Pratt girls win CKL wrestling title

Kahrie Stegman
The Pratt High School Girls wrestling team takes first place at the Central Kansas League Tournament in Nickerson. From left: Head Coach Tate Thompson, Kena Sterling, Jadyn Thompson, Livia Swift, Payton Woody, Auriella McBee, Lilly Herrman, and assistant Coach Beverly Crump.

The Pratt High School girls wrestling team made school and league history on Tuesday, Jan. 21 when they became the first girls wrestling team to win the Central Kansas League Girls Wrestling Tournament. Every wrestler from Pratt placed in the top five at the tournament, with Livia Swift taking first, Jadyn Thompson 2nd, Payton Woody 2nd, Auriella McBee 3rd, and Lilly Herrman 4th, in their respective divisions.

“The girls are now ranked number 8 in the state for our 1st recognition as a team and we defeated the number 6 in the state, Nickerson with our CKL team victory,” coach Tate Thompson said. “Any accolade earned this year is a first and it feels good to do so.”

Livia Swift, ranked number 3 in the state, led the way for the Lady Greenbacks.

“Livia was perfect on the day, winning by fall over all four of her opponents, earning maximum bonus points,” Thompson said.

Jadyn Thompson, ranked number 4 in the state, had a successful day as well, only falling to the number 1 ranked girl in the state from Concordia, who isn’t from the CKL but was there to help increase tournament numbers.

“Jadyn wasn't expecting to see the number 1 girl from Concordia, but she figured out who she was wrestling with mid-match and had to play catch up,” Thompson said. “She almost got there, losing 8-6 in a match with a lot of stoppages for blood and some awkward situational positions.”

Woody also fell to a state-ranked number 1 girl in her weight class from Nickerson.

“Auriella and Lilly contributed to the team score and helped us pull away from the rest of the CKL,” Thompson said.

Overall, Coach Thompson said he enjoyed the tournament as was pleased with the girls’ performances.

“We will pridefully watch the girls' wrestling CKL results go on the new board made for our new sanctioned sport in the Pratt gym,” said Thompson.

The girls compete in Andover on Saturday, Feb. 1, and then head to the regional wrestling tournament in Larned.

“Regionals will be a battle as there are only two regionals and something like 70+ schools participating with girls in each regional,” Thomson said. “Our girls are primed and ready to see what we can achieve!”

Swift said he has enjoyed being around many other female wrestlers this season.

“All of the girls did an outstanding job,” Swift said. “It is such a great atmosphere to be around this many girls that are wrestling.”

Since regionals will be a challenge, Swift is preparing herself both mentally and physically.

“I will continue to work on my leadership and movement on my feet to improve throughout the season.”

Swift has seen much improvement in herself this season.

“This season has been one of my best yet,” Swift said. “I have learned to grow my patience, become a better mentor, teammate, and athlete.”

The girls are always there for each other, even outside of wrestling.

“We all want to see one another succeed, which is part of what makes a great team,” said Swift. “I hope to see many state qualifiers this year because I know our girls have the potential. Most of what holds some back is the confidence in themselves.”

Swift’s goal for the rest of the season is to place well and grow with the team.

“I would like to end this season placing higher than I did last year at state, and hopefully in the coming years win a state title as a team,” Swift said.