June 30, 2021 — On, June 24, junior Hayden Muller represented Siuslaw’s girls wrestling team at the Oregon Wrestling Association (OWA) State Championship, where she took home fourth place for the Lady Vikings for the second year in a row.
Muller, who excels in volleyball and softball as well at Siuslaw, is an inspiration to her teammates and anyone she crosses paths with for that matter. Her spirit on the court, on field and in the ring is contagious, and she lifts up those around her quite naturally.
“Hayden has been a really good athlete for many years and in multiple sports,” said Assistant Coach Bob Forsythe. “When I first got to know her, she was still playing club volleyball, so she missed a lot of practices and things, but she still excelled so well in wrestling.”
Her dedication and drive have taken her a long way in wrestling, going to state as an underclassman last year and again this year.
“She's come along so well,” Forsythe continued. “She's finished fourth in state two years in a row. And remember, when the girls wrestle at state, it's not 4A, 5A, 6A; it's all of the divisions. So, she is fourth in the state of all women at 140 lbs. She loves the sport, she'll even get better at it because she's got the dedication to it, and she knows what she needs to do with it.”
On Thursday, Muller had a difficult start to the tournament, with Tyler Richardson of Vale pinning her in 1:14 in the quarterfinal.
However, Muller’s energy did not falter, and she only seemed to bring more heat in the first consolation round. Muller pinned Madelyn Russell of Banks in 2:08 to advance to the consolation semifinals.
In the next round, Muller pinned Megan LaCombe of Hidden Valley in 2:22 to advance to the third-place match. She was pinned by Averie Stockwell of Thurston in 3:53, but Muller did not make it easy for Stockwell.
Ultimately, Muller took home fourth place and demonstrated two years in a row that she is a force to be reckoned with by the other teams in the state.
Girls being able to wrestle competitively at the high school level at all is a very new thing, but according to Forsythe, it has been a blessing for many reasons.
“The girls that we've wrestled with, and the girls from other teams that I've met, they like the sport because it really fulfills them in themselves, in their physical abilities and in the mentality of what it takes to do the sport,” he said. “It's the hardest sport in high school. We joke and say the kids that come off the football team are only in football shape; they're not in wrestling shape. And it’s the same with the girls. They love it, and once they're in it, they really, really enjoy it.”
With coaches like Forsythe and Head Coach Neil Wartnik guiding their way, young ladies like Muller have a strong future in wrestling, and in their lives in general as well.
“I think it's really good for their psyche, too,” Forsythe said. “There are not too many things in our society that let women excel at a level that high school sports and wrestling specifically do.”
Muller is living proof of that statement being a reality, and a prime example of how a strong work ethic and a fantastic attitude paired with coaches just as dedicated as their athletes can accomplish incredible things.