Trista Blasz, 12 years old, is a national wrestling champion. She’s won in competition against girls and boys in her weight class and is so talented that a local high school coach invited her to join the junior varsity wrestling team. Excited to accept this invitation, Blasz underwent an exam by the school’s physician to be medically cleared to compete. Despite a history of performing and winning, however, Dr. Michael Terranova wrote on a medical report that Blasz was uncleared for wrestling “on maturity + girls don’t play boys [sic] sports in Lancaster schools.”
Danielle Blasz, Trista’s mother, was outraged when her daughter came home with the doctor’s note, according to The Washington Post. Trista Blasz told WaPo that she was convinced the note wasn’t just sexism but was the overarching practice of the Lancaster school district: Girls on girls’ teams and boys on boys’ teams. (The Lancaster school district superintendent disputed this characterization, according to a statement he made to WKBW: “Mixed-gender high school sports teams for students who qualify exist across the state.”)
But this wasn’t the first time Danielle Blasz had seen Dr. Terranova’s sexist scrawl on an athletic release form. Before this incident, per WKBW, Terranova had also barred Cristta Hartinger from joining the same wrestling team. Hartinger is Trista Blasz’s aunt, and after appealing the decision, she joined the high school’s wrestling team in 2011, before going on to wrestle at a collegiate level.
Lancaster High School’s school board voted to fire Dr. Terranova, who had been contracted with the school for 40 years, after Danielle Blasz appealed the decision and told her story to a local news outlet, WKBW. A new panel is being convened, per WKBW, to assess if Trista is eligible to wrestle on the team based on “medical evaluation without gender bias.” Trista Blasz’s own primary care physician feels “extremely confident” that she can compete against boys and girls within her weight class.
Blasz is confident about her own abilities, as well.“Don’t doubt me unless you’ve seen me wrestle and seen what I can do,” she told The Washington Post. It’s also worth noting that Trista Blasz already sounds like the perfect character name for a new NXT Women’s Champion a few years from now.
Read the full story on The Washington Post.