Holt High School 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 February 14-16.
Missouri became the ninth state this year 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.
Han had a first-round bye at state and went on to beat Lotus Van Dyk from Nevada by technical fall in the quarterfinals. She defeated Heather Pankey from St. James by fall in the semifinal round, and she 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,” said Holt Wrestling Coach Andrew Hammond. “She continues to work hard on and off the mat.”
Han’s state championship caps off an undefeated freshman season at 26-0 with 23 falls, 2 technical falls and 1 major decision. Han wrestled in middle school, where she lived in Illinois before moving to the WSD, and has a background in competitive judo, which she attributes in part to her success as a wrestler.