BLHS trains its first Girls’ Wrestling Team


Written by: Lane Barrette, Co-Editor

Girls’ wrestling is currently the fastest growing sport in the state of Kansas. Starting this school year, Basehor-Linwood will now have a girls’ wrestling team.

“Girls’ wrestling is currently making its way to the midwest, and I felt that because it is growing so fast, I wanted to bring the opportunity to girls here,” said head coach Jay Johnston.

The team is comprised of freshmen Cadence Christenson and Shelby Noonan, sophomores Molly Dunnington and Olivia O’Donnell, junior Katie Cook and seniors Halee Walker and Haylee Deaton.

“I feel like my choice to wrestle for my senior year was an act of trying new things and creating an environment that allows other girls to experience a different type of sport. I wanted to be an inspiration to the future BLHS girls’ wrestling team and have the opportunity to make my mark, on the LadyCats first girls’ wrestling team,” said Deaton.

Wrestling, for both boys and girls, teaches lessons like persistence and hardship, which influenced Johnston to provide the girls with the opportunity to gain these skills.

“It’s exciting to see the girls challenge themselves. A lot of [wrestling} is taking risks and learning to enjoy the toughness of wrestling that can give you the lessons of hard work that make you have qualities that can be useful in the real world,” said Johnston.

Girls’ wrestling shares the same challenges as the male counterpart, however, there are social hurdles the team has to deal with.

“The most challenging aspect of girls’ wrestling is that it’s not super accepted and some people think it’s weird and not something girls should do,” said Dunnington.

Even though the social hurdle is present, the wrestlers are not letting that get in way of their successes and growth.

“I joined the girls wrestling team because wrestling is a sport that anyone can do. I didn’t want girls thinking that they weren’t able to play a man’s sport. Wrestling also helps people develop important qualities such as self-esteem, sportsmanship, work ethic, leadership skills and face mental [and] physical challenges,” said Deaton.

With the first tournament not being until Dec. 15, the team has been able to bond.

“We all are so supportive and love each other in a way a family would. We have to battle against the world, and with this team, we have to go against the ‘typical’ wrestlers stereotype,” said Noonan.

Since this the team’s first year, there is room for each wrestler to grow. As a coach, Johnston is most excited about helping them grow and prove that girls’ wrestling is just as impactful as the male counterpart.

“Watching kids grow is my favorite part of being a coach. Since this whole experience is so new to everyone, it is incredible seeing the girls finally ‘get’ something,” said Johnston. “Hopefully with their hard work they can show [that] girls wrestling is real and authentic.”