FARGO, N.D. – The Pennsylvania girls wrestling team might not yet be on the same level as the powerhouse boys, but it’s making definite strides, as evidenced by Saturday’s results at the Cadet National Tournament at the Fargodome.
Ava Bayless (94 pounds) and Lily Sherer (132) each advanced to Sunday’s finals while five other girls – Grace Gundrum (100), Montana Delawder (112), Madison Matta (132), Tiffani Baublitz (144) and Madison Konopka (152) – earned All-American status. Matta will wrestle for seventh place on Sunday while the other four could finish as high as third.
Brittney Gadd, who is the women’s wrestling coach at Tiffin University in Ohio and coaching Team PA, was encouraged by what she saw on Saturday.
“We had a really good day,” she said. “We have four in the consi semis, we’ve got two in the finals and we’ve got a girl going for seventh and eighth. Just a good group of girls who’ve been working really hard through out camp, and doing everything that the coaches have taught them. We’re excited for tomorrow, especially for the two in the finals. I think this is really good for Team PA, and definitely encouraging us, in the future, for women’s wrestling.”
Bayless went 3-0 Saturday, with a a pin of Sophia Redwine of Oregon, a 12-2 tech fall over Washington’s Taylor Wilson and a pin of California’s Melissa Lee in the semifinals – a match which she trailed 4-0 in the first. She’ll face Nevada’s Sterling Dias in the championship match.
Sherer was just as dominant. After a tech fall of Michigan’s Alicia Pieper in the first round, Sherer recorded falls over Kentucky’s Courtney Pittman, Colorado’s Nanen Aguilar, California’s Nallely Rivadeneira, with that semifinal bout taking just 16 seconds. Sherer will take on California’s Cheyenne Bowman for the title.
Gadd was impressed by both Bayless and Sherer and Saturday.
“They stayed after the grind,” she said. “Even if they were down in points, they stayed after the attack. They were just hungry to win. It was awesome to see that, for sure.”
The potential for women’s wrestling in Pennsylvania is awesome as well.
“I think this year was a really good showing, compared to last year,” Gadd said. “The girls are there, the numbers are there, and not only that, but their work rate is there. They’re just good, quality kids. It’s definitely a good year for Team PA. Only five states – Illinois, California, New York, Washington and Texas – have more All-American’s than Pennsylvania.
One of the key steps in turning the Keystone State into a power would be getting the PIAA to recognize women’s wrestling at the high school level.
“It would be massive,” Gadd said. “Not only for that, but it would be moving toward being sanctioned. We’d have as good a showing as any other state here. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
View the complete results below!
Cadet Women Results