Two Henning students join high school wrestling team

Photo by Chad Koenen
Kayetana Lopez-Moen is in her second year of wrestling for the Otter Tail Central Bulldogs. She placed fifth in the section at last year’s section wrestling meet.

By Chad Koenen


One of the fastest growing sports in the country has a familiar, but all-be-it new twist on the activity. 

Female high school wrestling is growing in popularity after the Minnesota State High School League sanctioned the sport and state tournament for the first time last year. Today, OTC has two female wrestlers at the varsity and JV level and a pair of others in sixth grade, as they get ready for their individual section meet. 

Contributed photo
Kayetana Lopez-Moen and Alyssa Witt pose for a picture during the Rumble on the Red wrestling tournament. 

What began last year with two sections sending four total girls to the state tournament will double in size this year, as more females continue to test their strength and determination on the mat, which had previously been largely occupied by boys.

“It has grown so much that there will be four sections this year,” said OTC head coach Jason Rogers.

This year eighth grader Kayetana Lopez-Moen and freshman Alyssa Witt participated in wrestling for the Bulldogs. Sixth graders Jolene Fosse and Ava Rousu also participate in wrestling at the elementary level. All four students attend Henning School. 

While girls have been permitted to participate in wrestling in the past, they were required to wrestle boys since there was not enough female wrestlers in the state. 

“Wrestling, in my mind, is the greatest sport on earth, so the more opportunities for people to wrestle the better,” said Rogers. 

Now in her second year of wrestling, Lopez-Moen remembers watching her older brothers compete for the Bulldogs when they were in school. She quickly picked up the sport and has followed in her brother’s footsteps to put on the singlet for OTC.

Lopez-Moen said her favorite part of the sport is the team aspect of it and being able to compete on the mat. Last year Lopez-Moen finished in fifth place at the girls section meet. 

Witt joined wrestling for the first time this year and Rogers said she has shown a tremendous amount of growth on the mat. Witt’s dad Randall Witt is an assistant coach for the Bulldogs and her older sister took stats for the wrestling team for a number of years.

With wrestling in her blood, Witt said she brought up the idea of wrestling to her dad first, but has quickly fallen in love with the sport.

“I just wanted to (join) and thought it was better to join now than later,” she said. “He did (bring up joining wrestling) a little, but I brought it up first.”

The state wrestling tournament for girls will be held in conjunction with the individual boys state tournament final day of wrestling at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, March 4.