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Swift wins at regional tournament

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt's 143-lb.-wrestler Livia Swift stands atop the podium for her weight division in the inagural West Regional GIrls Wrestling Tournament last weekend. She won first place in the region and will compete at State the last weekend in February.

The Pratt High School Girls Wrestling team competed in the first KSHSAA Girls’ West Regional Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15 in McPherson, where they paved the way for future Lady Greenback wrestlers by placing 6th out of 68 teams and qualifying two girls for state.

Lady Greenback Livia Swift qualified for state by winning first place in her division in spectacular fashion, coming from behind to win by fall over the #1 state-ranked competitor. Jadyn Thompson placed 3rd, also qualifying for state with a 4-1 record for regional competition. As a team, Pratt had a combined record of 12-7 on the day.

Lilly Herrman, Payton Woody, and Auriella McBee ended their seasons on Saturday, but Coach Tate Thompson says they have grown and had a great season.

“Our wrestlers wrestled like champions and they were fun to watch,” Thompson said.

Thompson has great things to say about each of the girls.

“Lilly Herrman, freshman, is 12 pounds under her weight and she fights with everything she has,” Thompson said.

Junior Payton Woody ended her season with a record of 22-11.

“Payton Woody has been nothing short of phenomenal all season long.  This is her first season to wrestle, ever, and she got caught in a bad position, or I believe she would have been going on with the other two qualifiers,” Thompson said. “I always have faith in Payton, always.”

Freshman Auriella McBee showed improvement as well.

“Auriella McBee pinned a girl in the tournament who had a record of 13-11, and that growth can be built upon as we look to the summer and next season.”

Thompson’s only loss was in semifinals, where she lost in a close 2-0 decision against who would go on to be the regional champion, leaving her record for the two days at 4-1.

Thompson won by fall in 2:27 against Skleigh Pflanter from Abilene in the consolation finals for third place, and the honor of continuing on to state wrestling competition.

In the 143 lb. division, Pratt sophomore Livia Swift made history, becoming the first ever Regional Champion in her weight class.

“Livia ended her two days with an exhilarating comeback win by fall over the #1 state ranked, Kammie Schanz of Mulvane,” Thompson said.

Swift was trailing 7-2 in the 3rd period of her championship match, but she won after her opponent from Mulvane took an injury timeout and Swift discussed what to do with her coaches.

“She did exactly what she was supposed to do, she pinned her opponent and shocked the crowd and showed great heart in the effort she gave when most wrestlers may have folded in the same situation,” Thompson said.  “Livia led the way with a good attitude and leadership, bringing the girls together with encouragement and sisterhood.”

The team not only competed well, but represented Pratt well with their character, according to Thompson.

“The girls showed great sportsmanship whether they were winning or losing,” Thompson said. “The girls had the mindset of winners all day and that proved to be the difference in the big matchups.”

Swift and Thompson will spend the next two weeks preparing for State in Salina beginning on Thursday, Feb. 27.