Our female wrestler is a state champion
Junior Cat McNulty made history this year when she became the first female to win the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state champion in girls wrestling for her weight class.
"This is an exciting and well deserved accomplishment for Cat, who has always welcomed any challenge that comes her way," Wrestling Coach Ryan Richards said. "She worked hard throughout the season and we want to congratulate her on making Whittier history."
On Feb. 23, the MIAA held its first Girls Wrestling Tournament at St. John's Prep in Danvers, where female wrestlers throughout the region had the chance to either compete in the traditional mixed gender tournament or the girls tournament. Massachusetts is the 10th state in country to offer a girls tournament.
McNulty, from Haverhill, has been wrestling since her freshman year and is the only girl on Whittier's Wrestling Team. She was a contender in the girl’s tournament, competing in the 170-pound weight class, with two semi-final rounds and a finals match up.
Because of McNulty's strong performance throughout the season, she was the number two seed and had a first round bye. In the second semi-final match, McNulty beat her opponent, Anya Roberts, of Warwick, in the second period with a power half nelson technique.McNulty then moved onto the final round against, Aliceya Lopez, of Springfield. The match went all three periods and ended in the first round of overtime on a stalling call. McNulty emerged victorious, winning 3-2 and becoming the first female to place in her weight class.
"It was really exciting to win, a rush," McNulty said. "I was over the moon about it. It had such meaning to me that Massachusetts now has their own women's competition. I created history."
McNulty first got involved with Whittier wrestling her freshman year, starting off as the team manager before she decided to give the sport a try. After her first match on the junior varsity team against Greater Lawrence Tech, she went to the third round before being pinned. That was all it took -- she was hooked.
"After that first match, I knew I wanted to be in the varsity lineup and be able to run out with the team to music and put on the pre-match show," McNulty recalled. "I liked the discipline and the aggression, every aspect of it and I just wanted to get better."
The summer of her sophomore year she began competing with off-season wrestling clubs and joined several girls tournaments with Manchester Police Athletic League, Dough Girls, Smitty’s Barn and Maine Trappers.
This year, McNulty started off the season in the 180 weight class, but then dropped to 170 pounds. Her talent kept her in the varsity lineup for 70 percent of the season, and she looked at each competition with the same grit and determination.
"Each year, she's gotten better and better," Richards said. "Next year, I know she'll work hard to maintain her title."