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Utah teen and her wrestling team making high school history

Posted at 7:47 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 21:47:05-04

This year, one high school team is making history here in the Beehive State—in more ways than one.

"I honestly didn’t expect to see myself here and I was excited to see the improvement," said Alexie Weimer, a wrestler for Duchesne High School.

For the first time, Duchesne High School has a female wrestling team. It was Coach Shane Ivie’s daughter that convinced him to pull a team together.

A group of four girls makes up the team, including Aspen Huntington, who's overcome even more struggles in her personal life.

"We’re all different. I’m more quirky than others," Huntington said.

Huntington has been wrestling with her health since she was born. Some of the challenges she's faced include autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

"The best way to describe it, it’s a very emotional rollercoaster," said Aspen's mom, Michelle Huntington. "You get mad, you get frustrated and especially when they’re sick and you don’t know how to help them. You feel helpless a lot so it’s very emotional."

But even with the struggles her daughter has faced, Michelle believes in working for what you want.

"I’ve always taught [Aspen], that if you put your mind to it then you can do it, you might just have to do it differently," Michelle explained. "She kind of threw that back at my face when she wanted to wrestle."

"If you think about it, even though I have all of these disabilities. It doesn’t limit me mentally," Aspen said.

Coach Ivie never expected he would need to learn how to coach someone with disabilities.

"If people would just give me chance, I could do it," Aspen remarked.

After consulting with Aspen's medical team, Coach Ivie and the wrestling team learned about how they could help Aspen.

"Right off the bat, she came in and had a limp to her and stuff with different conditions," Coach Ivie said. "The first thoughts are what can I do with this girl and how can I get her to be a part of wrestling."

Now, she's making history competing in wrestling matches around Utah. One team came together to buy her new shoes.

"She has a lot of heart, like that girl. She is like my biggest idol, like I can’t even say how much," said Joey Kay, a wrestler for Juab High School. "She’s so down to earth. It takes a lot to be that tough and she’s not just physically tough, she’s mentally tough."

Aspen has not only impacted her team, she's inspiring wrestlers across the state to never give up, no matter what circumstances you may be in.

"She shows everybody, everyday it doesn’t matter what you have," Michelle said tearfully. "If you want to do it, you can do it and I think that’s what inspires everybody about her."