High school wrestler makes history as first female to defeat male opponent in Minnesota state match

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (KARE) - A high school wrestler made history in Minnesota by becoming the first female to defeat a male opponent in a state match.

“You know, I really love this sport,” sophomore Caley Graber said.

Graber’s climb to the varsity wrestling team at Northfield High School didn’t happen by accident.

“So I started wrestling when I was about four years old because my older brother wrestled,” Graber said. “And yeah, from there I just fell in love with the sport.”

Last year, Graber won the girls’ state tournament as a freshman.

“And then this year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do girls’ or boys’. I really wanted to challenge myself against the boys. So I decided to go for it and it turned out pretty well,” she said.

That is an understatement.

Last Friday, Graber made history by becoming the first female wrestler in Minnesota history to defeat a male opponent in a state high school match.

“It’s been crazy,” she said. “It’s really, really exciting to know that I’m the first, and hopefully the first of many to come.”

Graber won two more times over the weekend to finish in fifth place.

“Absolutely incredible, you know, to see somebody competing with their heart and soul out there,” coach Jules Doliscar said.

Doliscar coached Graber this year as an assistant.

“I think it is a great thing for girls’ wrestling,” Doliscar said. “I think it shows that you don’t have any limits except the ones you put on yourself.”

Graber’s performance could open new doors.

“Breaking the ground for all these youth girls that are growing up in the world of wrestling,” Graber said.

Over the past three years, girls’ participation in the sport has quadrupled in Minnesota with more than 1,000 competing statewide this season.

“It’s amazing to show them that we can compete with the boys and they can do just as much as those boys can,” Graber said.