LAWRENCE — Pendleton Heights High School female wrestlers wrapped up competition in state tournament action last week at Lawrence North High School where they found stiff competition.
The girls state event was sponsored by the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association, (IHSWCA).
About 135 girls competed Friday, Jan. 19, for the chance to win state wrestling titles.
The finals were originally supposed to take place Friday, Jan. 12, but were postponed because of bad weather.
While the event is not sanctioned by the Indiana High School Athletic Association, (IHSAA), area high school wrestling coaches arranged the tournament for a second year in a row as they try to grow the sport.
Shayla Meinders, Pendleton senior, finished fifth at the 113-pound level. Her weight class proved to be one of the toughest at the tournament, coach Dave Cloud said.
Fellow senior Kaylee Clendenen advanced to the championship match at 152.
While leading her opponent from Penn High School, Clendenen came down on her shoulder and suffered a complete dislocation, forcing her to default the match.
While Clendenen felt the pain instantly, she didn’t realize the extent of the injury until moments later: “The trainer tried to touch it and I screamed,” she said.
Clendenen, who won two matches to get to the final, was back in school Monday, Jan. 21, and is in good spirits, the coach said.
She said losing the state final because of injury was upsetting, but looking back on her high school wrestling experience, Clendenen wouldn’t change it for anything.
“I’m so glad I did it,” Clendenen said. “It was such a great learning experience and has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Devyn Byars, senior, who won the North Regional and qualified for the finals, was unable to compete.
All-in-all, Cloud said he was proud of all the nine girls who were part of the Pendleton wrestling team this season. They worked hard and put in a great effort, he said.
“We saw great progress during the season,” Cloud said. “We are very excited about their prospects for next year for the returning girls and hope to increase our numbers in the program.”
His goal is for the team to have 15 wrestlers next year. That will be a challenge, he said, considering they lost four seniors this year.