Diné wrestler at U of A leaves it all on the mat


Navajo Times | Submitted
University of Arizona freshman Chasitty Todacheenie is the only female wrestler for the University of Arizona wrestling team. Todacheenie is a graduate of Shiprock High School who is studying pre-physiology in Tucson. She competes in the 120-pound weight class and won her first match by a pin over the weekend against an opponent from the University of California Los Angeles.

Every time Chasitty Todacheenie steps on to the wrestling mat, she has something to prove.

Some might be quick to think that she’s trying to prove her physical strength or mental toughness, but she’s actually trying to prove herself to the world.

“I get really nervous before my match. I think all the memories of people telling me that I won’t live up to my dreams or something, just doubting me, come back and it’s like I have to prove them wrong,” she said. “I have to show them that there’s more to me than what they think.”

That mentality is why Todacheenie wrestles and why she was hooked when she was introduced to the sport in middle school. But most importantly, it’s why she wrestles today for the University of Arizona team.

A freshman at the University of Arizona, Todacheenie, 18, graduated from Shiprock High School last spring and moved to Tucson to study pre-physiology.

While attending orientation, she heard of many organizations and clubs available to her, but her spirits lifted most when she heard the word wrestling.

With a new school, the move to a new town, starting a new chapter in her life, and of all the big changes that follow upon graduating high school, she needed wrestling to help her.

“Wrestling for me is, it helps me deal with a lot of things that I go through, that I deal with; stress and anxiety, depression,” she said. “I just take it all out on the mat.”

An old friend introduced wrestling to Todacheenie. She typically practiced with the boys and received strange looks, as she was often the only girl competing.

When she got to high school, she still had the bug and it was telling her to keep wrestling.

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Categories: Wrestling

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.