned on the mat. It also requires dedication and mental determination to continuously wrestle for two minutes.

“Sometimes I feel like an outcast because we would do a drill and everyone already has a partner and I would have to ask the coach for a partner, things like that,” Palingayan said.

Due to the physical and mental demands of the sport, wrestling has taught Palingayan that success is something that needs to be earned.

“It pushes you to your limits,” Palingayan said. “And that’s when you see: are you going to pull through or are you going to give up?”