The Holden girls wrestling team is scheduled to begin the upcoming season with a tournament at Versailles High School on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
As the Lady Eagle wrestling team is coming off of a historical season of its own with hopes of finding successes again this year, the Holden wrestling program enters its 20th season. This year’s girls team will look to cast its own shadow on the program as it seeks to leave its mark in the history books.
“We had a very successful year last season,” says fourth-year Holden girls wrestling head coach Ron Franklin. “The hope is success breeds success. The problem is girls wrestling is the most difficult sport that girls are allowed to compete in while in high school. That simple fact and the massive amounts of failure you have to deal with in the sport scares most girls away. We have added some new girls willing to attempt the task, but we have also lost some girls that I was counting on for this year.
“The reality is it is a wash, and our numbers are actually down one. It is a new season, and what we did last year has no effect on what we do this year. Last year is a tremendous page in the history of the program. We are beginning to write a new page this season.”
Several wrestlers return to this year’s team from last year’s team which reached multiple milestones in both team and individual categories.
“We have three seniors this season,” says coach Franklin. “Charlie Gregg is our next four-year wrestler, and only the second one to do it in the program. MaReya May is in her third year in the program. Faithann Brown is wrestling for the first time.”
Gregg became Holden’s second two-time state meet qualifier last season as a junior, and emerged with a fifth-place all-state finish. She also surpassed the 100-wins mark for her high school career last season to become Holden’s first girls wrestler to reach the milestone total.
Returning sophomores include Haley Brooks, Ady Yoder, and Macey Greene. Sophomores Clara Ferguson and Bobbi Diibon join the team this season.
Brooks finished last season with a fifth-place all-state medal after wrestling to an district championship. Yoder also earned a state meet qualification with an all-district finish. Greene topped the team at the state meet last year by recording a runner-up finish in the 115-pound weight class.
Incoming freshmen this season include Mila Turpin and Jamie Booe.
“I lost five seniors and four major scorers, and they will be very difficult to replace,” notes coach Franklin of wrestlers lost to graduation. “They left a good mark on the program and established a good handing off of leadership. What will be missing is the actual points in both tournaments and duals.
“We lost Tasia Lee, Aubree Castaneda, and Alex VanHooser. All were state qualifiers. Jordan Sylvester had a great senior season and just missed qualifying herself. Lilly Guinn was new, but filled in for Alex early in the season and earned her varsity letter.”
Notably, Lee wrestled as the lone Lady Eagle high school wrestler during her freshman season, and set multiple benchmarks for the Holden girls wrestling program as she moved through her career. She finished her career as Holden’s first four-year team member, and finished as one of Holden’s first two girls wrestlers to qualify for the state meet. Gregg returns this season as the program’s other two-time state meet qualifier.
The graduated seniors mentioned above each left their mark on the Lady Eagles wrestling program as this year’s team looks to build off of past successes.
“A season like 2022-23 does not happen every year,” says coach Franklin. “The highlights started in December and continued all the way through the state tournament. The girls developed and worked hard throughout the entire season. We won an individual tournament in December. We won the MRVC East Conference Tournament, and won all our conference duals.
“We won the district tournament, and advanced seven girls to the state tournament,” continues coach Franklin. “The girls earned three state medals. The team was 1.5 points away from bringing a state trophy home to Holden. Macey Greene was a freshman that wrestled her way to the state finals. Macey did not win a single tournament the entire season, but when it counted most, she put herself in the finals of the biggest, most difficult tournament of the year. So in reality, 2022-23 was by far and away the greatest single season the program has had in its short existence.”
As the careers continue for the returning wrestlers on this year’s team, and incoming wrestlers look to impact the team, coach Franklin sums up what excites him as the season approaches. “The seniors wrapping up their careers and meeting their goals while watching the sophomores continue growing into the greatest group of wrestlers that Holden has ever seen.”
The Holden girls wrestling team gets its first test of the season in the Versailles Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 21 with a start time of 4 p.m.
The first home meet for the Holden girls wrestling team is set for Wednesday, Nov. 29 with a dual meet against Warrensburg scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.