Girls’ Wrestling: The Difference From Then and Now

Kylie Rasmussen, Intro to Journalism Student

Girls’ Wrestling has evolved from a dream to reality in the state of Iowa as North Polk High School allowed two of their female students to join the Ankeny Girls Wrestling team inspired by the many trips girls have taken to the IHSAA state wrestling meet. 

 Last winter on Feb. 12, 2022, Cody Goodwin wrote an article published in The Des Moines Register concerning the state tournament qualifiers. Yet, instead of focusing on all of the IHSAA state qualifiers, he focused on the three young women who made it to the state tournament.

Molly Allen, Reanah Utterback, and Jasmine Luedtke were the three girls that made it to the IHSAA state tournament last winter. What may seem like a small deal became a huge deal. 

Goodwin wrote, “Allen and Utterback, both just freshmen, are now the fifth and sixth girls ever to qualify for the IHSAA’s state wrestling championships,” back in February 2022. 

Only six girls have ever made it to the wrestling state tournament, but the increase in girls making it to the state tournament over the past 12 years has proven that girls wrestling should become a sport. 

As of the 2022-2023 school year at North Polk High School, the girls’ wrestling spirit has entered the building. Two North Polk sophomores, Elyse Engebretson and Emma Daggett, have begun their girls’ wrestling season, but with a small twist. 

North Polk High School and Ankeny High School have partnered together to create a girls’ wrestling team combined. Engebretson and Daggett wrestle at Ankeny, but according to Daggett, “we are still known as the North Polk Girls and yell comets instead of Ankeny during the chants.”

The first official meet for the two comets was on Thursday, Nov. 14, held at Dallas Center-Grimes High School. It consisted of the schools: Waverly Shell-Rock, Ankeny, Dallas Center-Grimes, and Spencer. 

Engebretson and Daggett both agreed the meet was organized and the officials and mat workers were excellent. They both were very excited for the start of the season and the first girls wrestling meet. 

Engebretson had major success the first night by going 2-0 against, “a DCG wrestler and a girl from Waverly Shell-Rock,” and shared how “The matches were really exciting.”

Looking to the future, the IGHSAU shared the individual state tournament dates as follows: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2022, and Friday, Feb. 3, 2022. 

North Polk wrestlers, Elyse Engebretson and Emma Daggett are ready to take on the rest of the season and improve their talents for many more great victories to come. 

Girls’ wrestling has made its mark and will continue to grow over the next many years to come as “it gives more opportunities for girls to participate in the sport.”