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Holt wrestler makes history

Holt freshman Esther Han (center) claimed the 136-pound championship in the inaugural Missouri Girls State Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 16 in Columbia, Mo.

Holt High freshman Esther Han made school and Wentzville School District history when she was crowned State Champion in her weight class [136] at the inaugural Missouri Girls Wrestling Championship at the University of Missouri-Columbia, held February 14-16.

Han had a first-round bye at state and went on to beat Lotus Van Dyk from Nevada by technical fall in the quarterfinals, and defeated Heather Pankey from St. James by fall in the semifinal round. Han won by technical fall over Antionna Cunningham of Lebanon in the championship round.

“I am so proud of the work Esther put in during the season,” Holt Wrestling Coach Andrew Hammond said. “She continues to work hard on and off the mat.”

Han’s state championship caps off an undefeated season at 26-0 with 23 falls, two technical falls and one major decision. Han wrestled in middle school and has a background in competitive judo.

Missouri became the ninth state in 2019 to begin hosting a separate state wrestling tournament for girls. According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association, since 1994, the number of women who wrestle in high school has grown from 804 to 16,562 last year.

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