Pratt girls wrestling team takes second at state

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
The Pratt High School girls wrestling team poses with hard-earned evidence of a successful season that ended in Salina this past weekend. Keimarla Thompson (back) and (from left) Gracelyn Fleming (manager), Payton Woody, Coach Tate Thompson, Jadyn Thompson, Livia Swift, Coach Ronald Prater and Alyssa Green (manager) celebrated a second overall team placing in state, plus Coach Thompson was named Sportmanship Coach of the Year. He also received an award for Sub-State Coach of the Year.

The Lady Greenback wrestlers of Pratt High School completed yet another year of breaking barriers and strengthening the new program at PHS. 

On Friday, the team wrapped up its second year as an officially-recognized sport by competing in the KSHSAA State Championship last week in Salina. 

Unlike the boys state competition, which is only against other 4A schools, the girls compete with other wrestling teams from various sizes of schools. Head Coach Tate Thompson said that his team went into the tournament with a goal of winning a championship as a team. The team came very close to that title, but fell just short and received second place as state runner-up. Despite not meeting their goal, this placing is the highest in Greenback wrestling history and the first state team trophy for Lady Greenbacks. 

Three out of the five Pratt qualifiers medaled last week. Unfortunately, Lilly Herrman (so) and Payton Woody (sr) were just short of medaling. They ended their seasons with records of 23-16 and 28-13, respectively. 

Woody also ended her two-season high school career with a record of 50-24. 

Jadyn Thompson, (so) 115 lb, went into the tournament as a Sub-State Champion with only one loss for the season. She ended up taking home a third place medal, and ending her season with a record of 36-2. 

“Without the culture we have built within our team, none of us would have the aspiration to work harder individually and consistently throughout the season,” Jadyn Thompson said. “We are working to keep growing this culture. We girls always hear things like ‘Well, you’re wrestling girls,’ or ‘If I was a girl I would win state too’ or ‘It’s not the same because girls aren’t as strong.’ Someone is always trying to make things that much harder for girls wrestling, adults included, be we still overcome because as a team of strong women we can overcome the negativity.”  

Freshman team member Keimarla Thompson, 155 lb., finished the tournament with a 5th place medal. Coach Thompson said that Thompson shows great potential and loads of talent, and with three more years to hone that, the best is yet to come. 

Livia Swift, (jr) 143 lb., a defending state champion from the sports inagural season last year, defended her title, becoming a two-time state champion. Swift ends her season with a record of 32-2. 

“Our team has done great things this year, winning almost every tournament we entered,” Thompson said. “The Greenbacks have great leaders and those leaders will continue to grow the sport and build our team. This is year two of our sanctioned program. We were fourth all-class in the state last season and second in the state in Division II this season. Those stats are the beginning of a legacy that these girls, these team leaders are taking on, along with the responsibility of making sure that we will never give up without a fight. In the first two years, we have five state medals, including a two-time state champion and two top-four finishes as a team.”