For Girls on Wrestling Mat, an Uphill Struggle to Compete –

For Girls on Wrestling Mat, an Uphill Struggle to Compete –

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Holding the narrowest of leads, Rachel Hale kept the boy subdued on his hands and knees, then on his belly. Both wrestlers were 103 pounds of leverage and intent. She hooked her leg tightly around his, flattening his hips toward the mat, trying to turn him on his back and pin his shoulders, careful not to let him score decisive points by escaping or reversing positions or pinning her.

Rachel Hale, top, won the 103-pound final at the Vermont high school championships Saturday, becoming the first girl to win a title in her state.


Both Rachel and Zak Hale won state championships Saturday.

The tiny gym was packed Saturday night, and the fans grew loud, as if the volume of their voices could hurry the clock toward history. Finally, the referee tapped Hale, a 15-year-old freshman, on the shoulder. She got to her feet and leapt jubilantly, and the referee raised her right arm.

By a gripping 10-9 decision, Hale became the first girl in Vermont and the third girl in the nation ever to win a state wrestling championship while competing against boys, according to the United States Girls Wrestling Association

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