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Menchville's Daugherty paving way for female wrestlers

Kassey Daugherty is this week's Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week
athlete of the week
KASSEY DAUGHERTY MENCHVILLE
Posted at 1:44 PM, Feb 10, 2023

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WTKR) — Menchville junior wrestler Kassey Daugherty doesn't want to sound cocky, but she does see herself as somewhat of a trailblazer.

"Just getting women's ideas and minds opened up to wrestling and that it isn't just for guys, it's for everyone, I do like to consider myself one," she said.

It's a sport she's fallen in love with and one at which she excels, but it wasn't always her primary activity. The Monarch junior took part in MMA, kickboxing and other martial arts during her childhood, using wrestling as a way to stay in shape. Her environment, however, always seemed to be changing and the sport always served as a constant for her.

"Being [in] a military family, it's kind of hard to keep finding a dojo type of thing," Kassey noted. "With wrestling, it's always at a high school and it's always there."

Daugherty and her family arrived in Newport News from Wyoming when she was a sophomore. Menchville was a new place to showcase her talent on the mat and it did not take her long to catch the eye of Monarchs' head coach Robert Kincade.

"I had no idea who she was and she says 'I've been wrestling for awhile,'" Kincade recalled about his first meeting with Kassey. "'Okay, let's see what you got,' and immediately it was off the chain."

Now a junior, the 127 pounder has taken off. The Virginia Wrestling Association ranks her number one in the state among females in her weight class. Her head coach calls her "untouchable" against other girls and adds she has about a .500 record when going toe-to-toe with her male counterparts. Kassey is always aiming to take down opponents, but she's taking down stereotypes as well.

"The guys are stronger, they're faster, they're doing this better and you're not going to keep up with them," she said of some attitudes she's encountered towards female wrestlers. "As I've continued and having some of that combative background, I was like 'I'm just going to use that as my fuel to keep pushing myself so I can keep up with the guys."

"Whenever she really sticks it to somebody you can always see a smirk coming off the mat," Kincade noted. "She knows she just handed it to somebody."

Kassey isn't stopping with her own success. She's working to grow the sport and encourage other girls to give it a shot.

"She's interested in going to the middle schools and talking to young girls in schools," pointed out Kincade. "It's okay to be a wrestler. It's okay to wrestle guys. It's okay to be a girl in a guy's sport."

"Don't be intimated by that," Daugherty added. "Everyone's a person and if it is your first year, you're going to get beat just like everyone does and you get beat throughout all your years, but as long as you keep with the sport and you keep trying like any other sport, you're eventually going to get it."

Kassey still has one more season remaining in high school, but she doesn't plan on stopping upon graduation. Her hope is to continue wrestling at the college level.

"Women's wrestling in college is becoming a big deal," Kincade noted. "There are smaller D-I's that are having a wrestling program and they're really coming along."

"I just want to go to a top wrestling girls school because I've been working on this for a long time and I really have my mind set high for myself," Kassey said.

The junior's talents stretch far beyond the mat. She boasts a 4.1 GPA and is active in ROTC. Kassey is also involved with community service and competes on the Menchville cross country and soccer teams.

If you have a nominee for Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week, send an email to marc.davis@wtkr.com.