MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - 16-year-old Rutland High School sophomore Emily Pinson is known around Mid-State Wrestling Academy in Macon as just one of the guys, but when she first started the sport three years ago, she didn't get much respect at tournaments around Georgia.
"At first, they were skeptical about it," says Pinson. "They'd always ask me, 'Why are you doing it?' 'Are you doing it just to be around the guys?' It just got under my skin a little bit, but it's no big deal now."
No big deal now, because Emily has won match after match against the girls, and yes, she's even beat out the guys a few times, too.
"I was wrestling a guy and he was beating me the first period," says Pinson. "Then I came back and kicked his butt."
In two weeks, she'll travel to Sweden with USA Wrestling to take on competition from around the world.
"Never was there a time when I thought that I would have a girl that was on the world team going overseas first," says Emily's coach and owner of Mid-State Wrestling, Dave Mathews. "I always thought that it would have been a guy, so the opportunities for girls in all athletics are wide open nowadays, and it's somwhat easier for the girls to make teams and do those things because there is such a lack of girls wanting to participate and get involved."
After Sweden, it's more training: 15 to 20 hours a week of it. The teen hopes to qualify for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
"If I get to go to the Olympics and wrestle and represent the United States and Lizella, Georgia, that'd mean the world to me," says Pinson. "That's just one of my ultimate dreams."
Emily will leave on February 12th to compete in Sweden.
From there, she'll return home for the spring and summer for freestyle season before heading out to Fargo, North Dakota for the national tournament, where she was an All-American last year.