When most 10-year-old girls are playing traditional sports like softball, basketball, or tennis, fourth-grader Makyila Davis is winning national wrestling competitions.
Her passion for the sport came two years ago when she saw that her older sister, Aulani Davis, was having success as a female wrestler. It was then when Davis thought she would give the sport a try.
Since starting her young wrestling career, Davis already has quit twice. But thanks to the persistence and push from her coaches and family, the wrestler now can brag that she is stronger, faster, and tougher than most boys and girls.
It was the first weekend of April when Davis, along with her sister, trekked up to Lansing, Mich., to make her appearance for her first National United Wrestling Association for the Youth National Competition. Wrestling in the 10-and-under division at the heavyweight (122-pound) class, Davis was in for a ride as her hope was to at least finish in second place.
“My coach (Thad Tyra) told me to try to get first, but placing second in the state tournament I was really hoping to at least get second at Nationals,” said Davis.
With only three matches between Davis and the NUWAY Nationals trophy, her heart was pounding.
After easily advancing past the first two rounds, Davis was nervous as she wrestled in the final round. While the girl she faced off against was bigger than her, Davis had the advantage of being slightly taller.
“I just remember it being the third period, and I was winning 5-4. She had me down and was holding onto my ankle. Coach kept yelling at me to get up. I think there were 10 seconds left when I got out of her hold. I got up and rushed her into the ground,” said Davis.
After having her hand held high by the referee and being declared as the 10U NUWAY Nationals Champion, Davis was at a loss for words and felt a rush of emotions, she said. Both Davis and Tyra cried as they hugged each other on the mat.
“I was crying. I was so tired. I couldn’t believe I won. There was a lot of adrenaline,” said Davis.
With her first Nationals trophy earned, Davis has taste for first place and is excited to see what happens next year. As a fifth grader, Davis will have the opportunity to wrestle at the middle school level. It is there where the real challenge will begin.
“I’m excited to compete at that level. I think it’ll help me get better,” said Davis.
Having an older sister who wrestles competitively at the eighth-grade level, Davis already is used to the skill of middle school wrestlers and said seeing more wrestlers aside from her sister will give her an edge that most fifth-grade wrestlers do not see.
“Hopefully this summer I can bulk up on some muscle and stay committed to a healthy diet. Next year I hope to win NUWAY again,” said Davis.