The competitors’ skill levels may have been markedly disparate. But an equal amount of grit, desire and determination was the hallmark of every wrestler who took the mat in the 2021 My House Pennsylvania Girls State Championships, Sunday at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex.
A total of 111 athletes competed, many members of newly formed high school teams, including 11 from Gettysburg, eight from Easton and six from Delaware Valley. Most were associated with clubs, including six from LAWW, the Lancaster Alliance of Women’s Wrestling.
“There’s a big community, a lot of girls that will work very hard,” said Penn Manor sophomore Kaitlyn Clawson, who placed sixth at 101 pounds representing LAWW.
As the growth of women’s wrestling has exploded, so have the number of opportunities provided, a fact appreciated by Gettysburg’s Montana DeLawder.
“This is huge,” offered DeLawder, a 128-pounder who, as a senior headed to King University in Tennessee, pinned her way to her third championship. “Just to see it grow over time, and now we’re working our way to getting sanctioned (by the PIAA), it means a lot to me.”
DeLawder, who posted 85 career victories as a member of the Gettysburg boys team, was one of four returning champions to repeat. She was joined by Jayleigh Pletz of Governor Mifflin, who pinned Karleigh Steiner of Saegertown for the second straight year to defend her 101-pound title; Lily Sherer of Delaware Valley, who won at 134 after taking the title at 140 in 2020; and Tiffani Baublitz, wrestling out of the Mavericks Club, the returning 184-pound champion. Dropping down to 162 this year, Baublitz defeated defending champion Kaitlyn Pegarella of Nanticoke.
Pegarella was one of three returning champs who were denied. Fort LeBeouf’s Andie Przbycien fell to Lexia Schechterly of Team Pa. in the 108-pound final. defending 147-pound champion Hannah Spielman of Strath Haven was beaten by Andrea Wilmot of Dubois in the semifinals.
Rounding out the champions were Patron Plummer (115) of the Orchard Wrestling Club, Haylie Jaffe (122), Kennett, Grace Stem (140) of Bald Eagle Area, Rachel Keller (184) of Gettysburg and Trinity Monahan of Souderton at 222. Stem and Monahan moving up on the awards stand after claiming silver, one weight lower, in 2020.
Among the six LAWW competitors, in addition to Clawson, Alexx Ortiz, from Central York High School, placed second to Wilmot at 147, her second silver after falling to Sherer at 140 in 2020.
Elco junior Amber Leedom and Manheim Central junior Taylor Bloom both fell one win short of the medal round. Getting an unfortunate draw, Bloom lost to Przbycien in her opening match at 108, but battled back to go 2-2 on the day in her second state appearance. Leedom went 1-2 at 162, bounced from the blood round in a tiebreaker loss.
Annville-Cleona’s Anna Kreider also went 1-2, at 115, while at 134, McCaskey’s Nilaya Thomas went 0-2.