Meet the Highland Springs female wrestler excelling on the mat and in the classroom

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Under Edward Gore's leadership, the Highland Springs Springers are one of the best wrestling programs in the state.

“If you step your foot on that mat, that means you’re ready to rumble,” said Gore.

It takes a special athlete to wrestle for Highland Springs, one with determination, commitment, and mental toughness.

Traits that a one of a kind freshman has developed this season, to her own surprise.

“It's just unbelievable!” said Brittney Reed. “At times… I’m like what?”

Brittney Reed

Reed is a freshman on this year's Highland Springs wrestling team and the only female, which wouldn’t surprise you if you saw how she grew up with two older brothers.

“My brothers were just wrestling, and I thought oh that looks like fun,” recalled Brittney.

She started her path in wrestling at middle school, but the jump to varsity had early challenges.

“There were a lot of tears, like every other day,” said Brittney.

“At first, she said I was too mean to her,” said coach Gore.

With challenges both mentally and physically, Brittney began to have second thoughts.

Brittney Reed

“I think she was second-guessing it,” says her mom Christy Reed. “She was really, she didn't know if she could do it.”

But with each practice, Brittney's confidence grew.

“We really put pressure on her and told her she could be great if she really works for it,” said senior wrestler Christian White.

“If you keep working hard and keep going hard, eventually you'll get there,” said the freshman.

Brittney’s teammates didn't just see a girl, they embraced her as part of the family.

“They really didn't care that I was a girl,” said Brittney.

“Once she showed us that she was as tough as us, it was no reason to seclude her out,” said White.

“You don't find too many females like that. It's a special female and a special person to be able to do stuff like that,” said coach Gore.

Brittney Reed

This season, Brittney is 19-0 against girls in her 170-pound weight class and has four wins over boys including a pin in her first match. The results are a testament to her growth from when she almost wanted to quit.

“I just wasn't there mentally. But now that I’m coming further into the season. I’m like ‘oh… I get it now," said Brittney.

“That's the part to see, the mental toughness," said coach Gore. "Because you’re going to say this really ain't for me, second-guessing yourself. But every day she came into this room. Every day she came back, I was like, she's tough.”

“She’s never been challenged like that and she has made it a long way in a short period of time that coach has had her,” said Brittney’s dad Michael Reed.

Depending on when you catch Brittney during the day, you may not recognize her. Her classmates know her as the one with the painted fingernails and wearing dresses.

Brittney Reed and coach Gore

Brittney’s teammates wouldn’t recognize her as that same person that has accomplished all she has at this point of the season.

“So, like in school, I like to dress girly, I like wearing fingernail polish, I like doing my hair, I like wearing dresses. I like being a girl,” said the teen. “But behind everything, I’m like a dude.”

As strong as Brittney has become on the wrestling mat, she is equally as competitive in the classroom.  Brittney is currently in the ACA program, maintaining a 3.9-grade point average.

In the program, Brittney will be able to earn her associate’s degree in high school for business administration.

“I couldn’t handle it. She does it very well,” said her dad Michael.

Anything less, Brittney won’t accept it.

“I’m like it can be better," she says. "It can be an ‘A.’ It can always be better and that’s what you want to strive for is to be better than you were last nine weeks.”

Watch for Lane Casadonte and Sean Robertson's "Beyond the Roster" features Thursdays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. and on WTVR.com. Click here for more "Beyond the Roster."   If you would like to nominate someone to be profiled, email us.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.