Girls continue to grab the attention of the wrestling world. And one girl, Ally Fitzgerald, continues to flourish.
For the first time in the 42 years of the Eastern States Classic, the event hosted a girls-only tournament. There were 70 girls, representing 37 schools, to compete in nine different weight classes.
According to Newsday records, no Long Island girl has ever placed in the prestigious midseason tournament.
Fitzgerald, a Lynbrook junior, who made headlines by winning a boys high school tournament as a freshman in 2018, earned the 113-pound girls title at Sullivan County Community College in Loch-Sheldrake this past weekend.
Fitzgerald rebounded from a loss in the round-robin portion of the event to dominate the final with an 11-2 win over previously undefeated Riley Dalrymple of Copenhagen. Fitzgerald also pinned two previous opponents, Genesis Ceron of Grover Cleveland in 29 seconds and Kylah Holka of Niagara Falls in 2:30.
Fitzgerald hit an early hip toss for a five-point lead in the first period and never allowed Dalrymple into the match.
“She was simply overpowering,” Lynbrook coach Rich Renz said. “Her only loss came after she was disqualified for elbowing her opponent. That came after she’d had her fingers twisted, which is illegal, more than once. I’m happy the loss didn’t derail her shot at the title and she refocused and came out aggressively in the final.”
Fitzgerald never has been one to shy away from competition or the physicality of the sport.
“I was the one seed and expected to win,” she said. “I wrestled Dalrymple many times before in national tournaments and beat her in six of seven bouts. I’ve trained with all boys since I was eight years old, so I have an advantage on girls. Most of these girls only wrestled against girls.”
Fitzgerald is 24-6 against mixed competition this season. In three years she has a 63-17 career record.
She placed third in the Uniondale boys tournament in November, losing in a semifinal in overtime. She finished third at the David Ironman boys tournament at Monsignor Farrell on Staten Island, losing in a semifinal by a point.
Fitzgerald also captured the South Side girls-only tournament.
“She’s wrestling boys and girls,” Renz said. “She’s really held her own against the boys, even against the state- and county-level guys. She goes the distance with most of the wrestlers. And the girls she has to adjust a little and be smart and not underestimate anyone.”
“I was the only girl wrestling at such a young age and it didn’t bother me,” Fitzgerald said. “Girls wrestling is the fastest growing sport in the country. But I still like beating the boys because, believe me, no one wants to wrestle a girl or lose to a girl, so no one goes light on me.”