Girl makes history by qualifying for State 5A wrestling tournament

Maya Neilsen

Maya Neilsen

DENVER — Maya Nielsen has a simple motto, “I always think if they didn’t make me they can’t break me.”

Maya has always wanted to wrestle. Her mom, Tomasita Galicia, remembers the exact moment her youngest daughter decided her own future.

“She was 4. She came up to me and told me, mom I want to wrestle.”

The East High School Junior is a two time National Champion and an Olympic hopeful.

Her coach Randy Gallegos has no doubt she will succeed. “She has big goals and she goes after them. She doesn’t take a backseat to anyone.”

But taking down the boys is another challenge. She’s done it 28 times this season, with only 10 losses. This feisty female even played football her freshman year.

“I just have no problem going out there.  I have nothing to fear.”

Maya is not the first girl to go toe-to-toe with the boys, but she is the first to qualify for State in the 5A classification, the most competitive division. But Maya isn’t really interested in labels.

“I want them to look at me as a competitor, not just a girl. I’m out there chasing the same dreams.”

But high school boys don’t always listen, and usually have something to prove. Coach Gallegos says the boys she competes against usually  go extra hard.

Team Maya will be in full force this weekend at the state tournament. Her mom has been nervous since Sunday, but Maya  is good to go.

“I’m not satisfied yet, I want to be on the podium now.”