Nebraska girls wrestlers compete at state tournament for first time ever

History was made in Omaha on Friday as the first-ever sanctioned girl’s state wrestling tournament in Nebraska was held at the CHI Health Center.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – History was made in Omaha on Friday as the first-ever sanctioned girl’s state wrestling tournament in Nebraska was held at the CHI Health Center.

Wresters, coaches and fans say it was a special moment.

“I think it gives these girls an opportunity to showcase their talents on the same stage as the boys,” South Sioux City girls wrestling coach Evan Bohnet said.

“I think the girls wrestling, it’s gonna be an awesome show to watch,” Millard South linebacker Jake Gassaway said.

“It’s awesome obviously, like it’s amazing to have this opportunity to compete alongside the boys,” Pierce wrestler Kenzie Parsons said.

Beatrice’s Autumn Bartlett was among the first young women to take the mat at 100 pounds. She described the moment when the female wrestlers walked onto the mat for the first time.

“It was just very exciting, everyone was making friends,” Bartlett said. “There was a little bit of tension, but everyone was just like, kind of happy to be here.”

Facing Leilou Guerrero of Platteview, Bartlett pinned her opponent in the second round.

She is the first girl in the history of Beatrice High School to make it to states and win a bout.

“I don’t like to be the center of attention, but my coaches put me on the spot all the time for it,” Bartlett said. “It’s just nice to know and it’s also nice when little kids, especially little girls are like, ‘I want to be like you someday.'”

Her coach, Corey Wells, says he is proud of what Autumn, and all of the state’s female wrestlers have been able to accomplish this year.

“I’m not a super emotional person, but standing there matside, ready for our first match to start and then all the girls parade in, seeing her on the mat, I started tearing up a little bit,” Wells said. “It’s incredible, the walls these girls are breaking down and just the barriers that they’re shattering.”

Wells says the wrestling mat is Autumn’s home. Autumn says her coaches are her “second family.”

“They just always been there, even if I’m having a bad day, even if they’re not my teacher, they’re always there for me,” Bartlett said.

For the rest of her life, Autumn will be able to proudly say…

 “I‘m the first Beatrice girls wrestler to make it to state!”

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