KALISPELL — It's only the second year that girls wrestling has became a sanctioned sport here in Montana and Flathead senior Hania Halverson is helping the Braves set the bar as this past weekend she was the State AA wrestling champion.
"I was pretty excited. I got up and I looked up at all the parents and the supporters and everyone and I was pretty excited. And then I went and gave my coaches a big hug," said Halverson, a senior.
Many will look at Halverson seeing a state champion, but what head Flathead wrestling coach Jeff Thompson sees is all the pieces of her story that have helped her get to where she is today.
"You know, when you look at it, a lot of people just kind of think, hey, she's just been a good athlete. She worked really hard for two years. There's just so much more to the story," said Flathead wrestling coach Jeff Thompson. "You know, she's someone that's puts in 12 months, year round wrestling, working out before school in the weight room with her cardio, and then practice and then she stays after practice."
Not only has she been going above and beyond this season to get results, the Flathead wrestling team has been competing out-of-state and Halverson says that has been a huge contributor to her success this season.
"It really diversifies what kind of competition you're seeing and how you're going to have to adjust to different matches against kids that are going to be pretty good, from a bunch of different places," said Halverson."You might not see them at your state tournament but just to get that experience has ultimately helped."
But competing out-of-state is not the only thing that has attributes to her success this year. There is another key component to Halverson's story. Her dad, who has formally began coaching her this year.
"He just he knows me at home, he knows me with through wrestling, and he knows how bad I've been wanting to get this," Halverson said. "He was pretty overjoyed."
And that joy she has from her dream turning into a reality leaves Halverson feeling certain that she will leave a pathway for every young girl wrestler at Flathead High School.
"I mean, it feels pretty awesome to think that someday there will be some little girls that come in this wrestling room and they they go 'oh, that's a girl wrestler up there. Oh, that's awesome.'" said Halverson. "In the hopes of inspiring the next couple generations of girl wrestlers in the state of Montana, that means a lot to me."