WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. (WMBB) – Wewahitchka senior Kaylee Easter became the first female and the second wrestler ever from the school to sign to the collegiate level on Friday.
Easter signed to Brewton-Parker College, kicking off the first day of the ninth annual Gator Brawl wrestling tournament.
“It’s very important to me personally because I’m the first one to do it,” Easter said. “Not only am I the first girl wrestler, but I’m the first girl to get a scholarship and I’m only the second wrestler to get a scholarship.”
During her high school career with the Gators, Easter has been a pioneer in the sport in the Panhandle, and Wewahitchka head wrestling coach Tracy Malcolm said that made her signing even more special.
“She started with us four years ago,” Malcolm said. “And when she started there were a few ladies that wrestled, but it’s just jumped just leaps and bounds since then and we’re just so proud that she’s been able to go out and compete against not just the girls but be competitive and victorious against the guys, and it just shows a lot of her character and drives in order to put herself in that situation to be able to do it.”
This weekend will be the senior’s final Gator Brawl meet, but it’s not the first, and she said the progress for female wrestlers at the tournament has been more than she ever imagined.
“My first year at Gator Brawl, I was the only girl and girls weigh in’s were separate,” Easter said. “So when they asked for girls at Gator Brawl my first year I was the only one who stood up and everyone pretty much giggled and I was like, alright then. Now there’s like 10 or 12 of us here today and it makes me happy being able to see that the sport is growing the way it is.”
Easter is excited to represent her high school at the collegiate level and she knows her achievement could have a lasting impact on her classmates who might follow her lead.
“Our town is one red light, real small, to get out of here that’s a feat in itself, but to be able to get out of here on a sports scholarship, that’s the surprising thing,” Easter said. “That they know that they can do it and know that it’s possible, it gives everybody a little bit of hope.”