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Meet the first female wrestler on Bettendorf High School's varsity team

Ella Schmit has proven again and again she can hang with the boys, and now she's passing on her knowledge to other female wrestlers.

Among the dozens of student-athletes on Bettendorf High School's varsity wrestling team is Ella Schmit. She's the first girl to make the team as a full-time member. 

Ella got into wrestling at a young age, tagging along to her brothers' wrestling practices.  She decided then to grab a pair of wrestling shoes, get on the mat, and practice. 

She started her high school wrestling career on the JV level.

"It's my third year now and I finally got it," she said. 

Her coach says she's polite and doesn't ask for any special treatment.

"She does everything the boys do." 

Ella says it's her hard work and mental toughness that's earned her that spot on the team. She says managing stress is key. 

"It doesn't help to stress out over it... you're not doing anything for yourself," she explained.  "You just have to relax, be smart and do what you know best."

Now Ella is sharing her knowledge with up and coming female wrestlers, helping to grow the sport that was once thought to be just for the boys. 

Credit: Bettendorf's varsity wrestling team. Image from the Bettendorf HS athletics page