The effort to increase the visibility of and participation in girls wrestling in West Virginia has been going for a few years now.
As far as southern West Virginia goes, 30 female wrestlers put the area on the map Saturday at the inaugural All Girls Scuffle.
The area’s first all girls tournament crowned nine individual champions, and host Shady Spring won the team championship with 60 points. A total of 63 matches were wrestled in the round robin format, then an additional 62 exhibition matches were held to get the girls mat time at the first tournament of the season.
“It means a lot because some girls don’t have this opportunity, so it feels really special to get to do this,” said Oak Hill freshman Kirclyn Coleman, who won the championship at 114 pounds with a 4-0 day.
“I feel like wrestling girls is way better than wrestling boys because we all bond way different, and it’s so much fun seeing all these girls out here. I watched Shady Spring’s Alexus Wilkinson and Danielle Simmons wrestle in the 235-pound weight class at the All Girls Scuffle tournament Saturday at Beckley-Stratton Middle School in Beckley. Simmons won the match.
“I would have wrestled when I was way younger because it was such a nice experience with all these girls out here. It’s really great.”
Shady Spring, which made an impact with a small roster at the first three West Virginia Girls State Tournaments, had the most girls on Saturday with 10. Seven of them placed, including 107-pound champion Brooklynn McClure.
“It means a lot to me because not a lot of girls have been out here (wrestling), and now that we finally have a good team and all these girls are out here competing, we get this opportunity,” McClure said. “I’m very thankful for my coach (Anthony Shrewsberry) for even getting this set up and having an all girls tournament. It was a great opportunity. It means a lot.”
Joining McClure and Coleman as individual champions were Bailey Emery of University (120), Mia Garcia of Buckhannon-Upshur (132), Karlie Osborne of Liberty (138), Kassidi Richardson of Liberty (145), Claire Holt of Princeton (165), Carlee Vannatter-Grove of Shady Spring (185) and Abby Radabough of Buckhannon-Upshur (235).
Liberty, with five of six girls placing, was second with 44 points.
Shady’s McClure, who started wrestling as a high school freshman in Virginia before moving to the Mountain State, was third in the girls state tournament last year at 107 pounds.
Coleman was named Most Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weight classes. She got her freshman year off to a successful start after a big eighth-grade year that saw her become the first Fayette County girl to place in the Coalfield Conference Tournament (third) and then win the state championship at 110 pounds for Oak Hill Middle.
Both were honored to be part of a historic day.
“It means a lot that we get this opportunity, because we get to show off and have this all girls tournament,” McClure said. “Not a lot of states are having that, but it’s starting to become big.”
“It’s amazing, because this is making history. This is pretty big,” Coleman said. “So to be a part of it means a whole lot because I’m going to remember this forever. This is a great experience. Everybody’s going to remember the first all girls tournament. It’s really a great experience.”
Princeton’s Claire Holt, the champion at 165, was the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the upper weights.
Liberty will host the Lady Raider Rumble Jan. 14.
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Team Scores: 1. Shady Spring 60, 2. Liberty 44, 3. Buckhannon-Upshur 28, tie. Princeton 28, 5. Williamstown 14, 6. Oak Hill 10, tie. University 10, 9. Oak Hill Academy 8, tie. River View 8
107 pounds: 1. Brooklynn McClure (SS); 2. London Cook (L)
114: 1. Kirclyn Coleman (OH); 2. Bri Howes (BU); 3. Mahalia Finley (P)
120: 1. Bailey Emery (U); 2. Annabelle Sandy (W); 3. Noah Ellison (P)
132: 1. Mia Garcia (BU); 2. Emma Mueller (OHA); 3. Kamryn Chicochetty (SS)
138: 1. Karlie Osborne (L); 2. Rylei Belcher (L); 3. Lexi Eichelberger (W)
145: 1. Kassidi Richardson (L); 2. Hannah Crigger (R); 3. Abigail Hamilton (SS)
165: 1. Claire Holt (P); 2. Tayla Grove (SS); 3. Sara Johns (SS)
185: 1. Carlee Vannatter-Grove (SS); 2. Maddy Lucas (L); 3. Hailynn Powell (P)
235: 1. Abby Radabough (BU); 2. Danielle Simmons (SS); 3. Alexus Wilkinson (SS)
Most Outstanding Wrestlers: Kirclyn Coleman, Oak Hill (lower weights); Claire Holt, Princeton (upper weights)
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