Ten-year-old becomes Mount Vernon’s first female State champ

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By Rachel Christian

When Hannah West was four years old, she told her father she wanted to join the wrestling team like her older brother.

Her father teasingly remarked that she couldn’t join the team because her hair was too long and might get pulled during matches.

He woke up the next day to his daughter holding a pair of scissors, her pretty golden locks scattered across the bathroom floor.

Six years later, West is proving to be a fierce competitor in youth wrestling program. She made Mount Vernon history March 12 as the first girl from the PAWS wrestling program to compete in the Indiana State Wrestling Association Women’s Folkstyle State competition. The young girl dominated her bracket, pinning all four of her competitors in less than 20 seconds each. She came away from the Indianapolis event as the State Champ in her bracket.

It was the first time West had wrestled against exclusively female opponents. As a participant in PAWS and West Elementary wrestling programs, she goes head-to-head with boys during practice and tournaments. She had always been diligent wrestler, but this past season, she began winning more matches than she lost.

In fact, when asked what she enjoyed the most about the sport, the 10-year-old smiled and replied, “Winning.”

“We were thinking maybe after she was done with elementary school, she might grow out of wanting to do wrestling,” said her mother, Megan Newman. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen now.”

Coaches and competitors often use the word “tough” to describe West. PAWS Elite Wrestling Coach Tim Alcorn said he is proud to see the strength and determination West has put forth in the male-dominated program.

“I’ve seen her kick butt against the boys, and get her butt kicked, too, but she’s tough,” Alcorn said. “When she loses, there’s no tears, no whining. She doesn’t want any special treatment. She just wants to wrestle.”