Girls wrestling added to winter sports lineup

KSHSAA added the sport statewide in 2020

Madelyn Welch and Julia Coacher

Girls wrestling is a new addition to winter sports this year, led by head coach Travis Keal and assistant coach Michelle McRay. There are currently 11 girls on the team and the season, which will consist of tournaments and duals, runs for about three months.

KSHSAA approved girls wrestling in the winter of 2020. In the first year any schools that had a team were able to compete against each other. For this season, the team will compete in a combined class of 5A and 6A. Division I is 5A and 6A. Division II is 1A through 4A.

McRay has many goals in mind for the team and hopes to see every girl succeed and provide support and help for them.

“I just have the goal of keeping every girl involved. I want to see them all finish the season and meet their personal goals and help them to that, whatever that may be,” McRay said.

Keal’s main goal is for the girls to have fun wrestling even though it is a tough sport mentally and physically.

“I just want to get them excited about it. It’s a hard sport to be fun, but the hard work, work ethic and the character in the sport outweighs the medals and trophies,” Keal said.

McRay sees girls wrestling as an opportunity for girls to participate in wrestling with more ideal competitors.

“Wrestling is a sport that really differs between boys and girls. Wrestling is one where there’s a huge difference in just the way our bodies are made and how we’re able to wrestle together, so I think it’s super important for girls to be separate from boys and girls need to have the opportunity,” McRay said.

Freshman Lexus Pennel is an athlete on the team who is looking forward to having the opportunity to develop her wrestling skills with other girls on the team.

“I am excited to be a part of the team and learn with the other girls,” Pennel said. “[My goal is] to improve and get better at what I’m doing in wrestling.”

For a full winter sports lineup click here.

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