The sport of girls wrestling is growing in popularity, and Hastings High School stands out as a significant contributor to it. With 16 female athletes on this year’s squad, head coach Mike Goggins is convinced they have the largest girls wrestling program. Having previously coached the boys wrestling team for 38 years, Goggins has transitioned to head coach for the girl’s team. One of the standout athletes on this crew: Sophia Sunior.
Sunior started out like most high school female wrestlers, attending the boys’ practice. Just last year, she decided to take wrestling more seriously, joining the school girls team, pushing herself both physically and mentally. The start wasn’t easy. She was battle-tested with more experienced wrestlers, but with perseverance she made significant progress. She finished the season with an eighth-place finish at 190 lbs in the MHSAA Individual Finals.
Entering this season, she isn’t holding back. Sunior has won seven out of her first eight matches. She is accompanied by a crew of athletes, some first-time wrestlers, some multi-sport athletes, but all trailblazers in girls wrestling.
Since the addition of the girls’ division to the 2022 MHSAA Individual Finals, the sport has grown exponentially. What started as a few outliers competing against the boys has evolved to an entire division dedicated to the hardworking female pioneers of the sport. The next step is filling complete lineups for dual meets. This includes the 14 standard weight classes.
Hastings recently competed in The Clash II National Wrestling Duals at the LaCrosse Center. Skylar Little Soldier and Jolie Petit received the 2023 Scholar Athlete Awards, while Skylar Little Soldier’s dominance was highlighted by seven pins on the day, and matches lasting an average of 57 seconds.
As the sport continues to grow, Hastings remains at the forefront, blazing a path and setting an example for the future of girls wrestling.