It’s small in numbers, but girls wrestling team is strongest yet


By Oliver Lazenby

The Blaine girls wrestling team is still shy of seven athletes – the number required to form a scoring team – but it’s the biggest and best yet for the Borderites.

Of Blaine’s current team of four girls (a fifth will be eligible in weeks) two wrestled in the postseason last year; sophomore Kylaya Armstrong qualified for subregionals and junior Josy Delgadillo wrestled all the way to state.

“They both bring some pretty amazing wrestling skills,” head coach Damon Higgins said. “Overall, this is the strongest team we’ve put together.”

Wrestling is one of the fastest growing girls high school sports nationally, and Higgins has seen it explode locally in the time he’s coached. Seven years ago, a big tournament might draw 50 girls, he said. About 450 showed up to the Pride of Lady Lions tournament on December 15 at Lynden High School.

“To have that kind of growth is amazing,” Higgins said.

At that tournament, Blaine’s biggest of the year so far, Delgadillo placed fifth in the 125-pound weight class. Armstrong wrestled in the same weight class and won her first two matches before losing to Delgadillo.

Though it doesn’t have enough wrestlers to be official, Blaine’s team score earned it 29th place out of 41 schools at the tournament. Othello High School came first.

Blaine’s girls wrestling teams have been flirting with being big enough to be official for several years. Higgins thought this would be the year before several quit (it’s normal for nearly a quarter of wrestlers who come out for both the boys and girls teams to quit due to the difficulty of the sport, he said).

Higgins thinks the Borderites are near a tipping point and a few more wrestlers would “solidify the sport within the Blaine school district, legitimize it in the eyes of other girls and help with recruiting,” he said.

“We have a tremendous group of young ladies who put themselves out into the public in a sport that is traditionally viewed as a male sport, and are holding their own within a wrestling room that is filled with guys and they don’t complain. I would love to have our community recognize that they are legitimate athletes,” Higgins said.

The Blaine girls have no home wrestling events this year. They wrestle next at the Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas on December 21.


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