Forest Grove girls wrestling earns national honor
A national committee consisting of representatives from USA Wrestling, FloWrestling and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum has selected the 2021-22 Forest Grove High School girls wrestling team as the No. 19-ranked team in the country.
The top-30 rankings, which includes public and private high schools from all states that offer both official and unofficial girls state championship events, ranked the Vikes—along with the 29 other decorated schools—based on team performance at their season-ending state or national prep competition, and evaluation including the number of state champions; number of state medalists; and the number of athletes on the teams who are nationally ranked individually.
Forest Grove head coach Guy Takahashi was obviously excited about the recognition, but also somewhat awestruck by the fact they were able accomplish such in a relatively short period of time.
"I am excited and pleased where we are and where we are heading at Forest Grove," Takahashi said. "A program that never had any success has entirely changed the culture. To become nationally ranked is unbelievable."
Forest Grove finished the year with one state champion (Ella Taplin) and three second-place finishers (Kennedy Blanton, Makaila Takahashi, and Jasmine Hopkins).
Taplin was also ranked No. 19 nationally.
The recent graduate who hasn't closed the door on wrestling in college but plans to focus only on school this coming fall, spoke not only to her team's prowess on the mat, but also their work off of it when asked about their most recent accolade.
"When I saw that we were nationally ranked I couldn't believe it, but also expected it if that makes sense," Taplin said. "The group of girls we had this past year are the most hard-working individuals I have ever met, crushing every stigma against women with every match they wrestled. I am so beyond honored to have gotten this ranking with this team, and not only knowing how great of wrestlers they are, but how amazing they are as people."
Forest Grove was the only Oregon high school that made the cut, while Washington's Toppenish High School was second in the rankings, Idaho's Eagle High School was 18th, and Montana's Flathead High School was 28th.
The rankings' top-5 were No. 1 Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), No. 2 Toppenish (Wash.), No. 3 SLAM Academy (Nev.), No. 4 Marina (Calif.) and No. 5 Waverly-Shell Rock (Iowa).
Takahashi said that while the girls should be proud of what they've accomplished, those remaining and coming up should also use such as motivation to be even better going forward.
"These girls have done everything I have asked and deserve the recognition," the coach said. "We now emphasize the new norm of Forest Grove girls wrestling and always strive for improvement. This ranking has encouraged our youth girls to start wrestling and helped them believe they will become future state champions (individuals and team) or even all Americans."
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