By CONOR NICHOLL
On Feb. 9, 2019, then-Great Bend freshman Breanna Ridgeway competed in the unofficial girls’ state wrestling championship held at McPherson High School. She was in the 132-pound weight class and finished 5-0, including wins by fall against Royal Valley’s Maya Ogden and Burlingame’s Gianna Culbert. During the winter, Culbert had been ranked nationally. That marked Ogden’s only loss. Before the match, Culbert was 23-0.
Ridgeway completed her freshman season at 16-1. The tournament also featured several other freshmen who achieved great success, including Lawrence Free State’s Madyson Gray, Burlington’s E’owynn Codney and M.J. Huff, Larned’s Ava Mull, Pratt’s Livia Swift, Lakin’s Isabell Ortiz and Emporia’s Maddie Griffin.
The McPherson tournament marked the last competition before KSHSAA sanctioned girls’ wrestling. As a sophomore, Ridgeway finished 35-2 and took third at 130 pounds in the inaugural all-classes state tournament at Salina. Ridgeway lost to Gray, the eventual champion, and delivered two wins against Hoxie sophomore Marissa Porsch. The Porsch family is long known for wrestling success, and Marissa, the oldest daughter, was in her first year.
Ridgeway helped Great Bend earn state runner-up to Washburn Rural, the best wrestling finish in Panther history. Last winter, Ridgeway delivered a 36-0 mark and won the 5-6A state title at 132 pounds. She defeated Griffin in the semifinals.
This season, Ridgeway is 33-1 at 132 pounds and the state favorite entering the 5-6A state tournament next Wednesday and Thursday at Hartman Arena in Park City. Ridgeway has signed with NAIA Hastings (Neb.) College wrestling and earned the top wrestler award at the Wichita North regional.
The four sterling seasons has bumped Ridgeway to the top of the all-time wins list among Kansas girls’ wrestlers. She is 120-4 in her career for a 97 percent winning percentage.
“What stands out the most is how much she helped grow the sport here in Great Bend,” GB coach Nathan Broeckelman said. “She works well with the younger girls who are new to the sport and has helped shape our program to where it is today.”
Sports In Kansas’ Conor Nicholl, along with significant help from researcher David Heidrick and a variety of coaches, including Great Bend, Hoxie, Washburn Rural, Pratt and Lakin, have put together the first-ever list of career wins leaders for Kansas’ girls wrestling. Track Wrestling archives were primarily used for win-loss record.
Currently, eight girls have reached 100 career wins.
After Ridgeway, Codney (Reynard) is second with 109 wins, followed by Swift at 108. Ortiz, Griffin, Porsch, Huff and Pratt junior Jadyn Thompson have all reached 100.
Mull, who transferred from Larned to Pratt for her senior season and was adopted by Pratt coach Tate Thompson and her family, is 98-3. Now Ava Thompson, she is the other wrestler who has a chance to reach 100 career wins at state.
Swift is a two-time state champion, while Ortiz won a title as a junior. Per the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association, Porsch holds the record for single season victories at 43-2, set last season.
Additionally, Gray (91-0), Paola’s Jordyn Knecht (67-0), KC Piper’s Sara Lake (52-0) are the lone wrestlers with at least 60 wins and no losses in their careers. Knecht, who graduated in 2021, had back-to-back state titles and was Kansas’ consensus best girl wrestler last winter. Gray holds the title this year. Knecht went to Dixie State (Utah) for wrestling. Lake is at Lindenwood (Mo.) University, just outside of St. Louis. Gray is headed to Grand View (IA) for collegiate wrestling.
Gray is 8-0, 34-0, 17-0, and 32-0 in her four years against girls. She is also 19-12 career against boys for a total 110-12 record.
Ridgeway has a bevy of school records, per Broeckelman. Last season, she set school marks for falls (34), team points (210), and wins (36). The 36 wins tied a group that includes Knecht and Jadyn Thompson for the most single season victories by a girls’ wrestler in 2020 or ’21.
This season, she is currently at 32 falls, 198 team points and 34 wins. She could break all three records at state. She also has marks for single season major decisions (two in ’19), fastest fall (19 seconds) and season winning percentage with her undefeated record.
Entering state, Ridgeway is currently ranked first at 132 pounds in Class 6-5A. Gray is first at 138.
Among the other the 100-win wrestlers, Griffin is second in 5-6A at 126.
In 4-1A, Huff is second at 101, and Reynard fourth at 109. Isabell Ortiz is first at 115, Porsch first at 138, and Swift first at 143. Jadyn Thompson is second at 120.
Here is every wrestler with 80 career wins:
Breanna Ridgeway Great Bend 120
E. Codney (Reynard) Burlington 109
Livia Swift Pratt 108
Isabell Ortiz Lakin 105
Marissa Porsch Hoxie 104
Madelynn Griffin Emporia 104
MJ Huff Burlington 103
Jayden Thompson Pratt 100
Ava Thompson (Mull) Larned/Pratt 98
Maranda Bell Sh. Hghts 93
Addison Broxterman W. Rural 92
Kaitlyn Hain Wellsville 91
Jaliah Johnson W. Rural 91
Madyson Gray Law F.S. 91
Kailyn Younger Paola 85
Josiah Ortiz Lakin 81
Best winning percentage – 90 percent career (min. 50 career wins)
Madyson Gray Law F.S. 100.00 (91-0)
Jordyn Knecht Paola 100.00 (67-0)
Sara Lake KC Piper 100.00 (52-0)
Makayla Rivera O. West 97.2 (70-2)
Ava Mull Pratt/Larned 97.1 (98-3)
Breanna Ridgeway Great Bend 96.8 (120-4)
Kendra Hurla Rossville 96.7 (58-2)
Ashlynn Goodwin Goddard 96.4 (53-2)
Anna Cullens Wellington 96.2 (76-3)
Jolie Ziegler Council Grove 95.9 (70-3)
Olivia Stean Bonner Sp. 95.4 (62-3)
Nicole Redmond Olathe S. 94.8 (55-3)
Darby Wiedl Ottawa 93.5 (58-4)
Larissa Garcia Wichita N. 92.0 (69-6)
Citori Bosserman Oakley 91.9 (57-5)
Livia Swift Pratt 91.5 (108-10)
Kammie Schanz Mulvane 91.3 (63-6)
Josiah Ortiz Lakin 91.0 (81-8)
Not at 50 career wins and above 90 percent:
Wichita West’s Dru Johnson (41-1, 97.6)
Onaga’s Morgan Mayginnes (96.7, 29-1, graduated)
Mission Valley’s Hope Blake (39-2, 95.1)
Oskaloosa’s Allison King (45-3, 93.75)
Buhler’s Emilie Schweizer (27-2, 93.1)
Olathe North’s Kaylan Hitchcock (35-3, 92.1)
**Nickerson’s Nichole Moore had a school record 127 wins with girls’ state titles in ’19 and ’20, with most wins versus boys. McPherson’s Mya Kretzer was 33-0 against girls in her career, 42-48 against boys.
Editor’s Note: This is a large project that has relied on multiple coaches, results and other sources. If someone is missing on this list and/or there is an incorrect record, please let Conor Nicholl know at [email protected] or Twitter at @cnichollHays