Junior girl at Saltillo High wins state championship in wrestling

SALTILLO, Miss. (WCBI) – This may be the first year Saltillo High School offered the sport of wrestling to students, but one junior is making a name for herself.

For Keleigh Kincade, there’s no place she would rather be than on the mat practicing her favorite sport.

Kincade is part of the co-ed wrestling team. This is the first year the sport has even been offered at the school, and she took top honors at the recent state invitational.

“Yessir, that’s right, I won,” said Kincade.

Kincade is the state champion in the 165-pound class. She has a background in ju-jitsu and believes that helped prepare her for wrestling.

Her sparring partner said she is not surprised Kincade, also known as “Mississippi Queen” is the state champion.

“She is incredible and she is the toughest opponent I’ve ever went up against, honestly,” said Youju Lee, Kincade’s sparring partner.

Coach Jeff Cates said the 17-year-old has a natural talent and works hard.

“We had our first tournament of the year and I had a coach tell me that Keleigh was something special. He had a daughter that had been wrestling for seven years and Keleigh was up 12 to two in that match and dominated that tournament,” said Cates.

Kincade is a junior. She will be back next year, and Cates said her success has already created more interest in the sport, especially among female students.

“We’re probably going to go from 15 girls to 35 try out next year,” said Cates.

Kincade said she has learned a lot from this first season of wrestling and is looking forward to next year.

“Wrestling builds mental toughness, I took a long time to process everything and I love cheering for my teammates and they cheer for me. I hope I can inspire other people,” said Kincade.

Right now there are nine high school wrestling teams in the south half and nine in the north half, but Cates expects that number to grow as the sport is gaining popularity across the state.

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