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Cristelle Rodriguez: Overcoming Mental Health Hurdles for Wrestling World Title

Doane’s Cristelle Rodriguez: Triumphing Over Mental Health Struggles to Pursue a World Wrestling Title

Meet Cristelle Rodriguez, a world-class wrestler hailing from Doane University. This inspiring young woman is anything but ordinary; overcoming personal battles, breaking gender norms, and gaining notable accolades in a male-dominated sport.

Turning Challenges into Triumphs

Rodriguez’s journey begins in sunny California, where she first fell in love with wrestling at the tender age of nine. Inspired by her brother, she yearned for her chance to shine on the mat, undeterred by the stereotypical perception of wrestling as a “guys’ sport.

Cristelle Rodriguez: A Star on the Rise

Now a sophomore at Doane, her resume boasts an impressive list of accolades including the Cadet World Silver Medal, two-time state champion of California, two-time national champion, and two-time world team member. Her ambitions for this summer? Nothing less than clinching a world championship title in Poland.

 The Uphill Battle Against Mental Health Issues

Yet, Rodriguez’s journey was not without trials. A pressure-cooker environment, high training demands, and a culture that equated success with winning left her mentally strained.

The once vibrant wrestler found herself battling depression, leading her to step away from the sport she loved in her junior year of high school.

The Turning Point: Doane University

Upon graduating from high school, Rodriguez faced a crossroads. While uncertain about college, she took a leap of faith and decided to join Doane University. Little did she know that this decision would mark a pivotal turn in her journey.

The Role of Doane’s Wrestling Coach, Dana Vote

Doane University’s wrestling coach, Dana Vote, played a crucial role in Rodriguez’s journey. Coach Vote’s unwavering belief in Rodriguez’s potential and genuine concern for her happiness served as an anchor for her recovery.

He championed an atmosphere that nurtured her mental health while empowering her to excel in the sport she loves.

 The Comeback Journey: Rodriguez Reclaims Her Life

Rodriguez’s determination, coupled with a strong support system, fueled her comeback journey. After much perseverance, she found herself back on the mat, filled with a renewed love for the sport.

The journey ahead is not without hurdles. Rodriguez admits to her ongoing daily battles with mental health.

Yet, she is now better equipped and more resilient, buoyed by her supportive community at Doane. She believes that resuming wrestling has been akin to reattaching a piece of her heart, making her feel happier and more whole.

A Glimpse into the Future: USA Training Center

On the immediate horizon, Rodriguez is headed for the USA training center. Here, she’ll engage with the country’s best wrestlers, bolstering her skills and confidence ahead of the world championships in Poland.

Rodriguez’s story stands as a testament to resilience and strength, serving as a beacon of hope to all those grappling with their mental health while chasing their dreams.


  1. Michelson, L. (2023, June 9). After wrestling with mental health, Doane’s Cristelle Rodriguez eyes world title. KLKN-TV. Retrieved from https://www.klkntv.com/after-wrestling-with-mental-health-doanes-cristelle-rodriguez-eyes-world-title/
  2. Doane University Athletics. (2023). Athlete Profile: Cristelle Rodriguez. Retrieved from https://doaneathletics.com/sports/womens-wrestling/roster/cristelle-rodriguez
  3. National Wrestling Hall of Fame. (2022). Cadet World Silver Medalists. Retrieved from https://nwhof.org/blog/cadet-world-silver-medalists/
  4. California State Wrestling Association. (2022). Women’s State Champions. Retrieved from https://www.ca-usaw.org/page/show/1088074-girls-women

External Links

For more information about mental health in sports, you can visit:

For more information about women in wrestling, you can visit:

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