Spartan Sisters Compete in First Ever Girls State Wrestling Championship

GTR Sports Writer

Courtesy Bixby Wrestling
INAUGURAL MEET: Sisters Grace, left and Emma Thompson, holding the brackets, competed in the first girls’ state wrestling tournament in February.

Two weeks before sports stopped as a result of COVID-19, sisters Emma and Grace Thompson made sports history at Bixby High School as they competed in the first ever girls state tournament, which wrapped up Feb. 29 in Oklahoma City.
Emma, a sophomore, became the school’s first state champion in girls wrestling as she captured the title in the 147-pound weight class. Grace, a freshman, placed third in the 161-pound bracket.
Emma Thompson beat Bailey Bigby of Chandler in her finals match, enforcing a pin at the 3:37 mark.
“It just made me really happy because we’ve been trying to work for this for awhile,” Emma Thompson said. “When I first started wrestling, there weren’t any girls’ divisions. so we wrestled boys. To see there are more girls getting involved in wrestling makes me happy.”
Grace Thompson pinned her foes in the first two rounds, but was sent to the consolation bracket after finishing on the receiving end of a fall to Broken Arrow’s Abby Lassiter. But she bounced back forcing another pin before winning a 5-4 decision in the third-place match against Chandler Atwood of Jay
“In my semifinals match, I just wasn’t ready for it,” Grace Thompson said. “She (Lasiter) was really strong and explosive off the whistle. I felt like I could have been more ready, but my third-and-fourth place match (against Atwood) was really close. I won with one point with five seconds left. So, it was really close.”
Looking ahead to next year, Emma will be seeking a repeat while Grace will be seeking out her first state crown.
“We’ll definitely be working on our strength,” Grace Thompson said. “I feel like we need to be stronger than we are right now.”
“We actually wrestle year round,” Emma Thompson said. “We do folkstyle and we do freestyle, which is what girls wrestle in college. We’ll actually do that in the rest of our time.”
Wrestling runs in the Thompson family. Their father, Chris, coaches the Bixby youth league. Emma and Grace each began the sport in seventh grade. They also have a younger brother and sister.
Both Thompson sisters like the mental toughness aspect of the sport.
“Wrestling teaches you so much,” Emma said.
“I’d say the same thing,” Grace said.
Ainslie Lane, who graduated last year, got things going for the girls to wrestle at Bixby. Now at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, she gave inspiration to girls behind her.
“I do (draw inspiration from Lane),” Emma Thompson said. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without Ainslie. She has helped me a lot. She would always take me to extra practices and would practice with me. She would always make sure that I would get the proper teaching I needed to be successful. She was definitely a huge help toward my wrestling career.”
The younger Thompson looks to her older sister in the same light.
“I’m her little sister,” Grace said. “She (Emma) is basically my ‘Ainslie Lane’. I always practice with her. She takes me to all the practices.”
As far as support, the guys are all in.
“They’re all like brothers to us.” Emma Thompson said. “So we’re kind of like joking around in practice. But at the end, they really do support us. We got up there and everyone was giving us high-fives, saying ‘good match.’ We really do support each other.”
The Bixby boys’ best finish came from Jersey Robb, who finished runner-up in the Class 6A 182-pound weight class.
Broken Arrow, another Tulsa suburb, now has a girls’ program and just completed its first season.
Will Bixby get a program any time soon? The girls don’t know. But there are three or four more girls coming up from junior high next year, they said.
“We’re getting a lot of girls coming in,” Grace Thompson said. “Hopefully we can push it more.”
“It probably will (rub off) eventually. But it will take a couple of years,” Emma Thompson said.