BILLINGS — Since girls wrestling became a sanctioned high school sport in Montana just three years ago, the sport has seen massive growth.
That’s apparent at this weekend’s Montana Open at First Interstate Arena in Billings, where one particular family from Glasgow has taken full advantage of the opportunity.
“Glasgow has a pretty strong wrestling tradition with a lot of kids involved in the sport, so when girls wrestling was sanctioned in Montana it just kind of exploded in northeast Montana and in Glasgow," Glasgow athletic director Brenner Flaten said. "The first year we had 10 girls in our club when it was getting sanctioned, and now we're up to 36 girls in our wrestling club."
Flaten certainly has his hands full as a father, with four girls and the oldest just having turned seven. That 7-year old Collins wrestled here in the 6U 55lb division throughout the weekend. Now it’s quite the roadtrip from Glasgow to – well, anywhere – and with four kids under seven in the car?
“Our girls have really taken to wrestling. They love the sport, but they also I think really like the extra famly time," Flaten said. "Obviously, with my job I'm busy being an AD. With this two and a half months I can dedicate as much time as I can to being around them. Coaching them at practice, going on these trips with them, and they enjoy those long trips, just like I did when I was a kid."
It’s a trek to Billings, but Collins certainly doesn’t mind when she gets to wrestle at her favorite venue.
“The Metra,” Collins said when asked her favorite place to wrestle. “It’s big and you can win a skull.”
As girls wrestling continues to grow, expect to see more little superstars like Collins coming to a mat near you.