Girls Wrestling

The Valley Breeze Article - Scituate makes presence felt at RIIL's inaugural girls' state wrestling meet

PROVIDENCE – After hosting six other schools in the state’s largest all-girls wrestling invitational meet, the Girls’ Night Exhibition Duals, earlier this month, the Scituate High wrestling program saw six of its girls compete in the RIIL’s inaugural state championship meet and five of them place in the top four of their weight classes.

The Spartans have had girls on their wrestling team since its inception four seasons ago, and a handful have also wrestled in the boys’ state meet, but this year, the Interscholastic League recognized girls’ wrestling, allowing girls to wrestle other girls in this state and this weekend’s New England championship meet at the PCTA.

While Scituate’s boys’ team wrestled to a third-place finish in its meet last Saturday at the Providence Career & Technical Academy, the girls boasted three state champions.

“It’s insane,” Scituate head coach Serge Bouyssou said. “I’ve already cried like 10 times today. I’m literally battling tears right now.”

Scituate senior Daisey Hawkins became the first-ever girls’ state champion wrestler in the 107-pound weight class by pinning North Kingstown junior Takara Clayborne just 41 seconds into their title match. She also had a 27-second pin in the semifinals, and she received the Rob Smith Memorial Award as the girls’ meet’s most outstanding wrestler.

Hawkins has been on the wrestling team for four years and competed in the boys’ state meet for the past three.

“My freshman year, I was in the freshmen state (tournament) against the boys and I got first place, but the other two years, I didn’t place,” she said.

Now a senior, Hawkins is a state champion, and her strategy last weekend was to keep it simple.

“I just wanted to work on moves I’ve been working on all year, nothing too crazy,” she added.

Her sister, Kamie Hawkins, who is a freshman at Exeter/West Greenwich, then became the second girls’ state champion by capturing the 120-pound championship with a 27-second pin in the semifinals and a 50-second pin in the finals.

After her match, Daisey got to not only cheer on her teammates, but also her younger sister, “and she was pretty amazing,” Daisey said. “I’m very proud of her and how she is doing.”

The RIIL tournament was set up a little differently this year, as the girls had their own mat to wrestle. The boys’ and girls’ championship matches also took place at the same time on mats side by side each other, and the field house was loud, chaotic, and fueled with excitement.

“There’s so much going on because the added element of the girls is just amazing,” Bouyssou said. “It adds so much energy to the room. I don’t think people realize the amount of energy it’s added.”

Since this was the first time girls’ wrestling was held at the state championship level, some wrestlers had an easier time getting to the finals or becoming a state champion. Despite not having an opponent to wrestle in the finals last Saturday, Scituate senior Maura Pendergast became a state champion at 152 pounds.

“This was great,” Pendergast said about the weekend. “Obviously, it was tough because I didn’t get to wrestle today, but I was just talking to Gabe (Bouyssou) about how not all the brackets are filled. But Daisey going out as a senior and her sister coming in as a freshman, it’s like passing the torch. You have to start somewhere.”

Despite not wrestling for her title, Pendergast will wrestle at the New England tournament. She said she was happy to see the Scituate boys place as high as they did in their meet, while also getting to watch her friends wrestle throughout the weekend.

The Spartans’ third state champion was junior Katelyn Egan, who captured the 126-pound title in an action-packed match with Classical’s Ibriani Fargas-Cruz that saw her hold on for an 19-17 victory.

“I’m still in awe,” Egan said about becoming a state champion. “It hasn’t hit me yet. I’ve been working super hard for this, and it just feels unreal.”

Egan said she wrestled Fargas-Cruz in the previous day’s round-robin action and won, but took a neutral mindset going into last Saturday’s final bout.

Also placing in their weight classes were Scituate senior Taya Bagley, who took third place in the 132-pound weight class, and freshman Faith Dumont, who placed fourth in the 165-pound class.

There were no team awards for the girls’ teams, but Scituate was merely happy to compete and make some history.

“I think it’s pretty amazing how we’re promoting girls’ wrestling a little bit more each year,” said Daisey Hawkins. “I look forward to seeing more girls wrestling in the state in the future.”

As the tournament wrapped up last Saturday night, Scituate’s head coach was very happy for his entire team.

“I’m just thankful to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, Robert DiMuccio, and all the people that had enough vision and fortitude to step forward and say it’s about time we bring girls into this sport,” he said. “Better late than never.”

By KAYLA PANU Valley Breeze & Observer Sports Writer