LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — She is one of the few girls in her sport and she’s coming off a championship at the 152-pound level at the Eastern States Classic, Liverpool junior Damiana Racciatti is NewsChannel 9’s Athlete of the Week.
Racciatti said, “If I really want something I go and get it.”
For the first time in a tournament that features nearly 200 schools from six different states, there was a girls division. Nine different girls would claim they were an Eastern States girls champion, and at 152 pounds, Damiana Racciatti was one of them.
“It’s Eastern States. If anyone goes you’re someone. It was shocking when I won. It really meant a lot to me,” Racciatti said.
Racciatti says she is from a contact family. Her dad Mario wrestled, her uncle Carmen wrestled, and her little sister Ariyah wrestled. Damiana even started in jiu jitsu before falling in love with wrestling, and it took off from there.
Racciatti said, “My dad, he said, ‘It’s either all-in or all-out,’ and I chose all-in, and it’s helped me a lot.”
Racciatti is one of two girls on the Liverpool wrestling team along with senior Haley Delia. She knew she was overlooked by opponents at first and used it to push herself.
“When I first started they were like, ‘Oh she’s just another girl, oh easy match.’ And then I started progressing and we’re more equal now,” Racciatti said.
It was actually her first match that proved to herself that she could do it.
“They threw me in there with no experience and i only had jiu jitsu so i just went at it and I ended up winning that first match. It just proved to me that I can do what they can do and if I can do that, i can do anything” said Racciatti.
Damiana has taken her talents all over the country and the world. She won a girls tournament in Newark, New Jersey, found success in Fargo, North Dakota and even reached the top of the podium in the Netherlands. She has seen first hand how the sport can grow, and wants to continue that.
“At first, my goal was to get first every time, and now it’s more, it’s not so much to win, it’s more to bring the sport to girls, that’s my main goal. I don’t really see it as a win for me to win, I see it as like, I want to bring the girl’s sport up, that’s my win,” Racciatti said.
According to New York State, 143 girls participated in varsity wrestling last year, in Section III, that number was just 13. However, with more and more girls like Damiana, those numbers should begin to grow.
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For more local sports, follow Darius Joshua on Twitter @DariusJoshuaTV