Rocklin sophomore meets her match

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Soccer and softball, basketball and ballet … Olivia Seppinni has tried them all. She did not like one. Seppinni finally found an activity in the seventh grade that suited her personality. She and a girlfriend decided to go together to wrestling tryouts. Then her friend bailed out at the last minute. That left Seppinni as the only girl on the mat with a bunch of boys. She did not mind being the exception. “I loved it,” said Seppinni, who is not wrestling to make a statement that girls can compete with boys. Her school address has changed since then, but Seppinni is still outnumbered on the mat. The Rocklin High School sophomore is the one and only girl competing for the Thunder this season. Seppinni is wrestling for the fourth year and has yet to back down – whether her opponent is a boy or a girl. She treats her foes all the same, as in she strives to take them down and then out. “I don’t see any difference,” she said. “I’m there to do work. That’s how I look at it. I have to get the job done.” Her teammates have accepted Seppinni and think nothing of having a girl around. Once she enters the wrestling room for practice, she is just another athlete working to earn a spot in the lineup. “She’s not just a tough girl, but she’s a tough teammate,” senior heavyweight Nic Cooper said. “With her work ethic, we see her the same as us.” Seppinni is earning her keep, competing in the 125-pound class for the varsity team. She will also wrestle in girls-only tournaments, such as one Saturday at Hiram Johnson High in Sacramento. Whitney sophomore Madison Fitzgerald will also compete at the Girl Power tournament in the 112-pound class. Seppinni did not step onto the mat last Saturday when the Thunder competed in the Matt Fuller Invitational at Lincoln High. First-year coach Torrean Tyus opted to give her sore knee a break. That may be the only way that Tyus can stop Seppinni. Tyus has already learned he can never sell her short “She’s had to overcome so many obstacles in this kind of sport,” said Tyus, who wrestled at Woodcreek High and Sierra College. “It takes something special for a girl to rise to the top on a boys team.” Any boy who thinks otherwise, Tyus said, can slip into a singlet and try his luck against Seppinni. “She has a habit of making guys cry,” Tyus quipped. “She’s definitely a heartbreaker.”