CUT BANK — Cut Bank junior Mariah Wahl is one of the more accomplished wrestlers in the state. She’s wrestled for the Wolves since freshman year and in the offseason has earned All-American status at the USA Wrestling National Championships in Fargo, N.D.
“Well, my brother wrestled, so I started in eighth grade because I didn't want to be his practice partner anymore,” she laughed. “So I just decided to join. And then that was that and I just kept with it.”
Early in her career, Wahl was often the only girl at high school tournaments.
But not anymore.
In the first year of girls wrestling as a Montana High School Association-sanctioned sport, the Wolves have three on the roster - and they’re all pretty good.
“My freshman year, I was the only girl,” Wahl recalled. “My sophomore year, there was another girl, but she was a senior and now it's me, Haley and JJ.”
JJ Carter, a sophomore, is currently ranked No. 1 in the 152-pound weight class, with a perfect 6-0 record against female competition. She moved to Montana from Georgia last year, and was thrilled to join the Cut Bank wrestling team.
“I was going to wrestle even if there wasn't a girls team,” Carter said. “When we moved to Cut Bank my dad said that there was most likely to be a girls team. I screamed, I screamed with a really high pitch”
The third member of the Cut Bank girls team is Haylee Fetters, a freshman currently ranked No. 4 in the 205-pound weight class. She gets better each week thanks to her teammates pushing her in the wrestling room.
“It's really fun to wrestle with those two because they push me and they make me work harder than some of the guys do in the room,” Fetters said. “And it's really fun because they help me with some things.”
All three wrestlers enter next week’s state tournament in Lockwood with high hopes individually, and as a team.
Or as Carter tells it: “I think we're going to kick some … I can't cuss my dad's going to watch this,” she laughed. “We're going to kick some butt.”
The state tournament begins Feb. 19 in Lockwood.