Sanpete wrestlers place in state tourney
A first: Hawk, Templar girls wrestle at state
By Marcy Curtis
OREM—Girls wrestlers from Manti High School and North Sanpete High School made history last week by competing at the first UHSAA Girls Wrestling State Championships.
This was the first year for sanctioned girls’ wresting and several classifications were joined together. The competition was held Wednesday. Feb. 17 at Mountain View High School.
The Manti girls’ wrestling team consisted of five girls this year and two of them placed in state.
Not all of Manti’s girls are new to the wrestling lifestyle. Karlie Strikland has grown up with wrestling as a part of her life. Her dad Cody started Team Takedown, a youth wrestling program in Ephraim, many years ago. Her uncles were all wrestlers and so it was in her blood. Strickland started wrestling last year with the boys team, but wasn’t as serious about it until this year.
Strickland pinned her first opponent at state, Zoey Barney of Union in just 41 seconds. After falling short to in her quarterfinal match, Strickland battled back through the consolations, pinning all three of her next opponents in the first rounds. Strickland placed fifth overall in her weight class.
Rebecca Williams also placed at the tournament. Williams had fewer wrestlers in her bracket and placed fourth after winning her quarterfinal match over Elish Rennie of Utah Military Academy.
Three girls make up the Lady Hawks wrestling team and even though none of them placed at state, the girls were happy with their accomplishments this year. All three of the girls were first year wrestlers. Practices were hard with the smaller number of participants and they had to find ways to learn and get better.
Aiyana Spencer is a sophomore and first year wrestler. Spencer has always enjoyed watching wrestling and when word came that UHSAA was bringing girls wrestling on board this year, she was excited.
“I was hoping that there would be more girls in my high school interested in wrestling. Thankfully I wasn’t alone and had a couple others join me,” she said.
Wrestling Coach Jared Nicolson hopes that as the sport continues on through the years more and more girls will give it a chance and that team will grow in numbers.