Northern Star: Kya Rybachek

Rybachek is one of the highest-ranked girl's wrestlers in the nation and just placed first in the state amongst other girls at her weight class.

HIBBING, Minn. – Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest sports and even though it has been done for thousands of years, Kya Rybachek is blazing a path of her own.

Rybachek is one of the highest-ranked girl’s wrestlers in the nation and just placed first in the state amongst other girls at her weight class.

Because girl’s wrestling is not sanctioned in the state of Minnesota, she has been part of the boy’s wrestling team at Hibbing High School.

“My teammates here they’ve been incredibly supportive, none of them treat me different it’s just kind of how it’s been I haven’t had issues with them, I was a manager first so most of them knew me and they were like oh cool you can do this if you want we’ll support you,” said Rybacheck who is a senior on the team.

She became the wrestling team manager in sixth grade when her older brothers were on the team.

She was told girls did not wrestle but when she saw another female wrestler at a meet she was determined to give it a shot and was hooked.

“The feeling it gives you and the amount of strength and determination it takes and the friendships you make I love the traveling with it and the opportunities it gives you in all of life,” said Rybachek.

Head coach Ray Pierce says the team treats her just as another wrestler and none of the guys take it easy on her.

“It’s actually been a pleasure coaching her she never really complains about anything she comes into the practice room and works hard and goes out to tournaments and continues her stuff a lot of times on her own because the girl’s program isn’t sanctioned yet with the Minnesota state,” said Pierce.

Rybachek says how wrestling the girls is different than the guys.

“Girls tend to be more technical obviously more flexible a lot so it’s more of different moves where guys are more strength wrestling so you have to work towards their weaknesses with that and they’re less flexible,” said Rybachek.

Girls wrestling is currently sanctioned in 21 states, but Minnesota is not part of that just yet and Rybachek said that is only hurting the sport.

“The longer we wait to sanction it the more it’s held back. There’s plenty of girls out there who can’t compete just because it’s against guys they don’t feel comfortable to start the sport because they don’t see girls. So with our youth, we’ve seen an increase they see other girls wrestle so they know they can wrestle,” says Rybachek.

Even though she has only been wrestling for four years, she is currently ranked ninth in the country in her weight class.

She says she plans on wrestling in college but says she is keeping her options open as of now and that the sport has taught her so much about life.

“Dedication, hard work, you can get to where you want to be as long as you do it right. That’s kind of what I like about wrestling is the better wrestler at that moment wins so whoever has worked harder for that moment they’re going to be the ones on top,” said Rybachek.

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