By CONOR NICHOLL
SALINA – Girls’ wrestling is 12 weight classes, ranging from 101 to 235 pounds. This winter marked the second season the sport is KSHSAA sanctioned. It split into two classes for the first time. Division I had 5-6A, and Division II with 4-1A.
The 10 Division II state champions from the 10 smallest weight classes (101 to 170) featured three defending titlists. Another four ’21 champions placed at 2020 state, including three second-place showings. Two other winners were freshmen.
The last was Oakley 101-pound sophomore Citori Bosserman, who vaulted up the rankings this winter. Bosserman finished 10-12 as a freshman and didn’t qualify for the all-classes state tournament. Bosserman came to wrestling from her dad and brother, both wrestlers. She has attended multiple wrestling camps.
“I really enjoyed watching my brother wrestle, and it was just like a new thing,” Bosserman said. “I really don’t like basketball and all that kind of stuff, so I kind of wanted to do something new, and I liked wrestling with my brother home.”
She had received plenty of help from Oakley coach Levi Younkin, a three-time state champion for the Plainsmen from 2003-05 and former wrestler at Colby Community College and Fort Hays State University. Bosserman had significant improvement wrestling on her feet.
“Coach Levi has done a lot for me,” she said.
In the fall, Bosserman went 19th at Class 2A state cross country for all-state honors. She helped Oakley take third as a team. Paced by the training, endurance from cross country and aggressive wrestling, Bosserman achieved history last Friday at the state meet held at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina.
Bosserman became the first Northwest Kansas girl to win a state wrestling title. Ranked No. 1 in Division II the majority of the winter, Bosserman delivered a 27-1 record.
“I had a lot of fun,” Bosserman said. “It was great, and I just really enjoyed all the new things.”
She earned 7-0 and 6-3 decisions in the first two rounds, and then beat Fort Scott senior Nicole Montojo, 5-3, in the championship.
“She has got very good lungs,” Younkin said. “And she uses it to her advantage, and I want her to as well. But she can just keep moving forward, moving forward and a lot of people aren’t used to that style of wrestling, and she does it well.”
Both Bosserman and Younkin were unaware of the history until after the match. Bosserman called the feat “kind of cool.” Bosserman’s jump led a significantly better showing for Northwest Kansas girls at the state meet in 2021 compared to ’20.
“We come to these tournaments, and we root for anybody from Northwest Kansas,” Younkin said. “I hope we have a lot more.”
Northwest Kansas, generally considered the Mid-Continent League, Northwest Kansas League, Western Kansas Liberty League, Hays High, Colby and Goodland, has dominated the boys’ side for decades.
Norton has 17 all-time titles, 11 since ’04. St. Francis has 16, and Hoxie has 11, including a 70-point margin of victory in 3-2-1A this winter. Oberlin has tallied 10 titles, Colby six. Smith Center, Atwood, Leoti and Plainville all have least two, per the kansashswrestling.com database.
Last season, the girls’ side had four placers in the all-classes meet. Hays High’s Sarah Zimmerman delivered a sixth-place showing at 109.
Oakley’s Mikyah Cain was fifth at 116. Hoxie’s Marissa Porsch, a former gymnast in her first year of wrestling, took fourth at 130. Porsch’s father is longtime Hoxie coach Mike Porsch. WaKeeney-Trego’s Sydney Boyle earned fifth at 143.
This season, Zimmerman, a sophomore, nearly became the first one last Thursday at the Division I state meet at Park City’s Hartman Arena. She went 27-5 and earned state runner-up at 109. Southwest Kansas schools Garden City and Dodge City earned third and fourth in the team standings, respectively.
Each improved on its 2020 showing, especially DC. Also in Division II for southwestern Kansas, Lakin sisters Josiah and Isabella Ortiz both placed at state for a second straight season. Isabella won at 115 for the Broncs’ first-ever girl title.
Coach Porsch noticed improvement across the board from girls’ wrestling this year, including with technique and athleticism. Porsch has talked to Younkin about trying to get Northwest Kansas girls together in the summer for freestyle wrestling practice. The Porsch family has even discussed about putting a wrestling workout center in the Hoxie area.
“Levi does a great job,” coach Porsch said.
Division II had several state title contenders, including Cain, Bosserman’s great friend.
“Citori Bosserman, man she scraps as hard as any guy I have seen,” coach Porsch said. “She seems to be really driven.”
Cain’s brother, Eric, is a two-time state runner-up in ’20 and 21. Mikyah, a sophomore and highly experienced in wrestling, collected a 25-5 record and finished third at 120. Bosserman and Cain led Oakley for a tie for eighth with 32 points. Oakley junior 235-pounder Jaylyn Moore qualified for state and lost two matches.
“Very, very proud of them,” Younkin said. “I mean, they put the time in all year long. They came in and did everything I ever asked, and I couldn’t be more proud of both of them. They did very well.”
After Bosserman’s title, Oakley assistant coach Mike Rains complimented Cain on helping her teammate.
“We are really close,” Bosserman said. “We do a lot together.”
Bosserman had to face three eastern Kansas wrestlers at state. She had not wrestled them before. During the week, Bosserman watched a little film on the opponents.
“I was really nervous, because I didn’t know what they were really going to do,” she said.
Bosserman controlled the matches and, helped by the work, completed the historic season. She beat Ottawa senior Maddison Soman, 7-0, and Burlington junior M.J. Huff, 6-3 before the final. Montojo was ranked second in the final Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association poll, and Huff third.
“Last year was her first year,” Younkin said. “Still kind of learning what it was about. She is a very competitive person. Once she got into it, it just took off. Everyday she came in, everyday it got better and better and better because she wanted to be better, and so then with Mikyah wrestling her everyday – and she has obviously got quite a bit more experience – it just helped, tremendously helped.”
Many of the other returning Northwest Kansas placers improved off last season’s finish. Marissa Porsch, a junior, went 43-2 and took third at 132. Atwood-Rawlins County senior Kai Morrison took fifth at 138. Boyle, set to wrestle at NAIA York, completed a great career with a 28-7 season and third at 143. Smith Center sophomore Sierra Lanning finished fourth at 191 in her first year.
Ellis had zero girls qualify for state in 2020. This winter, junior Haley Cranwell took fifth at 126, and freshman Kaydawn Haag earned runner-up to Swift at 143.
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