Minnesota’s First Tournament Deemed a Success, ‘Hey! There’s Girls Here Now’
When you are the first to do something, that can never be taken away. Owatonna senior Rian Grunwald had several firsts during her senior wrestling season. She was a captain for the Huskies. She (and teammate Isabelle Townley) qualified for the first-ever Minnesota State High School League sanctioned girls wrestling tournament.
And she won a state title, the first for a girl at OHS. Townley, a freshman, finished third.
Grunwald said on AM 1390 KRFO, "It's very exciting...At first, it was like, ok, I'm a state champion, but what does that mean. But I think I have a pretty good understanding of it now. Being the first-ever, it's a pretty cool feeling. There's not going to be anyone before me." [Hear the full interview with Rian by clicking on her name below.]
The concept of a state tournament bracket for girls was discussed for years. Grunwald was thrilled for it to become a reality for her senior season, "I thought well it's probably not going to [pass] while I'm in high school. So I never really thought much of it. And then, all of a sudden, they were just 'Oh. Yeah. It passed.' No way."
Grunwald won her semifinal match in overtime and said she was a bit nervous performing on the big stage of the state tournament. She beat a wrestler in the finals that she had lost to at an in-season tournament.
She likes how the girls' tournament was presented, "I think it was run really well...having girls on their own mats brought a spotlight to the girls. Just to kind of get it out there, hey, there's girls here now."
Grunwald will wrestle for Wisconsin-Stevens Point in college.
First-year head OHS coach Derek Johnson liked how the girls' tournament was featured at Xcel Energy Center, "I was over and over again so incredibly impressed with the reverence and the respect and the professionalism that they treated the girls' tournament with."
"They showcased it perfectly. They gave it its due. There was a couple of matches, like Rian's where you could tell the crowd was watching the girls' matches even over some of the boys' ones."
Listen to Johnson's interview from the AM 1390 KRFO High School Coaches Show as it wraps up championship Saturday at the state tournament.
Huskies wrestling coach Derek Johnson
Championship bouts were held in both genders at the same time in the final session of the tournament.