PAOLA — Kailyn Younger has been a pioneer of women’s sports at Paola High School.
Younger was part of the first Paola girls wrestling team. She competed in the first regional wrestling tournament and qualified to compete for the Lady Panthers in the first state tournament. Younger was runner-up in the state tournament three years in a row.
She helped lead the Lady Panthers to back-to-back third-place state team trophies.
Now, she is ready to be a pioneer for a new school, signing a national letter of intent to wrestle for Iowa Central Community College’s first women’s wrestling team. She will be one of the first Titans to compete on the mat for the women’s team.
“They are having a women’s wrestling team for the first time, and I am excited to be a part of it,” Younger said. “It is exciting to be part of the first team like I was here in Paola.
“I went for a visit and met coach Zach, a Kansas boy, and I thought, I want to stick with Kansas people,” she said.
Younger was named the outstanding regional wrestler of the year her senior campaign. She was 4-0 in the girls regional wrestling tournament at Chanute in February.
She not only went undefeated to capture the 126-pound title, but posted her perfect 4-0 record with four pins. Younger was named the regional’s outstanding wrestler. She is a three-time regional champion.
Younger ended her high school wrestloing career with another medal, placing second at 126 pounds in the Class 4-1A state tournament in Salina. Younger, 35-4, was 3-1 with three pins.
“All of those years at state really help me prepare for the next level mentally and physically,” Younger said. “It is a great sport. I have been blessed a great team and great wrestling family here.”
Kailyn Younger was joined by family and friends at her signing, seeing her officially commit to becoming an Iowa Central Community College Titan.
Younger plans on pursuing a degree in nursing. Kailyn is the daughter of Tommy and Kelci Younger of Paola.
Also supporting her at the signing were her brothers Clayton, Eli and Nolan; grandparents Paul and Valerie Grosdidier, grandfather Gary Younger, family friend Hayley Mott, members of the Paola Lady Panther wrestling program, Paola wrestling coach Darvin Willard and classmates and friends.
It was the first time Kelci had been to a national letter of intent signing since her high school sweetheart, now husband, Tommy, signed to play football at MidAmerica Nazarene when he was a senior at Gardner.