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Normandy Welcomes All-Girls Wrestling Team to the Mat

WELLSTON, MO -- The Normandy High School (NHS) wrestling teams recently hosted their first meet in 10 years, but the new mat wasn’t the only thing making its first appearance in Viking Hall. It was also the home debut for the school’s girls wrestling team.

“The whole high school campus was buzzing,” said Terrence Hamilton, Normandy athletic coordinator. “It’s an excitement [among students and staff] that I haven’t seen in a while.”

Until recently, wrestling was a co-ed sport with girls often competing against boys. After an increasing number of girls began participating in the sport, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) implemented an all-girls division which went into effect July 1, 2018. Beginning with the 2018-2019 season, there will be a two-year transition period that will give the girls the option of participating in both their school’s boys wrestling lineup and girls wrestling lineup during regular season contests only.

After this transition period, girls will participate at girls-only competitions. Missouri became one of the few states to implement an all-girls wrestling division. Tyrone Baker, Normandy boys and girls wrestling coach, said the all-girls leagues will help level the playing field for female competitors.

The Normandy girls wrestling team is in the Class 1/District 2 Division, boasting standouts junior Christa’Nae Wright at 143 lbs., and senior Ta’Kiera Steen at 235 lbs. Wright and Steen rank in the top 10 statewide in their weight classes, No. 5 and No. 10 respectively.

The quad-meet matchup on Jan. 9 included Clayton High School, St. Louis Priory, and McCluer South-Berkeley High School. The Normandy Vikings-Clayton matchup pitted Wright against Clayton’s Khaylie Ross, a junior at 136 lbs., whom Wright described as a formidable opponent.

Wright said before the match her peers asked: “‘I heard you have to wrestle that girl from Clayton, again. You ready?’”

Wright didn’t seem concerned nor did her coach.

“It’s been plenty of times where she just could’ve gave up. She has too much fight in her,” Baker said of Wright.

On a winning streak for the season, Wright seemed more than capable of meeting any challenge head on. However, the match ended in a double medical forfeit with Ross later announced as the winner due to points. 

What’s Next for Wrestling at Normandy?

As for wrestling as a whole at Normandy, the goal is to restore the sport to its former glory.

 “Wrestling was king here at Normandy back in the day,” Baker, the wrestling coach, said. “Out of all the trophies Normandy has, 70 percent of them are wrestling trophies.”

The problem now is getting young black men and women educated about the sport, he added. Now a part of Normandy’s future, the girls wrestling team has set the bar high.

“Like I’ve told my girls, ‘you might not be the first individual to wrestle here at Normandy, but you’re the first to do it as a team,’” he said. “‘If girls choose to wrestle, they’re doing it because they saw what you did.’”

For the 2018-2019 wrestling schedule, visit the Normandy High School website, www.normandysc.org/normandyvikings.

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CAPTION: Normandy’s Christa’Nae Wright (left) sizes up her opponent Khaylie Ross of Clayton.