WINNEBAGO, NE (KTIV) – The conversation has begun about girls wrestling and its place in high school athletics. Iowa had a girls-only wrestling tournament last weekend but they weren’t the first Siouxland state to break the mold.
Takedown, escape, pin, all terms used in wrestling. Long-considered a boys sport. On the mats at Winnebago – it’s a different story.
“Around here, everyone’s been supportive over the sport,” said freshman Janae Doxey.
Girls wrestle alongside, and against boys.
“No matter what it is, we still have to have two people out in the middle,” said Winnebago head coach Adam Tranmer. “It may be a boy, it may be a girl, I’m not going to treat you any different.”
“That gives us a better chance to show the world that girls can wrestle, and that we can go against guys.”
Only seven states currently sanction girls wrestling. But girls participation in the sport has seen a recent spike in Nebraska. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in Winnebago, where five girls are out to grapple, four freshmen and a junior.
“I know that, not just me, or my other teammates, there’s not just only us, but there’s other girls out there that want to do this sport, and want to break the rules.”
And that sparked history last week when 21 girls from seven schools met in Winnebago for Nebraska’s first-ever girls-only wrestling invitational.
“This is really groundbreaking for these girls,” said Tranmer. “To be on that ground floor and to do something special for them like this, it’s awesome.”
“It gives me hope for girls wrestling to start going across Nebraska,” said Doxey.
In a town where basketball is king, grappling is gaining momentum. Where is this sport going in Winnebago?
“Through the roof,” said Tranmer. “There’s just more and more kids coming out, and they see the potential of having success.”
And the Lady Indians are leading the charge on change in Nebraska. One takedown, escape and pin at a time.
“We’re making history,” said George.
Winnebago has 20 kids out for wrestling, with the girls making up a quarter of the roster. The program’s growth is even more impressive when you consider that boys wrestling at the school is only in its third year.