The Gridiron Girl

The Gridiron Girl

Maggie Smith is a fierce competitor out on the football field, which is evident in her work ethic. Photo by Brayden Flack.

Maggie Smith is just “one of the boys.”

Or at least you might make that assumption about the Rock Springs High School (RSHS) sophomore once you get to know her.

As for Smith, you’ll most likely find her in one of three places: the weight room, football field or on a wrestling mat. She is no stranger to getting her hands dirty and competing in physical sports that most girls her age often choose to avoid.

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Growing up with two older brothers, Smith spent a lot of time around the sports and activities they were in, which influenced her to begin her own athletic journey. At the age of four, she started peewee wrestling and by the time she reached fourth grade, she decided to give football a shot. Since then, both sports have become a part of her identity.

“I just love how intense, how hard it is,” Smith said. “I’m one of those people that I want to push myself. I don’t want to do anything easy.”

In youth leagues, being a girl didn’t matter much at a young age as kids didn’t give it much thought. As she’s aged, there have been some challenges playing in male-dominant sports, but she feels like she’s a part of a family.

I’ve always been around these guys and they are like a family to me. It’s not a big deal that I’m a girl.

Maggie Smith

When Smith used to come to Rock Springs football games she always knew she wanted to play and wear the black and orange. That vision became a reality, as she currently plays on the junior varsity football team and dresses out for varsity games. She serves the Tigers on the offensive and defensive line.

Maggie Smith looks on from the sidelines during a home varsity football game against Sheridan. Photo by Brayden Flack.

Around middle school, Smith’s love for wrestling grew when she realized her own potential in the sport. That potential has led her to a spot on the Tigers’ wrestling team where she rolls around the mats during the winter months.

In 2017, she competed in the US Marine Corps Girls Folkstyle Nationals and was crowned a national champion in Oklahoma City.

But more important to Smith than winning a football game or being crowned a champion is seeing herself improve.

“The stuff I’m more proud about is seeing myself improve,” Smith said. “Hearing my coaches talk about me and how they see me as a person, that’s the stuff that I care about more than a national title.”

As she enters her sophomore year of wrestling with the Tigers, she hopes to continue to build upon her speed and confidence.

While Smith still has plenty of work to do, her goals in wrestling include earning a spot to wrestle at the collegiate level and compete in the Olympics one day.

An Example to All

Being an example for other people in all aspects of Smith’s life is something that she aims toward each day. She has become more aware of the number of eyes that are on her, and that responsibility is not something that she takes lightly.

Whenever she sees younger girls in peewee wrestling, she tries to encourage them to go out for other sports like football. A lot of girls around the state have asked her if she’s the one girl playing on the football team or the Rock Springs girl who wrestles.

“I’ve noticed there’s a lot more eyes on me, so I’m taking it more seriously that I am a role model and I need to help these girls and younger boys,” Smith said.

Photo by Brayden Flack

“I don’t know who’s eyes are on me, but I need to be more aware than the average 15-year-old because anybody could be paying attention,” Smith said.

Smith said she wants to help kids who want to work hard like she does to make good programs, whether it be male or female athletes. Her best advice for any young girl or boy looking to try something most others wouldn’t is to “just go for it.”

“Do what you want and if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out. There’s only one way to find it out,” Smith said.

That advice has worked for Smith throughout the years and it’s inspiring her to make a change when it comes to traditional norms in sports while at the same time allowing her to chase her dreams.

And because of that, perhaps in the future there will be more than just one Maggie.