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Female Athletes In Arkansas High Schools Now Able To Compete On Wrestling Teams

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFSM) — Wrestling is a sport that’s growing in popularity across the Natural State, and this season girls are being allowed to par...

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFSM) -- Wrestling is a sport that's growing in popularity across the Natural State, and this season girls are being allowed to participate on high school teams.

One of those teams is at Har-Ber High School in Springdale. On Saturday (Nov. 23), the Wildcat Invitational took place at the school, with over 200 wrestlers - and many of them girls.

"It's great for these ladies," says Har-Ber High School's Head Wrestling Coach Niko West. "We just want to showcase these ladies and let them represent who they are."

West goes on to explain how his unique way of recruiting has benefited the team. "One of the things I've always done, if there's two girls that have gotten into a fight I go to the principal and ask for their name because I want them on the team. We want to try and channel that energy elsewhere, legally."

Leyla Griffen and Lily Gough, two wrestlers on the Har-Ber team, say they're ready to get the season started.

"I was really strong when I first came to school, so everyone was like, 'You'd be a really good wrestler,' so I tried it out," says Gough. "The boys kept pushing me to keep doing it and I ended up staying with it and being really good at it."

Griffen's dad has always been her number one fan, and says wrestling has helped his daughter in more ways than one.

"Getting her back into organized sports, it's helped her grades, it's helped her attitude. We're excited to see how she does and she's found something she likes."

Both Griffen and Gough won their first matches on Saturday.

If you're interested in what Har-Ber High School's girl wrestlers are doing the rest of the season, you can find their schedule here.