Connect with us

Local News

Searcy’s title repeat highlights historic girls wrestling state tournament



Little Rock, Arkansas — Since its establishment in 2009, the Arkansas Wrestling State Tournament’s participation has increased quickly. In 2023, 821 wrestlers from all throughout the state visited Jack Stephens Center, up from the initial 371 wrestlers.

This year’s largest growth, 231 girls, represents a nearly-100 increase from the 137 records set when the girls-only division was created in 2020, is a statistic that jumps off the page. Saturday afternoon’s main event featured Central Arkansas’ female wrestlers, who excelled.

Searcy made history that day by being the first girls’ wrestling team in the state to win back-to-back state championships, under the leadership of team captain Vivi Edward and head coach Jerry Evans. All 12 of the wrestlers for the Lions were all-state picks as they won the state championship in class 5A for the third time in four years.

“That’s one of our things is leaving a legacy,” Edwards said. “The dynasty of Searcy wrestlers has been a very tough, very tall, very large legacy that I hope for years to come we will fulfill. And I believe they will.”

In the 5A division, Sylvan Hills came in second to Searcy, while in the 6A division, Northwest Arkansas schools won. Presley Givens, a senior from Bryant who hasn’t lost since her sophomore year and won a second straight title in the 6A 145 weight class before moving on to compete for Oklahoma City University, was another local highlight.

“It’s one of our huge priorities as coaches is to grow the sport we’re in,” Coach Evans said. “To see what we’re doing here and to see the crowd that supports them, it’s just amazing.”