Daphne High School emerged as team champion at the first statewide AHSAA girls’ only wrestling tournament, held at Hoover High School on Jan. 23.
The Trojans, coached by Joseph Jefcoat, scored 85 points to edge Thompson, which finished second with 82. W.S. Neal finished third with 54 points, followed by Northside Methodist Academy with 39, Auburn and Enterprise with 38 each.
Approximately 100 girls competed in the emerging sport for girls, which hopes to become officially sanctioned in the AHSAA soon if growth continues, with 23 schools scoring points in the tournament that featured 11 weight divisions. The competition, which showcased the growth in girls’ interest in wrestling across the state, had girls ranging from senior to seventh grade competing in the tourney.
Emily Sasser and Kaylee Holder won individual titles for Daphne in the 285 and 160 divisions. Sasser (4-1), a junior, won with two pins at 1:24 and 1:08 in her final two matches. Holder (9-1) won the 160-pound division with a pin in the finals. The sophomore won the match in just 40 seconds. Thompson also had two individual champions, with seventh-grader Lynleigh Weltzin (6-1) winning with a pin at 2:29 in the 95-pound division. Eighth-grader Aenaya Vines (8-0) won her 115-pound finals with a pin, at 1:16 of her finals match.
Eight different schools had a weight division champion, including Daphne (2), Thompson (2), Auburn, Bob Jones, Enterprise, Pinson Valley, Weaver, Wetumpka, and W.S. Neal with one each.
The tournament held at Hoover was a big boost for girls’ wrestling in the state. Currently, girls compete in the traditional AHSAA Boys’ State Wrestling program. The growth of wrestling overall into the Gulf Coast area and Wiregrass has helped the sport grow substantially in recent years. This year’s number of girls, estimated at more than 140, is the most by far in AHSAA history.