BELGRADE — Last year was the first year girls had their own wrestling division in the state of Montana, and it’s already paid off for one Belgrade wrestler as she became the first Panther girl ever to sign on to wrestle at the college level.
“It’s really a great sport," said Belgrade senior Maya Amundson who committed to wrestle at Indiana Tech. "I like the individual aspect of it, along with the team aspect. I really like the people. They’re all great and super nice.”
When winter sports came around this past year, Amundson was cut from the basketball team, so she decided to go out for wrestling.
“I kind of just decided that I wanted to do something and it seemed like a fun thing," she said. "I never really tried it out before, but it looked fun and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me.”
Amundson immediately impressed Belgrade coach Bryce Weatherston who won multiple state championships himself as a wrestler for the Panthers.
“What a great asset," said Weatherston. "(Her) work ethic is unmatched as far as being a first-year wrestler not knowing what’s going on, asking the questions you need to ask to understand fundamentals, positioning, you name it.”
According to Weatherston, Amundson did a little extra every day to make herself better, and it all paid off as she placed at the state meet.
“The end of the year, I definitely felt more confident and it was really great because I placed sixth at state," Amundson said. "That was the first girls state (meet), so I got to do that and placing my first year doing it honestly felt great.”
Amundson is now the first female Belgrade wrestler to commit to wrestle in college.
“It’s really great being able to be that person," she said. "I definitely feel like it will help the season in the future, help the program expand, definitely get more female wrestlers in there because this year we only had me and three others and it will definitely be good in years to come.”
Weatherston couldn't be any prouder of what Amundson did this season and the avenues she opened for female wrestlers at Belgrade.
“For her to set the pace like that -- for one, it’s just phenomenal," he said. "Two, it gets eyes on our program. If anything else it gets eyes on our program, so that way these girls that are putting in the work, they realize there is other avenues after this. She really did open the doors huge for us."