High schooler Amanda Leve fights Philadelphia archdiocese to wrestle

Amanda Leve is trying to change the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's bylaws to let her on the wrestling team at Archbishop Ryan High School. Credit: Provided
Amanda Leve is trying to change the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s bylaws to let her on the wrestling team at Archbishop Ryan High School. Credit: Provided

Amanda Leve isn’t looking for a boyfriend. She’s just going out there to win a wrestling match.

The Northeast 16-year-old has approached the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to let her wrestle for Archbishop Ryan’s inaugural team this year. The archdiocese has said officials are reviewing the situation, but bylaws state wrestling is a full-contact sport open to boys only.

“I think the archdiocese is being stubborn about it,” Amanda told Metro today. “I want to be on the team. I want to represent my high school.”

When she heard the team was forming, the high school junior thought she’d have no problem trying out. According to her high school’s handbook, a policy of nondiscrimination says any student has rights to “activities made available at the school.”

“That’s why I was confused,” she said. “I figured I could join.”

Amanda is already an accomplished grappler, having practiced jiu jitsu for the last five years and competing in tournaments around the country. She frequently spars with boys — many bigger than herself.

Amanda Leve is trying to change the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's bylaws to let her on the wrestling team at Archbishop Ryan High School. Credit: Provided
Amanda Leve is trying to change the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s bylaws to let her join the wrestling team at Archbishop Ryan High School. Credit: Provided

“She has the experience. She’s very physically fit, very strong,” said her father Mike. “She’s no tiny little girl who has no experience.”

An archdiocese official told Amanda and her father the answer to whether she can play is not a yes or a no, Mike said, but the policy can be discussed at an April meeting.

Even if his daughter won’t be able to make the team this year, Mike said, they will fight for her right. “It’s not going to go away.”

In a statement from the archdiocese, the decision to not allow girls in wrestling and football ensures “an appropriate playing environment that is safe for all participants. They also reflect the Catholic teaching that gender differences are important and play a role in the development of mature Christian identity while serving the distinct differences between male and female athletes.”

The statement also said “the situation will be reviewed moving forward” and that there is “no definitive timetable for a final decision,” but that “all possible factors will be taken into account to ensure that sports programs in our high schools foster an enjoyable and safe atmosphere to supplement academic pursuits and provide for proper human formation with Christian dignity and maturity.”

While Mike said he respects the bylaws, “it’s 2013” he said.

“Women and men compete today,” he said. “This is her future. She wants to be a professional fighter. That’s what she’s training to do. She should be allowed to participate. I know it’s contact but when a boy gets in front of her, he knows it’s a wrestling match. Amanda says, ‘I’m not looking for a boyfriend. I’m going out there to win a match.’ It’s nothing more than a wrestling match.”

Amanda started an online petition, Let Girls Wrestle! Equality for Amanda Leve, which was up to more than 1,100 signatures as of late afternoon today.

“It’s not fair that being a girl denies me the opportunity to compete at school despite having years of experience in mixed-martial arts,” Amanda wrote. “I’m an athlete … and I deserve to be treated fairly.”

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow City Editor Christina Paciolla on Twitter: @cpaciolla

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.