HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Under Coach Edward Gore’s leadership, the Highland Springs Springers are one of the best wrestling programs in the state.
“If you step your foot on that mat, that means you’re ready to rumble,” Gore said.
It takes a special athlete to wrestle for Highland Springs, one with determination, commitment, and mental toughness. Traits that a one-of-a-kind freshman has developed this season, to her own surprise.
“It’s just unbelievable!” Brittney Reed said. “At times… I’m like what?”
According to WTVR, Reed is a freshman on this year’s Highland Springs wrestling team, which wouldn’t surprise you if you saw how she grew up with her two older brothers.
“My brothers were just wrestling, and I thought, ‘Oh, that looks like fun,’” Reed said.
She started her path in wrestling at middle school, but the jump to varsity had early challenges.
“There were a lot of tears, like every other day,” Reed said.
“At first, she said I was too mean to her,” Gore said.
With challenges both mentally and physically, Reed began to have second thoughts.
“I think she was second-guessing it,” her mom, Christy Reed, said. “She was really, she didn’t know if she could do it.”
But with each practice, Reed’s confidence grew.
“We really put pressure on her and told her she could be great if she really works for it,” said senior wrestler Christian White.
“If you keep working hard and keep going hard, eventually you’ll get there,” White said.
Reed’s teammates didn’t just see a girl — they embraced her as part of the family.
“They really didn’t care that I was a girl,” Reed said.
“It’s a special girl and a special person to be able to do stuff like that,” Gore said.
This season, Brittney is 19-0 against girls in her 170-pound weight class and has four wins over boys, including a pin in her first match. The results are a testament to her growth from when she almost wanted to quit.
“I just wasn’t there mentally. But now that I’m coming further into the season. I’m like, ‘Oh… I get it now,'” Reed said.
“That’s the part to see, the mental toughness,” Gore said. “Because you’re going to say this really ain’t for me, second-guessing yourself. But every day she came into this room. Every day she came back, I was like, she’s tough.”
“She’s never been challenged like that and she has made it a long way in a short period of time that coach has had her,” said Reed’s dad, Michael Reed.
Depending on when you catch Reed during the day, you may not recognize her. Her classmates know her as the one with the painted fingernails and wearing dresses.
Reed’s teammates wouldn’t recognize her as that same person that has accomplished all she has at this point of the season.
“So, like in school, I like to dress girly, I like wearing fingernail polish, I like doing my hair, I like wearing dresses. I like being a girl,” Reed said. “But behind everything, I’m like a dude.”
As strong as she’s become on the wrestling mat, she is equally as competitive in the classroom. Reed is currently in the ACA program, maintaining a 3.9-grade point average.
In the program, Reed will be able to earn her associate’s degree in business administration while still in high school.
“I couldn’t handle it. She does it very well,” her dad said.
Anything less, Reed won’t accept.
“I’m like, ‘It can be better,'” she said. “It can be an ‘A.’ It can always be better and that’s what you want to strive for, is to be better than you were last nine weeks.”