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Wrestling no longer just for the boys - West Point-Beemer establishes program with 22 girls

Wrestling no longer just for the boys - West Point-Beemer establishes program with 22 girls
Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 24, 2018
and last updated 2019-04-05 15:04:37-04

WEST POINT, Neb. (KMTV) — In most Nebraska high schools, when you find girls in the wrestling room, they're either student managers, cheerleaders or scorekeepers, but at West Point-Beemer, they hit the mat.

"I don't think a lot of girls see it as a girls sports, just because it's really physical and you're getting rough with other people. I think they just mainly see it as guys because that's how it's been for so long," says senior Myla Illian.

That's changing fast. More than 100 girls across the state, including 22 at West Point-Beemer alone, came out for wrestling this year..

The momentum is strong enough in Nebraska, that girls wrestling could be its own sanctioned sport, as soon as next year.

"It would be cool to make my own records, not under the guys so it would be awesome to have our own state and do our own thing and not have to be part of the guys," says junior, Estefania Barragan.

A girls only team was created two years ago at West Point-Beemer, as coaches wanted to avoid girl vs. boy matchups.

So now the Lady Cadets travel to tournaments with the boys team but they only wrestle a handful of girls from other schools.

"It's a no win scenario when a guy wrestles a girl, if you beat a girl so what, if you get beat by a girl you never live it down," says head wrestling coach Ray Maxwell.

Every year the program grows with Coach Maxwell telling the girls skills they learn on the mat can be used once they graduate and head to college.

"They're walking across the campus and somebody jumps them from behind..they know how to reverse em, you know, and get the upper hand," says Maxwell.

"Many people think if girls wrestling does become a sanctioned sport, girls will be interested in hitting the mat in more places than just West Point."

Many in the wrestling world in Nebraska believe, if girls wrestling does become sanctioned by the NSAA, even more girls across the state will sign up.

"I think if you build it they will come," Maxwell.

"They need to see that there is a state that we are going to sanction it for them to come," says Barragan.

"If you're able to wrestle girls, I think it would a lot more comfortable for other girls and I think they'd want to join," says Illian.

And while a final decision will likely come in March at the NSAA general assembly, freshman Diana Cervantes is already thinking about a spot at the podium.

"I would actually like to place first in the first state."

Some colleges in Nebraska have recently created girls wrestling programs including Midland University and York College.

Several of the girls on the West Point-Beemer team have wrestled for the Nebraska club team that has won back to back titles in the Midwest AAU National Championship in Des Moines.