Great Bend wrestler competing at the state’s first girls wrestling tournament

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – Wrestling is a demanding sport — physically grueling practices and mentally demanding disciplines.

It’s a male-dominated sport, but that doesn’t deter Great Bend sophomore Natalie Garza.

Weighing 95 pounds and standing just below five-feet, Garza trains and competes with the boys.

“I try not to worry about how big they are,” she said. “As long as I’m out there just having fun and taking them down, and just pretty much beating them is all I care about.”

On Saturday, the playing field evens up when Garza competes at Kansas’ first-ever girls wrestling tournament.

“I feel really great, kind of glad they started a girls wrestling tournament this year,” Garza said.

She competes in the 106 weight class, but don’t let her size fool you.

“Yeah, I know I’m tiny but I take that as an advantage,” she said.

Coach Nathan Broeckelman said she squirms her way into her competitor’s legs.

“It works for her. A lot of times, wrestling those taller kids, they’ll kind of hang over top of her,” said Broeckelman.

He’s been working with Garza all week to prepare for the tournament, saying they’ve been focusing on her hip position or swimming for the head at the right time.

According to Garza, girls can be more competitive than guys, so she’s bringing her A-game — and hoping to leave McPherson with a win.

There will be over 30 teams competing at Saturday’s tournament. It starts at 9 a.m. at McPherson High School.