BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — For Shady Spring senior Tayla Grove, the tournament held Saturday, December 3, 2022, was the culmination of her 7-year-long wrestling career.

Throughout middle school and into high school, Grove and the rest of her fellow female wrestlers were at a major disadvantage, having to often wrestle against boys in their weight class.

During her time at Shady, Grove has helped grow the girl’s wrestling team from just a handful of girls being a part of the boy’s team to now having a ten-girl team roster.

For Grove, the tournament showed just how far girls’ wrestling has grown over the years.

“It’s really special,” said Grove. “I never expected to ever have a lot of girls join it. And then throughout the years, there was like one girl on each team and now its like 2 and it started getting higher numbers. And every year, we just get all excited like EHHH!”

The tournament also served as a way to inspire younger generations of girls to take up the sport.

“Well, youth wrestling has a lot of girls in it and it gives them something to look forward to.,” said Roger Grove, Tayla’s father. “If it really takes off and grows, its something they can aspire to do, in high school girls wrestling, leads to college girls wrestling or could. So it’s a good thing.”

But despite the tournament’s success, with over 30 girls from a number of schools participating, girls’ wrestling still has room to grow in the Mountain State.

“I think if they see that we’re doing it, girls from the other schools are gonna say ‘Hey, why don’t we have a wrestling program?’ and start trying to bring it up for their schools to build a wrestling program,” said Anthony Shrewsberry, Shady Spring Head Coach. “I think there will eventually end up being an all-girls division for the state and hopefully every team in the county will have one.”