LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — After months of fighting, a Lancaster girl spent Tuesday afternoon in JV wrestling practice.
12-year-old Trista Blasz was originally not cleared to join the team – despite winning multiple competitions and receiving an invite from the team’s coach – because she is a girl.
The Lancaster Central School District’s former doctor, Michael Terranova, would not give Trista approval, writing “girls don’t play boys’ sports in Lancaster schools” on her physical.
“She passed her physical with the Tanner IV and she passed both of her tests,” explained Trista’s mother, Danielle Blasz. “Those are mandated New York State testing. If she was a boy she would have been on the team.”
During a special meeting Sunday, the school board voted unanimously to end Terranova’s contract for this decision.
“Her rejection was what we felt was unacceptable,” said Lancaster School Board President Patrick Uhteg. “While we can’t control the decision or reverse the decision, what we as a school district can do is to make sure those representing the students of Lancaster have their best interests in mind.”
Trista isn’t the first female wrestler barred from competing with the boys in Lancaster sports history either – her aunt, Danielle’s sister, was also denied by Terranova for the same reason more than a decade ago.
Danielle told News 4 Tuesday she was furious that she found herself having to do the same thing for her daughter that her mother had to do for her sister: appeal Terranova’s decision.
But the fight paid off. The Blasz’s appeal passed, and Trista participated in her first practice with her team.
“It has been a long four months, but it turned out great,” Danielle said. “Hopefully females see this and they won’t quit and keep fighting and fighting and fighting.”