Titans will make wrestling history
South Central Calhoun to field an all-girls wrestling squad
Troy Greder has been around wrestling for almost 40 years, and has seen the sport evolve in many ways.
Greder, who grew up in Denison, was a three-time NAIA national qualifier at Dana College as an athlete. He’s had coaching stops at both alma maters, and is presently an assistant at South Central Calhoun.
Greder’s focus has shifted somewhat within the wrestling ranks, though. He is now a driving force behind girls wrestling at the prep level in Iowa.
This fall, the South Central Calhoun Titans will field their first all-girls wrestling team, which will compete only against other girls.
“The number one issue for the growth of girls wrestling is having to go up against boys,” Greder said. “The past two seasons, the (Iowa High School Athletic Association) has offered several meets with girls divisions.”
Last year there were 10 meets, and the first-ever high school state tournament was held for girls in Waverly.
“Sanctioning girls wrestling is the goal, but in order to accomplish this, Iowa needs to get its participation numbers up,” Greder said. “And (the interest is) on the rise.”
This past, season there were 180 high school girls competing in the sport. Fort Dodge Senior High had a girls division at the Don Miller Invitational, where over 30 athletes participated.
Greder got his start with girls wrestling while helping with the Raiders Wrestling Club in Lake View. Keagan King, who recently graduated from South Central Calhoun, made her way to the club after hearing that girls were welcome.
King asked Greder to coach her at The Conflict at Carver preseason tournament in Iowa City.
“It was an eye-opening experience for both of us,” Greder said. “The number of girls and the level of completion were both very impressive. It gave us the drive to continue in the sport.”
King was the first girl to sign with the recently-introduced Grand View University women’s wrestling team. King was a four-time letterwinner at South Central Calhoun, and posted a 10-1 prep record against other girls.
“She was given the Tricia Saunders award this year for the state of Iowa, which goes to the state’s outstanding senior wrestler,” Greder said of King. “She has placed at several USA Wrestling tournaments, and has been a FEW Iowa State champion (along with a second- and fifth-place finish).”
King was a member of Team Iowa for Fargo Nationals, Team Iowa West for Midwest Mat of Dreams, and competed at a national dual tournament in Independence. She took home a third-place medal at the AAU Junior Olympics.
At present time, 15 states have sanctioned girls wrestling.
“Iowa is making progress, with the support of many across the state. Legendary coach Dan Gable is leading the charge,” Greder said. “There are so many opportunities for girls to compete at the next level.
“Iowa has two universities now that offer women’s wrestling as a scholarship sport: Grand View and Waldorf. Iowa Wesleyan has announced it will be starting a program for the 2020-21 season, and the NCAA is looking at women’s wrestling as an emerging sport.”