LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — High school girls from all over Arkansas traveled to Little Rock Thursday to compete in the inaugural girls' state wrestling tournament.

The Jack Stephens Center on the UALR campus is hosting the 2020 Arkansas High School wrestling championships. Violet Summers of Van Buren High School became Arkansas' very first girl's wrestling state champion. 

"All the hard work and effort and time that I put in pays off," Violet said.

Violet could only compete with boys up until this year. She said it was time girls in Arkansas had their own teams.

"The boys are so stubborn and rude and the girls have the best sportsmanship ever. They're all so sweet," she said.

Greg Hatcher is the tournament director and helped bring girls wrestling to the state. The Arkansas Activities Association sanctioned it last summer.

"It wasn't very hard because they saw the success with the boys and wanted the same for the girls," Hatcher said.

Arkansas is the nineteenth state in the country to have girls wrestling.

"Normally, Arkansas sometimes isn't on the forefront, but we're better than most when it comes to women's wrestling," Hatcher said.

More than 130 girls from 31 different high schools competed in Thursday's tournament. Hatcher calls that a success, considering girls wrestling just got approved less than a year ago.

"The coaches and the schools had to go recruit their girl wrestlers really between late august and the start of the season," he said. "If we had 137 in that short of time, you can count on us have 300 or so next year."

The state championships go through Saturday, with the boys competing Friday and Saturday.

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