Making sports history: Area wrestlers travel to inaugural girls wrestling state finals

Marquette Senior High School wrestler Shaylyn Eggleston, right, goes up against an opponent in a match earlier this season. Eggleston will be one of two or three area athletes to participate at the inaugural Michigan High School Girls Wrestling Finals to be held at Adrian College on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Jon Young, MSHS)
Referee Dave Gagnon raises the arm of Westwood wrestler Alana Nuorala after a match she won in the Patriots' gym in December. Nuorala will be one of several area wrestlers participating at the inaugural Michigan High School Girls Wrestling Finals at Adrian College on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. (Photo courtesy Sandy Maki)

MARQUETTE — Two or possibly three area high school wrestlers are scheduled to take part in the inaugural Michigan High School Girls Wrestling Finals at downstate Adrian College on Sunday morning.

The tournament is sponsored by the Michigan Wrestling Association, a division of USA Wrestling, with the cooperation of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Senior Shaylyn Eggleston of Marquette and sophomore Alana Nuorala of Westwood are definitely set to go, according to their high school coaches, while the participation of senior Catherine King of Manistique couldn’t be confirmed on Thursday.

Eggleston wrestles at 125 pounds as does Nuorala, though the latter is expected to compete at 119 in Adrian. King is also listed at 125.

Tentatively, the two Marquette County wrestlers will be accompanied by a coach — Eggleston by MSHS assistant wrestling coach Mike Caster and Nuorala by her father and Aspen Ridge Middle School wrestling coach Joe Manier.

The MWA said in a December press release that champions and top-eight finishers will be named in the 14 standard weight classes — 103 up to 285 pounds — at Adrian’s Merillat Sport and Fitness Center. But at least one area official has heard that some of the heavier weight classes may be combined as most entrants will come from lighter weights.

Numbers reported include 164 girls entered in the first-time event from 105 schools. The MWA also serves as the state high school coaches association in wrestling, according to its release.

Girls who compete on teams sponsored by MHSAA member schools and included on their main rosters are eligible, as this event may count as one of a wrestler’s eight regular-season tourneys or an outside event that is allowed on a limited basis by MHSAA rules.

“As president of the MWA, our board and membership has been supportive of this effort to bring a girls state championship to Michigan high school wrestling,” said MWA President Casey Randolph, who is varsity co-head coach at Clinton High School. “In working with the MHSAA, Adrian College and the girls wrestling committee, we are excited about this first-year event for our girls.”

Nationally, girls wrestling participation has nearly doubled since 2014 with more than 16,565 athletes competing during the 2017-18 season, the news release cites numbers reported by the National Federation of State High School Associations. MHSAA member high schools reported 250 girls participating in wrestling last season.

The MHSAA will serve as a presenting sponsor for the event, providing financial support, messaging and signage.

For more information on the event, visit the MWA website at www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2018/December/14/Michigan-Wrestling-Association-to-host-girls-high-school-state-finals.