The first ever girls state wrestling tournament took place this past Saturday at York High School.
More than 100 girls took part in the event, which drew quite a bit in attendance.
When it was said and done, 14 girls were named state champions and West Point-Beemer took home the team title.
Tournament director and former High Plains coach Norm Manstedt was more than pleased with how it went.
“It was a great day all the way around. There was great wrestling by the female athletes, who wrestled their hearts out,” Manstedt said. “Fans really got into it. It was everything I had hoped it would be.”
The area had a state champion as well. Twin Loup junior Ally Micheel took home the 152-pound title after defeating West Point-Beemer’s Brithany Cervantes with an 18-2 technical fall in the final.
“I feel very blessed because I’ve fought those injuries my whole career,” said Micheel, who had ACL injuries to both her knees since her eighth grade year. “This is something I’ll always remember. I got a big hug from my coach (Twin Loup assistant coach Tony Bye) afterward. It really was a lot of fun.”
She said she was a little nervous before her match with Cervantes. She had never wrestled her before but remembered watching her when they were younger.
“I remember watching her my freshman year and she just beat everybody really good. I was like ‘If I lose, this won’t be good,’” she said. “But I went out and took care of business.”
Micheel said she felt the excitement level at the tournament was fun to be a part of. She said the entire Battle Creek boys team was there by the mats cheering on the girls during their matches.
“There was so much support by the boys teams that came and watched. They were going nuts for the girls on their team,” she said. “The boys from Twin Loup have really very supportive for me during my career. That has been great.”
Manstedt said one of the things he enjoyed seeing was the reaction by the athletes.
“The reaction by the girls who realized that they were state champions was really neat to see,” Manstedt said. “Some were jumping up and down and some were crying. It was so cool to see.”
Manstedt said after the success of the tournament Saturday, he feels it’s only going to grow.
“There’s no doubt it will and I think it will double and triple in size,” Manstedt said. “The only problem is that we’ll probably have to have some sort of qualifying event and that will depend what the final vote from the NSAA comes from in April. Our coaches will work with the NSAA to come up with some sort of plan.
“There is going to be one next year, we just don’t know exactly what it’s going to be called or who will be in charge of the main event.”
High Plains’ Allie Burke also competed in the event. She took second in the 138-pound weight class.
Micheel said she felt honored to be part of the first girls state wrestling tournament and feels wrestling gives girls a chance to compete in something. The 106-pound weight class had 20 competitors.
“It was really fun to see all the people that I did, I met so many people and made new friends,” she said. “I feel that since we had a girls state tournament, it’s going to get bigger. And since a lot of colleges are adding women’s wrestling, there’s those kinds of opportunities for girls to wrestle after high school.”
Five area schools compete at state duals
Five area teams will take part of the state duals tournament this Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.
Grand Island, which is making its seventh appearance at the duals, is the No. 2 seed in Class A and will wrestle Kearney for the second time in three days. The two teams will dual each other Thursday at Kearney. Class A will get under way at 10:30 a.m.
Three teams will participate in Class B. Hastings is the No. 1 seed and takes on Minden, Adams Central is the No. 2 seed and battles Gering and Central City is the No. 5 seed and duals Bennington. All Class B duals will get under way at 9 a.m.
Burwell is the No. 3 seed in Class D and opens with Elkhorn Valley. The Class D duals will begin at 10 a.m.
The championship duals will go at the same time and will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Marc Zavala covers high school wrestling for the Independent.