LEBANON, Mo. - The Lebanon High School Girls Wrestling Team took home the school's first state title for any sport, when they were crowned the inagural MSHSAA State Girls Wrestling champions.
This is the first season the sport has been sanctioned for girls in the state of Missouri, in years past all wrestlers competed on co-ed teams.
"We had been fighting for wanting it sanctioned for years," said Girls Wrestling Coach Matt Neely. "For a girl to be successful against the boys at the varsity level, she had to have really good technique."
When the school discovered girls wrestling would be state-sanctioned, many students jumped at the chance to compete at the sport they love on a level playing field.
"I was pumped because I had always wrestled guys so it was like really exciting to be able to wrestle girls," said individual girls state champion Quincey Glendenning.
After years of waiting for an all-girls team, the victory means more now than ever. The Lebanon girls hope the title will inspire aspiring wrestlers to give it their all and believe in themselves.
"It was a little surreal, honestly. You envision this when a season starts, the 'what could happens' but with a sport like wrestling-- nothing is ever set in stone," said Neely. "For then what you envisioned and hoped would happen for the girls, to actually happen-- it's an amazing feeling."
"I think for sure there's going to be so many girls that join the sport and it's going to blow up I feel," said MSHAA 4th Place finisher Ashlylnn Leochner.
With the season over, both the team and the coach hope to keep their place at the top of the mountain and can't wait to welcome new teammates with passions for strength and friendship.