RIVERVIEW, Fla. — Bell Creek Academy sophomore Abby DiCenzo spent time recently preparing for her first wrestling practice of the season.
“I think she prefers the challenge of wrestling guys,” Willie Murphy, Bell Creek’s football and wrestling coach said. “She asked me because this is the first year that girls wrestling is sanctioned in Florida, ‘can I still compete against guys in the state tournament?’ Unfortunately, you have to pick one or the other. She’s a little bummed about that.”
But what does bring a smile to her face…
“This year I actually got playing time (on the football team),” DiCenzo told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “That led to my amazing touchdown.”
DiCenzo made history during the football season. She became the first female to ever score a rushing touchdown in a Florida high school varsity football game.
“We were on the 5-yard line and they called my play,” she said. “And I was like, ‘This is time. I’m not letting anyone stop me from getting this.’”
She scored the touchdown on September 24 against Berean Christian School.
“She is the absolute hardest working person on the team,” Murphy said. “She didn’t get that carry, that touchdown, she didn’t get any of that because she’s a girl. She got it because she earned it.”
She also earned the respect from her teammates.
“When I heard she is getting the ball, oh my God, it’s happening,” Gabriel Almeida said. “She’s going to score a touchdown right now. When I saw her in the end zone the whole team went crazy. Straight up chill. This is something she’s wanted forever, ever since she put pads on.”
She might not be the biggest athlete on the field or on the mat, but what she does bring is attitude and effort.
“Right before I ever take a hit in football or a shot in wrestling, I take a minute,” DiCenzo lets out a breath. “You find that right moment and explode through it. If you don’t explode through it there is fear that gets in the way and fear messes you up.”