NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – For Kendra Cheers, flipping the script and playing against the boys started when she was 8 years old when she played for the Niagara Wheatfield youth football teams.
Come age 12 she was ready for a new challenge.
“I hated it, the 16 year old said with a laugh. “The conditioning was crazy.”
But, she got through the long runs and weight cuts and started turning heads on the mat.
Now Kendra goes head to head with fellow high school wrestlers, the majority of whom are boys. She just wrapped up her JV season at Niagara Wheatfield High School.
“You will always have those people with smart remarks but you just have to shrug it off and stay focused on my goals,” Cheers said.
“Kendra has really been the one to take it to another level and we are proud of her,” Niagara Wheatfield head coach Rick Sweney said. “She is going to keep going and we are going to do everything we can to help her.”
But, it’s what she is doing outside of high school meets that has improved her skills. She wrestles in meets for Team USA and will represent her tribe at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games this summer in Toronto. During these events she will go up against other female wrestlers.
“With boys you have to use more technique and muscle and with girls you are able to match up your muscle and your technique,” Cheers said.
In the next two years, Kendra will turn her focus to college wrestling, which is another battle to find a women’s program program, as only a handful exist. But, like every thing else, it’s something she can take down