First Ken Cole Girls Competition
April 14th, 2023 | Written by: Staff writer


Twenty-three girls from 13 schools participated in the first Ken Cole Girls Invitational.  The competition took place on Saturday and was comprised of six weight classes.  (The LWN editor did not know about the girls competition happening about 50 feet away from him on Saturday, so there are no action photos.  A bunch of smiling young ladies makes-up for that, though.)

This may turn out to be an historic event for girls wrestling in Louisiana. 

The Ken Cole is usually the third largest tournament in the state behind the state championships and the Louisiana Classic.  It is in a central part of the state so is as easily accessible for teams from Chalmette as it is for Lake Charles and Baton Rouge area teams.  North Louisiana teams, alas, will still have farther to travel.  Yet that is what pioneers do, and these young ladies are pioneers. 

Girls started wrestling when the editor was in high school.  (Break out your Sanskrit abaci and do the math.)  It did not catch-on very well until Brittany Bates hit the mats as a freshman for Doyline in the 2021-13 season.  A couple of years later Abby Nette joined her class of 2016 compatriot, and both earned numerous USAW Girls All-American honors, with Nette continuing in college and now vying for an Olympics spot in 2024.  In January of 2023 37 state athletics organizations had sanctioned girls wrestling.  Sure, Louisiana is behind the rest of the nation in a lot of ways, but how long will the LHSAA insist we remain behind Arkansas (the editor has deep roots there and thus can say that)? 

The LHSAA wants more girls to start participating in club wrestling before it will sanction girls wrestling as a sport.  The girls will, of course, and probably in droves once they have something to look forward to when they reach high school.  But it will take the Elizabeth Blackwells, the Sally Rides, the Natalie Davises and the rest of the girls mentioned below to keep the sport growing until that happens.  On a lark I have photos of six girls champions immediately below this.  They will make it work.


113-120 lbs. 126-132 lbs. 132-138 lbs. 145 lbs. 152-160 lbs. 182 lbs.
Natalie Davis
Sara Daley
Madison Pitre
A'niyah Veal

113-120 lbs.

Left to right:
5th: Brookely Vincent - Vinton
6th: Emma McCarthy - Dutchtown
3rd: De'yton Young - Rayne
2nd: CeCe Butler - South Beauregard
1st: Natalie Davis - Haughton
Not Shown: 4th: Kennzie Berry - Vinton

126-132 lbs.

Left to right:
5th: Talia Hairr - Sulphur
4th: Lily Velasquez - Lafayette
3rd: Alexis Schleben - Parkway
2nd: Sarah Cervenka - South Beauregard
1st: Sara Daley - Brusly

145 lbs.

  Left to right:
4th: Emma Rogers - East Ascension 
3rd: Raegan Garnier - Dutchtown 
2nd: Kaitlyn Howell - Brusly 
1s: Madison Pitre - Carencro 

With regrets, I do not have a group photo of the 138 lbs., 152-160 lbs. or  weight class.  Placing second was Mariana Solis of Lafayette.  Madison Mozingo of Belle Chasse placed third. 

Outstanding Wrestler

She was swell!  She was great!...
...Honey, everything's coming up Davis'
(With apologies to Ethel Mermann)
Haughton sophomore Natalie Davis, pictured left not crying whatsoever after she was announced the winner, and right with her Haughton coaches, was voted the Girls Outstanding Wrestler.  Davis competed in the 113-120 lbs. weight class which had the largest number of entrants, with six.  David went 5-0, pinning her opponents in 1:22, 3:36, 1:47, 0:50 and 0:31.


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