Girl Michigan wrestler Rayana Sahagun perseveres through stereotypes and diabetes

Photo: Charlie Litchfield/The Des Moines Register

Sparta’s (Michigan) Rayana Sahagun used to be the only girl at wrestling meets.

As the boys hit growth spurts at an older age, Sahagun found herself having to work harder just to keep up with the competition.

But that didn’t stop her.

As reported by, Sahagun finished in second at USA Wrestling’s Junior Women’s Nationals in Fargo, N.D. going down to a three-time national champion in Sage Mortimer, who was an ALL-USA Girls Wrestling Honorable Mention. Sahagun earned All-American honors with the finish.

Sahagun won the first Michigan girls wrestling state tournament this past season. She also competed against boys in high school wrestling and managed to hold her own. The rising senior has posted a winning record each of her years in high school so far.

“Starting off in wrestling, it didn’t really matter. I was just a kid, so it was nothing, but as I started getting older, wrestlers and parents of the opposite gender would judge me,” Sahagun told MLive. “I’ve gotten a lot of hate for that, so I’ve learned to use that to push me toward extra workouts to make sure I could accomplish my goals.”

Not only that, but Sahagun also had to overcome diabetes to compete as a wrestler, per MLive. Sahagun was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 2.  She tried to hide the condition from other wresters, because she didn’t want people to think she required special treatment.

“When I first told her she needed to take a break to check her levels, she didn’t want to do it because she saw it as walking out of the room and taking a break,” Tom Bennett, Sahagun’s step-father and Sparta’s wrestling coach for her freshman and sophomore year, told MLive.

All that and Sahagun is still going.

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