Millbrook’s First All Women’s Wrestling Match


The girls wrestling team posing with Coach Saby after a match.

Kendall Johnson, Section Editor

  On Saturday, January 18, Millbrook held Wake County’s first all girls wrestling match against Wakefield. This was a historic moment for Millbrook and meant a lot for the wrestling program, as they were able to debut their girls and spread the word about their team. 

  I spoke with Coach Saby, who is in his 26th year of coaching at Millbrook, as he expressed how proud he is of how far the team has come. “Our program has been encouraging and inviting female wrestlers to compete and we’ve had our number of girls consistently grow over the past two years. Once we learned that there were many opportunities for girls to continue in their wrestling career into college and beyond, I think that’s what made it more appealing,” he said. 

He also expressed how he’s enjoyed coaching a girls team,:“I’ve worked with a girls team before having been the assistant softball coach, but it’s very enjoyable to see a group be excited about wrestling and giving all their effort. I have a very hard-working group of girls.” 

  In past years, Millbrook has had successful girl wrestlers come out of their program. Liana Mutia, a Millbrook alumna who graduated in 2016 was one of them. She lost her sight while she was in high school due to myopia and astigmatism, but she didn’t let that stop her. She continued to be a successful wrestler and go onto the 2020 Paralympics, making the world championships team in both 2018 and 2022, earning a bronze in 2022. Another more recent Millbrook alumni, Amy Williams, who Saby says was “one of the toughest wrestlers we’ve had” won the 2021 girls invitational state championship. These two girls were able to start a trend because they started in the boys varsity lineup and brought attention to girls’ involvement in wrestling.

  Now, Millbrook has girls that are trailblazing just as ones in previous years. Senior Tori Bland has been on the team for two years and loves it. She shared her experience representing the team at the tournament on Saturday: “It was crazy to get to represent the school as our own team, separate from the boys. Last year the girls were never considered a full team and having an official dual match this year was truly surreal, something I definitely won’t forget.” 

Tori spoke with me about her successful performance at the match as well. “I won my match with a pin in the first period. (A pin is when you get your opponent’s shoulder blades on the mat for 2 seconds and there are 3 periods in a match, each are 2 minutes). Although I took it easy on my match because I’m still recovering from a knee injury, I still got one of my favorite moves in, a near side cradle and had fun being on the mat again,” she said. 

  As the season finishes up we look back on the team’s accomplishments and strides they’ve made towards inclusivity and hope this will continue in years to come and inspire other Wake County schools as well to hold girls matches of their own. Congratulations to all the girls that competed and have a dedication to changing the way we look at high school wrestling!