Wrestlers place at Girls State Wrestling Championship

Rosalia Salazar and Frida Loera

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Three wrestlers placed at the third annual Girls State Wrestling Championships on February 9th in McPherson, KS.

Sophomore Dialeen French competed in 113lb bracket and placed 4th. She has been wrestling since her freshman year. “Throughout the season I’ve kept working on getting better and better,” French said. “I’m really happy I placed.”

Female wrestling has seen an increase in participation in recent years, but in the state of Kansas it continues to be unsanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), which means it is not recognized as an official high school sport.

Currently, there are only six states that hold official state championship tournaments recognized and run by their state scholastic governing body. The last state to recognize the sport was the state of Alaska in 2014.

KSHSAA’s executive board is set meet in April and vote on whether to create girls wrestling’s own official championship and high school division, with separate weight classes and state champions.

At the competition, freshman Bhila Benji competed in the 106lb bracket and was crowned State Champion as she won her bracket. Before reaching the state championship, Benji had only won one of her matches all season.

During the season she had wrestled against guys so, “coming to state and wrestling all girls was much easier,” Benji said. “I was super proud of myself,” Benji said. “I’ve progressed so much since December.”

Senior Fatima Ortiz also competed placed 5th in the 170lb bracket. “I’m really happy I placed at state especially because it’s the first year I’ve wrestled,’ Ortiz said. “I’m happy I got the chance to participate in this sport and meet so many cool people”

Although coming into the sport as a girl and the thought of having to wrestle boys might be intimidating for some, the girls recommend other girls should tryout for the sport because it is fun. “It’s hard at first, but if you keep going with it you’ll enjoy it a lot,” French said.