LAWRENCE. Ind. – Move over boys, ladies are getting onto the mat at a record pace.
More than 130 girls competed Friday night at Lawrence North for the chance to win a state wrestling title.
FOX59 spoke with the man behind the state tournament, Gary Myers. He is also the coach of Hamilton Heights High School’s wrestling team, where 5 girls wrestle on the team.
His passion is running IHSGW, an organization that started the first girls state wrestling tournament last year.
According to Myers, since the tournament’s inception last year, the IHSAA has been monitoring how it operates. Myers believes with the momentum and number of girls competing, it’s just a matter of time before it’s an official high school sport.
135 girls competed from high school programs all across the state that are mostly made up of boys.
Brackets were divided by north and south and the finals were originally supposed to take place last Friday, but harsh weather delayed the tournament.
Unlike boys wrestling, there is not a team competition. However, officials determined scoring from the individual tournament to crown Penn High School, located in Mishawaka, the state’s team champion.
Girls who generally beat up on the boys skipped out on conference tournaments to be able to become a state champion.
Bloomington South’s Ciera Broukal won state Friday by defeating Hamilton Height’s Markaela Pugh, 4-0. She placed 6th at USAW Women’s Nationals in spring of 2016, and is a two time All-American.
The sport is getting so popular it has spread to the collegiate ranks. While it hasn’t made it to officially as an NCAA sport yet, the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) governs several NAIA and NCAA programs.
Their role is to standardize competition rules for girls until the NCAA or NAIA recognizes it as an emerging sport. Some even offer full scholarships for girls wrestling, but not all programs have adopted this yet.
“My hope is to see girls competing at this tournament being able to pay their way through college,” Myers said.
Take a look at every state champion from each individual weight class:
- 88 lbs – Jayden Johnson, Penn
- 98 lbs – Destiny Garris, Evansville Central
- 106 lbs – Ciera Broukal, Bloomington South
- 113 lbs – Kaylee Adams, West Vigo
- 120 lbs – Mallory Engle, Avon
- 126 lbs – Alise Terhune, Warren Central
- 132 lbs – Selina Brown, Monrovia
- 145 lbs – Alexis Bernal, Warren Central
- 152 lbs – Madison Burke, Penn
- 160 lbs – Jasmine Hale, Pike
- 170 lbs – Aiesha Helepa, Penn
- 182 lbs – Jessica Moore, Cass
- 195 lbs – Madeline Flight, Pike
- 220 lbs – Andelisia Henry, Penn
- HWT – Abby Kimes, North Putnam