Girls wrestling.
Cali Berry (bottom) and Aliah Merritt (top) practicing for the upcoming season this winter.

Carrollton High School will have an all-girls wrestling team for the first time in the history of Trojan sports this winter. The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) would not sanction girls wrestling until last year. Georgia is the seventh state in the U.S. to have a girls wrestling team sanctioned. 

Last year, there were four high school girls and two junior high girls participating in the sport. Girls Lay Coach, Wynter McKinley, hopes to have a full high school team. “As of now, we have eight girls on the high school team. There are a total of 10 weight classes: 95 pounds, 106 pounds, 116 pounds, 126 pounds, 136 pounds, 146 pounds, 156 pounds, 166 pounds, 176 pounds and 225 pounds. We hope to fill each weight class; I’d love to see each weight class two girls deep.”

Lilianna McKinley, daughter of Coach Wynter McKinley, was the first girl to wrestle at Carrollton – she started in junior high and was the only girl on the boys team for a year. McKinley started wrestling because she loved contact sports. Her brother, who also wrestled, encouraged her to try wrestling. “When my brother started wrestling, I was always on the mat with him. He inspired me to start wrestling and be the first girl to wrestle.” McKinley has now been wrestling for three years and will be a freshman this year. 

Senior Abigail Sinclair will be wrestling for her second year this year. “I started out kickboxing. Then, I started thinking about doing Mixed Martial Arts and researching steps to get there and wrestling was one of those. I fell in love with it after I started.”

Coach McKinley says some elementary level girls participated in their “Littles Wrestling Camp” over the summer. “We have a USA program that allows all age groups who are interested in wrestling to join and get the feel for the sport.” McKinley is excited to spread the word, educate and get more girls interested in the sport.

Head Coach, Michael Cleek, is also excited to see the girls program grow at CHS.

“I can’t say how proud I am of the young ladies at Carrollton who have stepped up to wrestle for us. The sport of wrestling is growing across the state and our program is in the vanguard of that growth. Our girls program is growing as is our middle school, JV and Varsity team. I look forward to coaching these young ladies and have extremely high expectations for them.”

The season will ramp up this November. Keep up with the girls on the Trojan Athletics Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.