Sophia Eglian always had a tougher side of herself to show.
In her younger years, she did some cheerleading, but that wasn’t really for her. She played boys and girls lacrosse, but that still didn’t fully quench that desire to be aggressive. It wasn’t until her middle school years that she discovered wrestling by watching her younger brother. One day, one of her friends was wrestling alongside him, and she decided to make a deal with Eglian: she would try lacrosse if Eglian tried wrestling.
“I saw boys lacrosse as an opportunity to finally show some aggression,” Eglian said. “(Wrestling) just showed a whole other side of how aggressive you can get in a sport.”
Years after Eglian accepted that challenge, it paid off for her in her junior season at North Forsyth. On Feb. 16, she took just 36 seconds to pin Stephenson’s Kiomy Morris in a headlock during the 146 pound girls final at the GHSA traditional state championships in Macon.
That pin earned Eglian a historic title. She had become Forsyth County’s first-ever girls wrestling state champion in the first year of the girls tournament. She was visibly emotional as the referee lifted her arm in victory, but wasn’t until well after that moment that the magnitude of her accomplishment really set in.
“At first, it didn't hit me,” she said. “When I got home and saw all the stuff on Facebook from my friends and family, I was like, 'I did that.' It came to me as a shock, but also I really actually did it. I achieved it.”
Eglian had been on the wrestling team before this season, but always had to compete alongside boys. She didn’t mind that, but with no girls even placing at state until the 2018 season, her opportunities to actually come away with a title were extremely limited. With the girls tournament starting up this year, there was now an attainable goal, and as she improved over the course of the year, her aspirations of a title began to grow.
“At first, when I started the season, I just wanted to know that I can get some wins (and) pins,” Eglian said. “But leading up to state, I felt like I could make history if I practiced hard enough and learned different techniques, (and) what fits in my style of wrestling.”
Eglian will have the opportunity to display her skills on a bigger stage this weekend, as she’s competing at the US Marine Corps Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City. She’s unsure of what her future plans are in the sport after her time at North is over, but she knows two things: She doesn’t plan on changing up her style of wrestling, and for her senior season, her sights are set on defending her title.
“I was more motivated (this year),” Eglian said. “I just wanted to prove myself because last year there wasn't an opportunity for the girls at state and now there is. Now I can just show who I am.”