SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It's not often we hear of women wrestlers. Most consider the sport to be very male dominated, but two young girls from western Massachusetts are breaking the barriers and bringing home the titles.
Two wrestlers at Krazy Monkeys Wrestling Club in Springfield are already making a name for themselves early on in their careers.
Mia Chiba, 6, and Nevaeh Santiago, 12, have already earned the title of All-American wrestlers.
For Chiba, who has been wrestling with the gym for three months, said it's something she loves to do, even if the nerves kick in.
"I feel strong and I also feel nervous and scared if I win or lose, but I did a great job," Chiba said.
Santiago finds the competition thrilling.
"My favorite part is going to the mat, wrestling, and then actually people cheering me on," Santiago explained.
Their coach, Cruz Franco, told Western Mass News girls wrestling is the number one growing sport in the country.
In Massachusetts, girls are now allowed to compete in high school at the MIAA level.
"It's a very tough sport that a lot of people try to stay away from. It's a commitment, it's a lifestyle. You're not just doing the sport. You have to live the sport, believe in yourself...wake up, train all year long, and it's great to have kids commit to this sport," Franco explained.
With many hours of hard-work, perseverance, and grit, these young girls are proving women can do just about anything.
"I've seen for years now, girls going against boys and girls winning. It's an equal opportunity. What they can do, we can do,"
This week, the girls are off to compete in Brooklyn for a freestyle tournament facing multiple other countries, where their skills will be put to the test.
"I feel nervous. "I'm nervous, but I think I'm going to do a good job," Chiba said.
However, they said that they will remember what their coach always tells them.
"Wrestling will teach you how to fight off your back. That's what life does sometimes with trial and tribulations. You'll find your back against the wall...do you fight back or do you give in?" Franco noted.