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  • Val T.

All-RTC girls wrestling: Leaving a lasting legacy, Hiroms is our first Girls Wrestler of the Year


Sports Editor, RTC

RTC Girls Wrestler of the Year Grace Hiroms

We might not have met a more fiercely driven competitor in wrestling – or in any sport for that matter – than Rochester senior Grace Hiroms.

Hiroms set a high standard for herself and then went out and finished in third place at the Indiana High School Girls Wrestling state finals.

A four-time state qualifier whose lasting legacy will still be felt decades from now, Hiroms is the appropriate pick – the only pick, really – as the first RTC Girls Wrestler of the Year.

Girls wrestling remains under the purview of the IHSGW. The IHSAA considers it an “emerging sport.” Competition is sporadic. For every school that has a full team, there is another school who has maybe one or two girls who wrestle with the boys.

Still, the sport is growing undeniably.

The idea that a girl can start wrestling in high school and become really good at it within months or even weeks will soon become antiquated as more girls get introduced to the sport.

That’s why Grace Hiroms matters now and why her legacy will be long-lasting.

Given the sporadic level of competition, we decided to put together a list of our top five pound-for-pound wrestlers for this list.

We certainly imagine expanding it in the years to come.

We thank area coaches for helping us with statistics and information, and we are thankful for websites like and, which are treasure troves of information.

Still, this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility.


  • Grace Hiroms (Rochester) (Wrestler of the Year) – Hiroms relied on her experience, her conditioning, her positioning and her great tactics. Only Eastside’s Rhaigyn Trenary beat her at semistate and state.

  • Laine Peppler (Rochester) – Peppler’s origins in the sport were modest – she said she never played an organized sport until she started wrestling in high school – but was lifting weights with the boys by the end of the year. She’s extremely strong, and more mat time makes us think she has a chance to improve on her fifth-place finish at state.

  • Makenna McKee (Rochester) – McKee was able to get herself into and out of tough positions, and she eventually made it to the state finals. Only a freshman, it’s now a matter of developing more technique.

  • Eriahna Vela (Culver) – Vela won 11 matches on the season, including one at semistate. 

  • Lilly Gerald (Rochester) – An elbow injury cut Gerald’s season short, but we believe she would have joined Hiroms, Peppler and McKee at state if she had stayed healthy. She has really good technique and footwork, and she held her own against boys when Grant Holloway was out with a knee injury, and she had to fill in.

Laine Peppler Lilly Gerald Makenna McKee

RTC Girls Wrestler of the Year

2024 – Grace Hiroms (Rochester)

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