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Mira Mesa High School female wrestler 'grappling' with success

McCaskill won a CIF championship in 2021 and finished in seventh place as a freshman in the state championship tournament.

SAN DIEGO — When I heard about the success of Birta McCaskill, I grabbed my camera, jumped in the car and headed to Mira Mesa High School.

I met a well-spoken sophomore who understands her somewhat unwanted role of being a standout female athlete.  

Birta McCaskill wrestles at 106 pounds where she absolutely dominates whether she is wrestling girls or boys. 

"Last year she was a starter in our league lineup," Coach Craig Van Dyke said. "She was a league champion in the boys division. As a freshman. Wrestling up a weight class!"

This season more of her competitions are against girls, but her experience against the boys has made her nearly unbeatable. 

"Boys don't like losing to her, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about in losing to Birta because she's a very good wrestler," said her coach.

McCaskill started wrestling at the age of six. Last year as a freshman she was the girls CIF Champion and finished in seventh place in state. The girls team at Mira Mesa also won CIF in its first year as a full program.

I asked Birta if she likes being a trailblazer. 

"Yes and no," Birta said. "I don't like being known big for that. I like to stay in a little bubble and just do my thing. But I do like it because I like inspiring young girls to come out and wrestle. It's been a male sport for a long time. It teaches a lot about yourself mentally."

Birta hopes to defend both her individual and team CIF Championships this year and finish on the podium at the state meet topping her seventh place finish from 2021. 

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