Making History

First Season of Girl Wrestlers


Emma Dagget (right) and Elyse Engebretson (left) in the Ankeny Girls’ Wrestling gear.

Zoe Marquez, Editor

During North Polk’s 67-year-old history, the district has had a prominent place in wrestling, with many of the school’s wrestlers making it to State over the years. Never before though, had there been female wrestlers representing the school, until this year with a pair of two, Elyse Engebretson and Emma Daggett. 

Engebretson and Daggett are sophomores at North Polk High School (NPHS)  and they both made their debut this year during the 2022-2023 wrestling season. 

Due to them being the only female wrestlers of NPHS, the pair wrestle with the Ankeny Girls’ Wrestling Team, which is a combination with both Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial High School. Their current coach is Dustin Roland, a former coach at Lincoln High School in Des Moines and current varsity girls’ wrestling coach for Ankeny. 

With the season almost coming to an end, the two looked back at their first season.

“I feel like I’ve always been interested [in wrestling] with my brothers wrestling,” expressed Engebretson. Furthermore, Daggett explained that she got involved due to Engebretson’s involvement. 

“Elyse was talking about it and it sounded like she was making good relationships and new experiences, so I thought I would give it a shot.” stated Daggett, then added, “Also Elyse told me if I showed up for two weeks, she would get a free sweatshirt.” 

Following their involvement, both sophomores said that they received positive and supportive reactions by everyone. In regards to being the only female wrestlers to come from North Polk, Engebretson stated that “it’s [wrestling] not a gender thing,” and has not faced any negative reactions to people for it. 

Engebretson further stated that due to it being the first year with girls from NPHS, it is not as popular and there is less involvement. 

“Having a [girls’] team at North Polk would be really cool. Being able to have the support of your whole school, as well as not having to go to Ankeny and being able to stay here, [at NPHS]” conveyed Egebretson. Moreover, both her and Daggett expressed that the relationships made at Ankeny helped with the travel. 

Despite their short time wrestling, the pair have already met accomplishments within the sport. Engebretson is currently 26-5 wins over losses and got first place in the Bob Sharp Invitational Wrestling Event, as well as winning the Conference Championship. Furthermore, on Friday, Jan. 27, she competed at the regional tournament and advanced onto the State Tournament. Daggett finished her season with a 21-9 wins over losses, and placed second in the Central Iowa Metro League (CIML) Conference.

Coach Roland expressed the pair has excelled in their first year of wrestling, and stated, “We are very excited about the future of these two in our program.”

Even with the commute between school and practice, and the hardship of the sport, both Daggett and Engebretson expressed their desire to continue participating in the sport. 

“It has been super fun this year, and making history being the first girls to wrestle [from North Polk] is really cool,” affirmed Engebretson.