SCAPPOOSE, Ore. (KOIN) — “It’s really important to me that girls get equal recognition for working just as hard as I do.”
Those are the words of Bella Amaro, a freshman at Scappoose High School who recently made history in the state of Oregon for her wrestling prowess.
In February, Amaro placed 3rd in the first OSAA-sanctioned girls wrestling high school state championship meet.
While it was the first event of its kind in Oregon, Amaro is by no means new to the sport. She started wrestling early on and has been training for years.
For Amaro, the chance to succeed as an independent athlete was more intriguing than trying to do so as part of a team.
“I played soccer a lot when I was younger and I always loved wrestling more because it was like I pushed myself a lot harder, then I get to reap the rewards,” said Amaro. “Whereas if I push myself in soccer, then I might be getting better but it’s not gonna show the same amount of success as your team because you need the whole team.”
The Scappoose freshman isn’t the first one in her family to take up wrestling; her older brother also participated in the sport and encouraged Amaro to follow her passion.
“I always knew he was proud of me and like proud that I’m a girl and wrestle,” said Amaro.
She said her brother also recognized her skill.
“He’s told me before that you’re a girl and you’re better than a lot of the guys cause you work that hard,” Amaro said. “So those few moments growing up pushed me because I knew he was proud of me.”
Amaro said she has the support of her entire family to continue wrestling. It’s that support that has pushed her to work toward even higher goals.
“A big part of what I want is that at least have 8-man brackets for state because I only got to wrestle twice, so really getting 3rd place — it was like, okay, I only lost once,” she said.
The principal of Scappoose High School believes Amaro’s legacy will extend beyond her own athletic record.
“She definitely does have a passion for pushing women’s wrestling forward and providing opportunities for the girls that are in it right now but then also for the future generations that are coming,” said Jim Jones. “So I really like the idea that she’s become a part of something that’s bigger than herself.”