Some feel it is a virtue to be able to believe in something without evidence, while others feel it is foolishness. Anala Smith found her reasoning for joining up with the Shelton wrestling team this season being questioned. \u201cIt was a leap of faith,\u201d said Smith, who finished sixth in the 126-pound weight class at the CIAC\u2019s All-Girls Wrestling State Open Invitational in New Haven on Saturday. \u201cMy parents looked at each other, then looked at me and said: \u2018No, you are not.\u2019 Then they agreed, and to be honest it shocked me too when I went to the first practice.\u201d Wrestling is difficult. There are winners and losers on the mat during competitions. There are those that fight, and those the quit, when faced with grueling practices. \u201cThe workouts are so hard,\u201d said Smith, who ran cross country last fall and is thinking of running track as a junior. \u201cThose 20-minute runs are killers. It is difficult being the only girl on the team. The physical stuff is one thing, the biggest thing is staying mentally tough. \u201cThere were times I thought of not going to practice. But I asked myself, \u2018Then why have you gone this far and are now going to give up?\u2019 The guys on the team have been so supportive. I thank God for sticking with it. We are now like a family. We tell each other during every workout to keep going.\u201d By her count, Smith took the mat upwards of 20 times against boys from other schools and has yet to have her hand raised in victory. \u201cThat is why this weekend was so important,\u201d she said. \u201cIt was fun to wrestle girls. More importantly, it was a learning experience seeing the different moves and the examples set by others. It inspired me to continue.\u201d How about working on friends to take on wrestling? \u201cMy friends are scared of doing it, and part of me doesn\u2019t blame them,\u201d Smith said. \u201cThey know about how tough it is. What they don\u2019t know, and no one does, is how great it is to be part of it. It\u2019s bigger than yourself.\u201d Smith feet aren\u2019t completely on the ground just yet. \u201cI\u2019m going to try rugby (the Aspetuck Valley Rugby Club) this spring,\u201d she said. \u201cThey are creating a girls\u2019 team and I\u2019ve been asked to tryout. It looks interesting.\u201d Smith was one of 70 competitors in 10 weight classes that competed mat-next-to-mat with the boys at their State Open at the Floyd Little Athletic Center on Saturday. The number of states sanctioning girls wrestling has grown to 21 from four just five years ago. And states where it is not sanctioned as a team sport, such as Connecticut, are starting to hold all-girls tournaments. West Virginia held its first earlier in February.