It is hard to not take notice of sophomore Dasia Yearby when it comes to wrestling. She is a female competitor in a sport that is largely dominated by males (although the number of female wrestlers has steadily increased over the past few years, they still account for less than eight percent of total high school wrestlers).
But also, she wins. A lot.
She is currently ranked number 6 in the nation for girls’ high school wrestling in her weight class. She is a part of the US National Team and will be traveling to Estonia in March to compete in the Tallinn Open, the largest European youth tournament. She has a freestyle national championship and is the first girl in South Carolina history to ever win a Super 32 National Championship.
Because of her already very successful wrestling career, many may be surprised to know that it wasn’t necessarily her first choice. Dasia started in the Update Karate program at the age of four where she learned both karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Her father, Damien, recalls that she really “took to and excelled at the grappling more than anything else.” When she was in fifth grade, her Jiu Jitsu school dropped their kids program, Damien offered to find her a new program, but instead Dasia made the transition to wrestling. According to Dasia she wasn’t really interested in wrestling, but when her Jiu Jitsu program shut down, she wanted to give it a try because of how similar it is to Jiu Jitsu.
This is Dasia’s sixth season wrestling. She did two years at the Hillcrest Youth Wrestling program and then started wrestling at CCES in seventh grade, as well as in the national circuit in the spring and summer.
To say Dasia has taken to wrestling well would be an understatement, but her parents recall it wasn’t easy in the beginning, especially as she was learning the various moves and techniques involved. Her mother, Stacey, was initially a little weary but notes she had to develop “tough skin not only for herself but for Dasia as well.” However, she could see “right away how quickly Dasia took to the sport and that she could definitely hold her own.”
For Damien, it hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier watching her compete as he worries for her safety as she competes against boys who are often bigger and stronger. For him, one thing that helps has been a routine he and Dasia have established. They pray before every single tournament, both local and national. If he’s there, they will go into the corner and pray before she competes. If he’s not there, she calls him on the phone and they pray together after weigh-ins.
Both Damien and Stacey have enjoyed watching Dasia grow as a competitor. For Damien, watching her “achieve her goals gives him a great sense of accomplishment as a father.” Stacey is proud of Dasia’s determination through it all – in working hard when she was first learning all the moves, in pushing past comments she hears about being a female wrestler and also in other aspects of her life including her studies. Stacey notes that Dasia has “had to learn to use her time during the day wisely” for school work and that “her determination to do well on the mat mirrors her school dedication.”
When asked what lessons she has learned through wrestling, Dasia reflects that there is a lot it has taught her. It has taught her the importance of persistence and perseverance in working towards goals. She says that not everyone recognizes the “entire process” of hard work that goes into achieving success. Wrestling has also helped her with handling pressure. This stems from something her dad taught her when she was younger; they call it the five P’s: “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” Dasia has competed at some of the highest levels of the sport and through that has learned that “nervousness is just a passing emotion and the work she has put in is not going to change.” She just has to “have faith in all of the hard work” she has done in preparation.
This sport has also taught her a balance of humility and confidence. Humility in never underestimating an opponent and going into each match knowing “nothing is guaranteed.” At the same time, she also has confidence in herself, which has helped her “thrive in uncomfortable situations” that often are centered around her being a girl in the wrestling world. For Dasia, this confidence is based in God. Wrestling has helped her grow closer to the Lord as she states: “I can’t do anything without Him and I can do everything with Him.”
Determination and competitiveness seem to be a common thread when it comes to Dasia. CCES Assistant Coach, Kenneth Ramey, states that “before all, Dasia is a competitor. She works hard in practice, not only to push herself, but also to push her teammates to get better.” She continues to grow as both a wrestler and a leader, but even with all of her achievements, she remains humble. Coach Ramey observes that Dasia “would rather the team get credit than herself individually.”
For Dasia, she is adamant that she wouldn’t be where she is today as a wrestler without her “network of support.” She is incredibly grateful for the community she has in place that pushes her to be better and build her up with positivity.
Coach Ramey believes that “sky is the limit” for Dasia, who has two more high school seasons (in addition to the rest of the current season) ahead of her. She has a lot of goals but with her determination, work ethic and faith behind her, nothing can hold her back as she reaches for what she wants. Coach Ramey certainly speaks for the entire CCES community when he says: “We are proud of Dasia and her dedication to her craft. We look forward to seeing how far she can go.”
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