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A chat with the champ: De Pere’s Corrigan wins state wrestling title

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

LA CROSSE – From now and into eternity, De Pere’s Brooke Corrigan will always be the first girls’ high school state wrestling champion.

The first-ever Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association State Girls’ Individual Wrestling Tournament was Jan. 29 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse.

A total of 262 wrestlers entered the tournament, representing 115 programs.

Brooke Corrigan

The freshman Corrigan was one of 12 state champions.

With Corrigan wrestling in the 100-pound weight class – the lightest class – she was the first champion crowned on the day.

“It was exciting to win,” Corrigan, whose older brother Shane is a senior at De Pere, said. “After the match, I was still shaking from the adrenaline. It was an exciting moment in my wrestling career. It’s cool to be the first-ever state champ. I hope people remember my name in the future.”

After beating Alexiana Garcia-Mar (Parkview/Albany) via pin in 1:42 in the opening round, Corrigan bettered Haeli Casey (Spring Valley/Elmwood, major decision, 13-4), Savanna Millermon (Glenwood City, major decision, 14-1) and Karina Torres (Kenosha Indian Trail, decision, 7-5) in succession to win the title.

Corrigan began seriously wrestling in the third grade and hasn’t stopped since.

“There were some tournaments for girls, but I’ve mostly been wrestling against guys my whole life,” she said. “Seeing my brother Shane wrestle and win all these tournaments, gave me the motivation to keep going.”

Corrigan said De Pere’s wrestling coach, Zach Hendzel, knew about her coming up through the ranks.

“Shane also talked about me with coach,” she said. “It wasn’t a surprise I came out for the high school team.”

Corrigan said she knew what to expect wrestling against varsity guys during the regular season.

“I knew it would be tough, especially since I’m a little undersized (for the 106-pound class),” she said. “The guys are a bit stronger, so I have to get by on better technique and quickness.”

Corrigan is still wrestling with the De Pere team through the regular season.

Corrigan said she has some lofty goals before she’s done at De Pere.

“I’d like to be a four-time state champion,” she said.

According to an article published in the High School Today by the National Federation of State High School Associations, at least 31 state associations sponsor a separate girls’ state tournament, most of them since 2018.

Participation statistics indicated 4,975 girls participated in wrestling nationwide in 2005, and the number increased to 28,447 during the 2019-20 season based on data collected by the USA Wrestling Girls High School Development Committee.

Corrigan said more and more colleges are offering women’s wrestling, so she’s leaving her options open after high school.

“By the time I’m a senior, even more colleges will have women’s wrestling,” she said. “There’s lots of growth there.”

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