14 Year Old Layton Girl Fights For Her Right To Wrestle

Kathleen Janis takes her case to federal court

Salt Lake City - SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) - A 14 year old Layton girl is going to the mat for her right to join a junior high wrestling team.

Kathleen Janis doesn't care if her opponent is a boy or a girl...she just wants to wrestle. She was on the boys team at her old school in Idaho but last year her new school Central Davis Junior High said she couldn't try out because of her gender. Kathleen and her mother Kelly took her case to Federal Court where they appeared at a hearing Wednesday.

"We'll find out by 5 o'clock (Thursday) if the judge does grant the temporary restraining order allowing Kathleen to try out on Friday for the wrestling team at Central Davis Junior High," Kelly Janis told ABC4 Utah News outside the Federal courthouse.

 "I think it will not benefit only me," Kathleen said. "But for other girls in the future who are willing to wrestle for junior high."

Girls can compete in boys high school sports under Title 9 but junior highs are governed by Title 34 which bars female students from contact sports.

"Being told no you cannot wrestle because you're a girl? What is that telling the future generation?" Kelly asked. "That you're not good enough to do this? What message is that sending to our youth today? That's wrong and that is discrimination...It's unfortunate. In today's society we have to fight for a child to be able to wrestle on a wrestling team and to be discriminated against because she's a girl."

Regardless of the outcome Kathleen says she will not give up. She's going to keep on fighting, something she's been doing her entire life.

"My motivation is just to keep going and never give up," Kathleen said. "I was shattered from my childhood just because I had a past with my father, my biological father that he abused me and it keeps me going that if I hadn't come out of that I would still be stuck and I would still be broken but it keeps me going knowing I'll have the opportunity."

Kathleen says she hopes to wrestle for the U.S. Olympic Team one day.


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