Hayley Gilson started her Kayhi wrestling career by winning a region championship and finishing 6th at state her freshman year. Year two started even better; she is 8-2 overall and 8-0 in her weight class. She beat last year’s state champ twice in Wrangell the first week of the season.
“Hayley has worked very hard,” coach Rick Collins said. “She went to some wrestling with Team Alaska. She just takes it very seriously.”
Gilson spent the whole month of June training this past summer with Team Alaska. The season started out in Chugiak right after school got out. She trained there with over 100 wrestlers with ages ranging from 8-18.
After training for a week and a half, Gilson along with 17 others from Alaska traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to participate in a tournament that consisted of team duals.
“Hayley seems to really be on a mission,” said Collins. “I just expect great things from Hayley this year.”
Girls wrestling is a relatively new program to Kayhi these past four years. In the previous years they would have one or two girl wrestlers. For meets the girls would be intertwined together with the boys.
“We started about the same time as everyone else about 3 years ago,” said Coach Collins
In 2015 ASAA finally made an all girls state tournament 4 years ago. In years past girls would compete with the boys at regions to go to state; girls would rarely go to state due to the fact that the boys were just better usually, but not always. Now that we have an all girls team the girls do not have to wrestle the boys anymore and they have had more girls try out for the team.
“Our program has built that way up with better numbers than in the past. We have 10 girls now, very significant because we used to have only one,” said Coach Collins.
Mt. Edgecumbe Lady Braves have clenched the region title for the past 3 years. Edgecumbe has about 20 more wrestlers than us. They fill the weight classes, unlike us. Captain Sully Shulz said our team would definitely have a shot at regions if we had more girls.