Back for round 2, Byron Girls Wrestling preps for second season

(ABC 6 News) – Last year was the first year the Minnesota State High School League sanctioned girls wrestling. Meaning, people can sign up for the sport and have the opportunity to advance to a state tournament. It also means it’s not seen as a club sport.

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New to Byron Public Schools, four girls signed up for the 7-12th grade program, and some almost made it to state.

“The biggest benefit of wrestling is there’s no drama as far as you win a wrestle-off, you win, you’re the best person for that spot,” said co-head coach Ryan Radke.

“And when you ask our girls, at the end of the season, they liked that simplicity that I knew if I was better than another person. It wasn’t a judgment by anybody other than the fact that I beat them.”

Everyone practices together—boys and girls of all grades.

“It was kind of scary, but it was also kind of growth, that it kind of taught me like it’s ok. It kind of almost set me off and it gave me that hunger to want to win after taking a tough loss to some guys and it just made me push myself harder in the next practice and stuff,” said Hattie Mathre, an 8th grader on the team.

For senior Rachel Fode, she hadn’t found a winter sport she clicked with. So she thought, why not give wrestling a try?

“I honestly just thought like why not? And I wanted to see if I was tough enough to do a boys’ sport, I thought it might be a fun thing. So I knew I was going to get along with them. I just thought it’d be a fun thing to do but I didn’t realize how much I would actually enjoy it and how much it changed me,” Fode told ABC 6.

Mathre joined because she was looking for a sport to push her harder. Wrestling did, not just physically but mentally.

“In those tough and hard times when we were like struggling, even if it was a hard practice, we all did a really nice job with that. And, we, now there’s going to be even more girls going out this year and we set kind of role models for those other girls and show them that it’s okay to struggle but then you can like come back harder,” Mathre added.

Mathre is out this season with an injury but will still be involved as a student manager. As for Rachel, her goal is to make it to state.

The season kicks off next week.