Dec 08, 2022

Lady Panther wrestlers set to host Christmas Clash this weekend

Posted Dec 08, 2022 1:00 PM
GBHS junior Daizy Gomez
GBHS junior Daizy Gomez

Great Bend Post

Girls have been wrestling alongside boys for many years, but only since 2020 have the girls officially been recognized by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA). The sport has officially taken off in recent years, and now Great Bend is doing its part to ramp up the action. This Friday and Saturday, the Lady Panther wrestling team will host a two-day Christmas Clash - the first of its kind, according to Coach Nathan Broeckelman

"We're going to have some Christmas music playing in the background, we're going to have Christmas trees all over the place, have some fan gear out," he said. "It's going to be a good time."

In past years, Great Bend has hosted a junior varsity boys' tournament in the main gymnasium, with varsity girls wrestling in the Panther Activity Center. The two-day event will be a first for girls outside of state competition, and the Great Bend tournament will feature more than 30 teams, including No. 1 Dodge City, No. 3 Wichita North, and No. 6 Olathe West.

"A lot of the top-10 teams are coming out," Broeckelman said. "We want this to be a big premiere in Kansas wrestling for the girls. I've had a few college coaches asking me if we can get them on a pass gate to come start recruiting some girls."

Broeckelman said the local tournament will be modeled after Garden City's Rocky Welton Tournament that takes place in late January. The goal is not only to get the girls as many matches as possible in two days, but also to prepare them for bigger tournaments like state.

"You have to make weight twice at state," said Broeckelman. "There's not ever a time girls have to do that except for at state, so it's a hard concept for some of them. Hopefully, this gives them a preview of that."

Great Bend had an individual state champion last year in Breanna Ridgeway, who has since graduated. Junior Daizy Gomez also medaled at state and returns as the lone ranked Lady Panther to open the season. Gomez and Katie Kuhlman won their weight classes Saturday in McPherson, and Kaylea McMullen and Kirra Stevens placed third.

Action begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday morning in the Panther Activity Center.