Girls wrestling makes history
The North girls wrestling team made history Tuesday night.
Finishing with 85.5 points, North finished 12.5 points ahead of second place South.
“ABSOLUTELY AMAZING,” said junior Kamri Oupkeo as she reflected over the WNHS girls wrestling team winning 1st place in the Greater Wichita Athletic League Girls’ Wrestling Championship yesterday at Heights.
North had three first place finishers, Dialeen French at 109 pounds, Rodah Benji at 123 pounds and Edna Flores at 170 pounds. They also had five runner-ups.
“When I tell you the vibe was so great I mean it. Our team was cheering so loudly, our school was vibing with other schools. We’re all dancing but we knew we to get serious and support our wrestlers,” Oupkeo said.
Coach Burgess couldn’t be more excited about how the girls performed at last night’s meet. “It feels great; it’s awesome. I’m excited for our kids. They obviously put a lot of work into this season and getting to see it pay off for those girls was a big deal, and I know it makes them feel good, and obviously as a coach, it makes us feel good too.”
Flores, who placed first in the 170, was asked what was going through her mind before her match where she won first place she said, “I was really nervous and I was thinking about winning. I just kept hyping myself up and trying to stay calm and keeping a positive mindset.”
After the teams fantastic win they all went to eat, Flores also spent time with her family after her win. “We went on a team dinner and we were eating together. We also celebrated at home. I called all of my cousins over and uncles too.”
Benji was also one of the wrestlers who got first place in one of her matches. She got first in her 123 match. After working hard in practice, Benji is happy with how she did. “It feels like, how do i explain it, satisfying because we have worked so hard and it’s been tough with all of the practices. It just feels awesome.”
Coach Burgess knew the team could succeed at the tournament, but he didn’t realize just how well they would actually do. “I knew we were going to have a couple first places. I was impressed by the amount of runner-ups we had.”
The outstanding wrestler from the GWAL Championship was Dialeen French. This is French’s third year wrestling. She feels like she has benefited from being on a girls’ team this year. A couple years ago there wasn’t as big of a girls team, and watching all these girls fall in love with this sport made it better this year,.” French said.
The girls all knew what they were doing when they were at the championship but what the energy was like before is what surprised the coach. “The thing I noticed the most that was different was they were loose before they hit the mat. Once they hit the mat they were focused and knew it was their turn to go. So watching that transition, it was all the preparation that put them in the spot to be able to relax and be themselves in between the matches,” said Coach Burgess. French Agreed. ”You could feel the excitement when people were on the mat,” she said.