The girls wrestling program at Columbus High School is still very new. In fact, girls wrestling teams across the entire state of Kansas are new. The Kansas State High School Activities Association sanctioned the sport, for girls, last year.
Columbus started with just four girls on the team in its first year. Now, it has doubled in size. Its athletes and coaches take recruiting efforts seriously.
“We try to be in contact with everyone around the school and advertise the sport on social media,” says first-year wrestler, Dixee Lacen. “We want to show girls what it’s actually about and that it’s not as scary as it looks.”
It’s important to them to dispel the misnomers of the sport.
“Girls just don’t know what this sport is about,” Lacen says. “They say it’s a “guy thing.”
The majority of the team had never wrestled prior to high school and the sport’s sanctioning.
“They’re pretty green as far as knowledge,” says head coach, Marcus Bowman. “We don’t have any girls that started wrestling when they were 6 or 7 years old like some other schools do. We’re really starting from scratch and it’s good.”
The lack of experience hasn’t shown on the mat. This year, the Columbus girls won their district and were runners up at regionals. Five girls qualified to compete in sub state this weekend.
“They picked it up fast. They’re like sponges,” Bowman says. “Since they are new to the sport, they don’t have any bad habits. They’re very coachable and they have passion.”
The program has grown and achieved a lot and in a short amount of time.
“That just really shows a lot about our school, coaches and community,” Lacen says. “They’re all out there supporting us. We’re taking that support and going and getting results out of it.”
Second year wrestler, Addison Saporito agrees. “We’re all really hard workers and we’re all just really passionate about it and want to prove to people what we can do,” she says.
No matter how the season finishes, the girls say they have a lot to be proud of.
“I might not win sub state, I might not even make it state, but doing as well as I’ve done and encouraging the girls around me to do as well as they’ve done… that’s what keeps us going,” Lacen says.