Camden's Peyton Kelley stands fifth on the podium at states

SYRACUSE, NY - Three members of the Camden High School girls’ varsity wrestling team represented the district to the highest degree of excellence and dignity as they competed in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Girls’ Wrestling Invitational on Friday, January 26th. 

 In its second year, the Invitational is a state-wide event that showcases the best talent from across the state. It comes at an exciting time, as the growing sport of girls’ wrestling crescendos toward formal NYSPHSAA State Championship status for the 2024-25 school year. Next year's championship is set to be held in February 2025 at the MVP Arena in Albany.  It will be the first high school girls' wrestling championship in the nation to be run under freestyle rules. 

As with the invitational, Camden's varsity program is also in its second year. The Blue Devils have had athletes qualify in both editions. 

Headlining the Blue Devils’ performances was sophomore Peyton Kelley’s fifth place finish at 94 lbs. Kelley became the second Blue Devil in program history to land on the podium at a state-wide season-ending meet after teammate Rylie Meagher in 2023. 

Kelley opened her day with a pair of decision victories. She won over Wayne’s Amelia Armstrong by a 14-2 major decision in the round of 16, and won a tighter match over Commack’s Bianca Awerman by a 4-2 score to advance through the quarterfinals. After her championship bracket run ended in the semifinals against runner-up Zoey Jewett of General Brown, Kelley landed in the fifth place match out of the consolation bracket and defeated Fern Jewett, also of General Brown, by a 9-6 score to take fifth. 

In the 100 lb. bracket, eighth grader Rylie Meagher made her second state invitational appearance. She went 1-2 against the state’s best in that division and recorded a pinfall win over Mohonasen’s Chloe O’Connor in the first consolation bracket round.

At 165 lbs, eighth grader Abigail Hebble also went 1-2 against very sharp competition. Her day included a hard-fought pinfall win over Jillian Howell of Chenango Forks in the first round of the wrestleback consolation bracket. 

For Meagher and Hebble, they represent two competitors that can shape the long-term future of the sport at the high school level in New York, as each has four years ahead of them.

For all three competitors, they will be forever seen as some of the sport’s pioneers in the state, and if all goes well, perhaps some of its first great champions in high school competition. As the sport grows, so do the possibilities.