The fact that the Arizona Interscholastic Association does not have girls wrestling as an official sport does not stop girls, some as young as 9 years old, from competing.
The eighth annual All Girls Club National Wrestling Tournament, hosted at Camp Verde High School on Saturday, March 4, saw more than 110 entries among the elementary, middle and high school levels.
“We’ve been doing this to get it [girls wrestling] on the map,” Camp Verde coach Travis Black said. “I heard rumors this weekend that the AIA is thinking about making it a high school sport. We’ve accomplished our job if that’s a fact.”
With more than 60 athletes, the biggest contingency of wrestlers on the day was in the high school division, with freshman Sienna Dunegan being the highest Camp Verde finisher, taking third place in the 105-pound division.
The next biggest group of wrestlers was in the elementary school division. Camp Verde had four champions, five runners up and three third-place finishers out of 16 weight divisions to take the overall team title.
Athletes entered the competition, which was held in a double-elimination format, from various schools, clubs, or even as an unaffiliated individual.
The Camp Verde wrestlers, under the name New Breed, also won the middle school title, which only had 16 entries, with five top-two finishers.
“We have the girls who want to do it, and we give them an outlet,” Black said. “And it’s important to make the sport grow.”
Athletes from Mingus Muckers entered as well, taking third as a team in the elementary school group. Second-grader Kayda Fringer, 66-pound champion, was named Outstanding Wrestler after the tournament.
Fourth-graders Angelia Durdan  and Mckaya Fringer  were third place finishers.
Black hopes that the AIA will add girls wrestling to its docket of official sports because it will open avenues for athletes to go to college.
There are 53 U.S. colleges that offer wrestling between two governing bodies: The National Collegiate Wrestling Association and the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association.
“If there is wrestling in high school, then they will have an opportunity to go to college,” Black said. “It’s been slowly growing the last 20 to 30 years and it’s finally starting to take shape.”
New Breed Wrestling Results
Elementary School Division - Team Champion
Aaraya Wyatt, first grade - Champion - 45 pounds
Aaliyah McLaughlin, first grade - Runner Up - 45 pounds
Michelle Dale, first grade - Third Place - 55 pounds
Marya Twogood, third grade - Runner Up - 67 pounds
Amija Sanchez, first grade - Third Place - 70 pounds
Paola Talavear, first grade - Third Place - 75 pounds
Emma Green, fourth grade - Champion - 88 pounds
Shayla Westburg, fourth grade - Runner Up - 88 pounds
Cynthia Henson, fourth grade - Runner Up - 92 pounds
Michelle Wyatt, fourth grade - Champion - 100 pounds
Marlie Snyder, second grade - Runner Up - 100 pounds
Violet Dunegan, fifth grade - Champion - 108 pounds
Middle School Division - Team Champion
Rowen Wolfe, sixth grade - Champion - 85 pounds
Caylee Townsend, seventh grade - Runner Up - 100 pounds
Madison McComb, sixth grade - Champion - 130 pounds
Raven Weber, sixth grade - Runner Up - 130 pounds
Carter Turner, seventh grade - Runner Up - 145 pounds
High School Division
Sienna Dunegan, ninth grade - Third Place - 105 pounds
Mingus Muckers Wrestling Results
Elementary School Division
McKaya Fringer, second grade - Third Place - 52 pounds
Angelia Durdan, fourth grade - Champion - 60 pounds
Kayda Fringer, fourth grade - Champion - 66 pounds - Outstanding Wrestler Award