For most, the sport of wrestling is either an acquired taste, or one grossly mistaken for weekly television dramas steeped more in sports entertainment.
Though not scripted for two to three hours of high impact action, it didn’t take much to reel Mackenzie Tecco in, taking a liking to the mat at the age of 8.
“My brother (Kyle) started wrestling (at St. James), actually,” she said. “I just started watching and thought, ‘Oh my God!, that looks kind of cool.’ So I just started doing it and hanging out with everyone, and really, really started liking it.”
A decade after falling in love with the sport, the St. James wrestling standout’s hard work has paid off in more ways than one.
On Thursday, Tecco signed a scholarship to King University (Bristol, Tenn.) wrestling team. She is the first St. James female wrestler to sign a collegiate Letter of Intent.
“(Thursday) was a big day for Mackenzie. She’s been in and out my office all year, talking about this,” said St. James athletic director Paula Lee. “And it’s a big day for St. James, we’ve never had a female wrestler sign a scholarship.”
A varsity letterman for four years, she also was a member of the Grand Strand Wrestling Club. While part of the club, Tecco won a pair of state titles in the boys free style division, two more in the boys Greco division and three women’s national championships.
Speaking of her wrestling with the boys, Tecco said doing so has — and will continue to —help better her on the mat.
“It definitely makes you a tougher wrestler working out with the guys 24-7,” she said. “I went to King this past weekend and I kept up with them, and that is a huge difference to them having wrestled girls all the time. It makes you better when you can keep up with everyone else.”
As symbolic as her signing on the dotted line, was the timing of the event. It occurred during Women’s Wrestling Week, as deemed by USA Wrestling.
Tecco hopes her success will eventually draw more females to the mat.
“I hope it helps, because over the years I’ve coached a bunch of girls,” she said. “And it’s nice to see how some would like to get into it. It would be huge … like being around here it would nice to come back and have a team (of female wrestlers).”