MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – The Menasha High School girl’s state wrestling team had a powerful showing at the Division 1 sectional wrestling meet at Oshkosh North on February 18, 2023.

Of the four wrestlers that competed, each of the girls won their respective weight classes and punched a ticket to the WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament in Madison. But what’s most impressive is the fact that this is the first year Menasha had a girl’s team.

Freshmen Charlotte Allen and Lillie Banks and sophomore Eve Rausch will be competing in their first state tournament, while senior Brianna Derouin hopes to make the podium again after placing fifth in her weight class last year, the first-ever girl’s state wrestling tournament.

“For a long time, girls were not treated as equals in this sport, it’s a men’s sport. And so now that they have that opportunity (to compete), it’s really good to see…they can compete and it’s a level playing field,” said Menasha wrestling coach Zach Mueller. Mueller was choked up talking about his girl’s team because the eight-year coach knows just how far the sport has come for women.

Derouin was the only girl wrestling for Menasha for 11 years before this season. Banks had watched Derouin wrestle before and was inspired by her to join the team. Meanwhile, Allen and Rausch were recruited to try out wrestling for the first time this season by coach Mueller.

But in the months since the girl’s team has come together, they have become more than just close.

When Rausch was asked about the value of going to state with her teammates, she was visibly emotional. “It’s tear-jerking every time I think about it. Because we’ve become a family, and it’s just good to all go together.”

While the girl’s team is excited about state, they agreed that this trip is just the beginning. Along with Mueller, the team emphasized how much they hope the sport of girl’s wrestling continues to grow.

The 2023 WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament begins with girl’s preliminaries at 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, at the Kohl Center in Madison.