Pratt’s Livia Swift chasing second straight state title
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - High school wrestling starts Thursday, and it marks the second season KSHSAA recognizes girls wrestling as an official sport in Kansas.
The Pratt Lady Greenbacks are ranked No. 4 in the state, and leading the team is junior Livia Swift, who’s chasing her second championship. She’s this week’s Rising Star.
“I started wrestling in kindergarten so about when I was five,’ Swift said. “My dad was a coach and that got me into it, my brother wrestled so I grew up around it.”
At times she was the only girl in the room, but with her dad the coach of the Pratt Wrestling Club, it helped her feel like she always belonged.
“He made it fun for me to be in the room with the boys and all the boys I grew up with in the wrestling room didn’t treat me any different,” she said.
Now more than a decade later, she’s the first official 143-pound girls state champion in Kansas.
“It felt good after working my whole life to accomplish that,” she said.
As a sophomore last season, she went 33-3 and led the Lady Greenbacks to a fourth place team finish at state.
“She’s creating a whole new sport to love in our town who loves sports already,” said Pratt High School Wrestling Head Coach Tate Thompson.
This season, the girls team doubled its roster size, filling nearly every weight class. Swift is a big reason why.
“They all were watching her championship match and seeing her come back from being down and still come out triumphant and the way she did that with confidence showed that girls can be every bit as tough as boys can be,” said Thompson.
Now, while her sights are set on repeating as a state champion and leading her team to a title, her goal will always be to show girls they too belong on the mat.
“If any little girls are watching this right now, get your friends and get into wrestling, it might seem so scary but it’s so much fun.”
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