Champion college wrestler kept off the mat because she's a woman

- A wrestling stand-out is being kept off the mat because she's a woman - now the ACLU is telling the National Collegiate Wrestling Association its rules are out of line.

Marina Goocher is 20 years old, a mechanical engineering student at University of Michigan Dearborn - and a national champion wrestler.

She had more than 100 varsity career victories at Riverview High School becoming only the second woman in the state to do so. She's been at it since she was 5 years old.

"My brother was a wrestler and I was 4- or 5 years old and I was running around and I could not sit still at his practices and his meets," she said. "I was like just put me on the mat."

The irony for Marina is that she couldn't wait to get on the mat and so, she did. But now - 15 years later - she's being told that she can't.

"The NCWA does not allow me to practice or compete against the guys," Marina said. "So I can still be on the team but I am not allowed to compete, practice or anything. So I am kind of just benched for the entire season until nationals comes around, then I have the opportunity to wrestle against the females."

"Women are entitled to equal opportunity in athletics including in contact sports like wrestling," said Bonsitu Kitaba.

Kitaba is with the American Civil Liberties Union, they are taking on the National Collegiate Wrestling Association - which only allows women to wrestle women and men to wrestle men, period.

This means Marina, who is a member of the wrestling team at U of M Dearborn, sits the bench each practice, each meet, for the entire season - because there are no other women to wrestle in all of the 20 teams in the Great Lakes Regional Conference.

"I should have the right to wrestle against the guys so that's equal opportunities," Marina said.

The only time Marina gets to wrestle is at nationals - where there are other women.  As you might expect, she wins.

"I was able to still get two national titles," she said.

"Now she wants to win this one against outdated policies, not just for herself, but for the future.

"What I hope to accomplish, is that not only for me but for future woman wrestlers so that everyone can fulfill their passion of wrestling," she said.

Which is why the ACLU is now involved, sending the NCWA a letter alleging the association is in violation of its own policies.

It has received no comment as of yet.

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