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Girls wrestling their way to the top

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Sports history was made in Luzerne County on Friday.

More than 1,100 wrestlers are competing in the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling State Championship Tournament this weekend, but this year, there's a new group of athletes wrestling their way to the top.

For the first time in 56 years, girls are getting in on the action, and an eight-year-old from Luzerne County inked her name in history as the first female to secure a victory on these mats.

Madison Healey weighs less than 45 pounds, but Coach Hank Aftewicz said there's nothing small about this second grader.

"She's a tough little girl, probably one of the hardest workers in our room, and just to see her go out there and perform the way she did, it's phenomenal!" said Aftewicz.

Tournament Director Thomas Traver called the decision to open the state championship to girls a step in the right direction.

"We need to get more girls involved, so girls are wrestling other girls instead of having to wrestle boys all the time," said Traver.  "I think once we see that happen, and that interest builds, and it becomes more acceptable for girls to wrestle, we'll really see this sport grow!"

Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling is a non-profit organization, so the money raised from this tournament goes right back into the wrestling programs.

The state championship tournament continues Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.


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