MAGNA – A 7th-grader is fighting to be allowed to wrestle in the Granite School District.
Kacy Mecham would have been participating in Matheson Junior High's first wrestling meet of the season Thursday, but a policy is holding her back from pursuing her passion.
As the only girl among her siblings, Kacy followed her brother’s lead.
“My older boys started wrestling and she just followed along,” said Kenny Mecham, Kacy’s father.
She’s wrestled competitively for several years now. The 12-year-old is trying to blaze a new trail at Matheson Junior High by becoming the school’s first female wrestler.
“I'm excited because she's working really hard, and she's learning everything she has to do really fast," Mecham said. "Just gotta work on her mental toughness."
His daughter is being challenged off the mat. In 1997, the Granite School District voted to prohibit female wrestling in junior and high schools in accordance to Title 9, which denies girls participation in contact sports. Kacy’s father and other parents are urging the district to overturn that policy.
“We've heard about it as late as last year, but more recently that conversation has become more prevalent," said Ben Horsley.
Ben Horsley, spokesperson for Granite School District, says the policy was most likely put into place initially due to safety concerns.
“There's wrestlers who will not wrestle female students, and so you're grabbing different body parts all over, so there's concern and consternation on the part of some participants,” he said.
But Mecham says his daughter has never felt threatened in that manner.
“When you're out there wrestling, the last thing you think about is touching anybody inappropriately, because if you're thinking that you're gonna get destroyed real fast," he said.
With the sport growing across the country, and in Utah, Mecham just wants his daughter to get the same opportunities as other students.
“I'm not asking for any special treatment, I'm just asking for her to have a shot," he said.
The district plans to meet next Tuesday to re-evaluate the policy.
Another Utah teen facing a similar battle has filed a lawsuit, and Thursday a judge granted a temporary restraining order allowing that teen to wrestle pending the outcome of the lawsuit.