By CONOR NICHOLL
For the first time in school history, Girard girls qualified wrestlers for the state meet. This marks the third year that KSHSAA has sponsored girls’ wrestling.
Junior 120-pounder Ranie Paulin is 13-14. Sophomore Hanna Bailey stands at 22-4 at 126. Sophomore Kara Pope is 15-4 at 191.
Girls’ state is split into Classes 6-5A and 4-1A, both held next Wednesday and Thursday. The large class competes at Hartman Arena in Park City. Girard and 4-1A will be at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina.
Last season, Kansas changed its postseason wrestling format because of COVID-19. In all other years, including this winter, the top-16 qualify for state. However, last year, Kansas changed the postseason to districts, regionals and sub-state. Just the top-eight (four from each sub-state) qualified for state.
Bailey took fourth at the regional and fifth at the sub-state at 120 and missed the final eight by one spot. At sub-state, Bailey was the lone Girard wrestler who competed and delivered a 10-9 record. Pope competed at the regional at 191 and finished 10-2 in 2021.
This winter, Bailey finished second in the Coffeyville tournament on Dec. 10. She took first in the Dec. 16 Girard Mixer in the 126-pound ‘B’ bracket. She also was second at the Independence tournament on Jan. 22. As well, she finished first in Chanute Mixer tournament in the ‘A’ bracket on Jan. 31.
Also at Chanute, Paulin took first in the 120A bracket, and Pope won at 191. Columbus, which has been featured on SIK this season, won the regional title last week and qualified eight to state.