Merrill Women’s Wrestling
BY BRIAN SUCHOCKI
MERRILL HEAD WRESTLING COACH
Merrill Women’s Wrestling started Jan. 2, 2024. Coach Scott Arneson and Coach Isaac Buntrock took the lead in starting the Merrill Women’s Wrestling Program this year. Throughout the years, Merrill has had girls competing on the boys’ teams. This is the first time there is a separate practice time for girls exclusively – they practice from 6:00-7:20 a.m. daily. There are 12 weight classes for the girls, which are: 100 – 107 – 114 – 120 – 126 – 132 – 138 – 145 – 152 – 165 – 185 – 235. There are currently seven girls practicing: Kaylynn Allen, Olivia Barker, Adison Clark, Akeela Conley, Alllison Hunter, Gemma Malone, and Merin Yates.
Arneson and Buntrock ran an intramural wrestling program in December to create interest in the sport of women’s wrestling – which is the fastest growing high school sport in the United States. After the intramural program finished, girls had a choice to join and make a girls wrestling team and wrestle the rest of the high school season, which runs in unison with the boys’ season calendar.
The girls are behind all other women’s teams in that they all started their seasons the second week of November with the start of the boys season. But, the girls have done a great job working and training with a purpose to compete at their highest level. Allison Hunter and Gemma Malone have been practicing the entire season, but the other team members have only completed three weeks of organized practice. Alison Hunter, Gemma Malone, and Merin Yates all competed in the Wausau West Challenge Series Tournament on Jan. 20, 2024. Allison finished the day 1-2, Gemma 0-2, and Merin 1-2. A neat note is Merin won her first match that she ever wrestled, with a pin in 3:58, and then was defeated in her next 2 matches. This past weekend, Jan. 27, two ladies participated in the Queen of the Mat Tournament in Marshfield – Kaylynn Allen also won her first match of her life and finished her first ever tournament 3-2 with a 6th place finish, while Merin Yates finished her second tournament with a 3-1 record and a 3rd place finish. The girls are signed up to compete this weekend in the Eau Claire North Husky Invitational – this will be a high level tournament for the girls with teams from Minnesota coming to compete.
If you see any of the girls, wish them luck. It is going to be another great learning weekend of wrestling for Merrill Women’s Wrestling. Coach Arneson and Buntrock are challenging all girls that are not out for a winter sport to please join women’s wrestling next year – our goal is to be one of the best Women’s Wrestling Teams in the state next year. Keep WRESTLING – everyday is a new match!