Sabrina Kahkar

Sabrina Kakhar had one goal going into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) state girls' wrestling tournament: to win.

"I wanted to get first, but I didn't get enough experience because I've only been doing it for three months when those girls from state have been doing it from childhood," she said. "I really wanted to get first, but I understand that I need to work more to get it next time."

Her first round resulted in her losing to Kya Rybacheck of Hibbing, but she rallied back in the second round beating Park Center's Hanan Daud by fall in 1 minute, 11 seconds. Then she secured her second-place spot when she pinned Roosevelt's Erin Grube in 5:15.

The Park High School senior is an exchange student from Kazakhstan and is also the school's first female wrestler in its history. Before coming to Park, she practiced jiu jitsu for a number of years back in her home country.

"I always liked the sport (wrestling) from childhood," Kakhar said. "I did some jiu jitsu when I was younger and then I stopped doing that, and I realized that it's my kind of sport. I really enjoy it."

When she decided to join the team back in the beginning of the year, she spoke with one of the coaches about her wanting to participate, but the coach thought she was a parent at first.

"I came and said, 'I want to participate,' and one of the coaches thought I was going to bring my child," Kakhar said. "He thought I was the mother of some little kid that wanted to sign him up, but when he said that I was like, 'No, I want to sign myself up.' They were surprised by that."

Aside from some surprised reactions when she tells people that she wrestles, Kakhar said everyone's been super nice to her about it.

"Talking to people outside of the wrestling room they are a little afraid, and they think I'm crazy," she said. "Like, 'Oh, no one expected that from you.'"

The guys on the team have also been very welcoming to her addition on the team.

"The guys are really nice. We treat each other very respectfully, and we're friends," she said. "I really appreciate all of their support. I love my team."

Despite doing well in her first year of wrestling, she's still mulling over whether it's something she wants to do, or go back to doing jiu jitsu in her home country.

"They (Kazakhstan) have a national team, but I'm still trying to think what I want to do more of," Kakhar said.

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