NICKERSON, Kan. (KSNW) – A Nickerson teen is sticking it to the mat at the high school and international level.
“It’s definitely a part of me,” said Nikki Moore. “I just feel better wrestling. It helps take away stress and relaxes me.”
Moore, 18, is a senior at Nickerson High School. She is the high school’s top female wrestler, but her competitive edge reaches farther than the city she calls home.
“When I am not doing high school, I compete nationally,” she said.
Moore is currently ranked second in the nation at 112 pounds. She was recently asked to represent Team USA in a wrestling tournament in Estonia in 2020.
“I am really excited to go over there and test myself against girls from other countries and see where I stand because that’s the end goal, the Olympics,” Moore said.
The Olympics was not even on the teen’s radar about a decade ago.
“If you looked at me when I was younger, you would not have been like that girl is going to be a good wrestler someday,” she laughed.
Moore’s dad signed her up for wrestling when she was in elementary school.
“I wasn’t very good though. I lost like every match for the first two years,” Moore said.
However, Moore never gave up. Her determined nature and work ethic led to numerous wins.
“There is no feeling that compares when you go out there and you overcome a hard match and you get your hand raised,” she said.
Moore said her teammates are a driving force in her success. She said she has never felt any negativity about her gender in what is an emerging sport for female athletes.
“For me, there’s never been any separation and with my teammates, there has never been any separation. As long as I am willing to go out there and work hard and I work hard with them here in the practice room, they don’t care if I am a girl or a guy, I am just another wrestler,” she explained.
Moore will compete in Estonia in March of 2020.
She said the community played a pivotal role in helping her family secure the funding for the trip.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do it because of the money,” Moore said. “It was just so exciting and going through all of the fundraising and stuff. It’s just becoming more and more real.”