Girls wrestling starts at NPHS


RaeLynn McKinzie

Girls’ wrestling co-coach Cheryl Hall, left, looks on as boy wrestlers Hayden Brauer, right, and Kole Weigel show girls Brooklyn Brown and Monica Charging Elk a move during open mat practice in early November.

RaeLynn McKinzie, Staff Writer

North Platte High School as a NSAA-sponsored sport.

NPHS added girls wrestling this year after five years of it being a NSAA sport.

Coach [Dale] Hall reached out to me right away and it was something that he was passionate about starting,” said NPHS activities director Jimmie Rhodes. 

Coach Dale currently coaches male and female tennis and boys’ wrestling.

“I think we are going to be known for having a great boys wrestling team and a great girls wrestling team,” Dale said.

While Hall will be available for the girls, his wife, Cheryl, and NPHS science teacher Karen Malmkar will be co-coaching the team.

Girls and boys wrestling will be in the same season with some differences.

“One difference will be that we are going to alternate mat use,” Malmkar said. 

Cheryl has been a part of wrestling for about 21 years due to her husband coaching boys wrestling.

“I wanted to make sure that the girls were represented well,” she said. 

This is a learning experience for the girls and the coaches.

“I wanted to do wrestling because it is new and different and this is the only year I would be able to try it,” senior Zarah Blaesi said. 

Since this is new to the school the team and coaches are trying to figure out what works and doesn’t. 

“[We are hoping to] teach fundamentals, get them to learn, get them to have fun,” Hall said.

The team has some goals as individuals and as a whole.

“I’m hoping that we achieve a respect for the sport,” Cheryl said, “[also] that I am able to help them gain confidence on and off the mat.”

Helping students feel confident in whatever they do will help the turnout of the sport.

“That’s one of the things I try to promote all of the time is confidence and if we can get that from going to volleyball practice to cross country practice to journalism class to girls wrestling I’m going to promote it,” Rhodes said.

The turnout was surprising to the coaches and people involved.

“I was thinking we would have about ten,” Malmkar said. 

They had a large amount of both boys and girls at open mats and sign ups.

“With open mats we’ve been getting 12 to 15 and I’m guessing we’ll have close to 20 or more,” Hall said.

A lot of these girls have little to no experience.

Girl wrestlers observe coaches Dale Hall and John Little during open mat practice. (RaeLynn McKinzie)

“I do not have any prior experience,” Blaesi said, “I have watched wrestling meets before.”

A lot of these girls do other sports and have very busy schedules.

“I run cross country and long distance in track, and I’m also a cheerleader,” Blaesi said.

Some of the girls are in school activities, and some are involved in out-of-school activities.

“I also do Jujitsu outside of school. It’s similar to wrestling but different in many ways,” freshman Kai Scott said. “I do have previous experience. I used to wrestle when I was 8-11 but I lost interest so I haven’t wrestled for a while.”

The coaches all have at least a little bit of knowledge about what to expect and how it might go. 

“At previous schools I had been a wrestling coach in middle school,” Malmkar said.

These girls are excited for this new opportunity.

“I’m excited to be able to be overall more active during this time, and the wrestling team is fun so I am excited to get to know my teammates throughout the season,” Scott said.

The boys also seem to be taking the girls team in as well

“The coach and the boys have been very, very receptive to adding the girls to the program,” Cheryl said, “I feel like it’s going to be a sport that is going to be very positive for the high school.”