15-year-old girl goes from cheerleader to JV football player in New York

HARRISON, New York -- A 15-year-old girl is making history at a high school in Westchester County, New York.

Last year she was a cheerleader. This year she was a safety and wide receiver.

Ashley Bocek is a sophomore ground-breaker who became Harrison High School's very first female junior varsity football player.

"Ever since cheerleading, I saw the football players and I wanted to be on the football field with them. People said I was crazy for playing because I'm not very big. I'm only 5' 1"," Ashley said.

To make the team, the 15-year-old hurdled past some obstacles that her male teammates never had to face.

"I had to do 40 push-ups consecutively, 57 sit-ups in a minute, do a shuttle run in :09, a 6:20 mile and a flexibility test," Ashley said.

Ashley told WABC, ABC7 News' sister station in New York, that she encountered "doubters" all along the way, in school, on the team, even at home, from her three brothers and her father, a former football player himself.

"She turned out to go with a good group of kids. They gave her slack at first, but in the long run she won them over," said John Bocek, Ashley's father.

The teenager told WABC it was the naysayers who fueled her passion to succeed. And she has a message for any young women looking to follow in her footsteps.

"You're going to get a lot of hate, that's definitely going to happen. But you have to take that hate and turn it into your motivation to prove everyone wrong," Ashley said.

Ashley isn't done just yet with her pioneering ways. Not only does she plan on trying out for the next year's varsity football squad, but to stay in shape during the off-season she just might try wrestling.
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