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By: Mike Ferguson, Contributing Columnist.

Davenport - For a select number of Polk County female student-athletes this academic year, the term "playing with the big boys" was more than a saying. It was a reality.

Last month at Ridge Community High School, Layla Nickerson signed her letter of intent to wrestle at Iowa Wesleyan, a Division III school. Nickerson, 17, became the first Bolts' female wrestler ever to earn an NCAA scholarship.

When it came to competing against boys, Nickerson wasn't alone at her school. This past fall, Molly Martin served as the placekicker for the Ridge Community football team. In her first game - a 47-20 win over Bartow - Martin became the first girl in Bolts' history to score in a varsity game when she made five extra points.

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