Fairfax County Honors ‘Trailblazing’ West Springfield Girl Wrestlers

May 10, 2023


By Mark Hand

West Springfield High School freshmen wrestlers Elaina Primozic and Avana Harford and their coach Pat Smith were honored by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for their "trailblazing" efforts.
West Springfield High School freshmen wrestlers Elaina Primozic and Avana Harford and their coach Pat Smith were honored by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for their “trailblazing” efforts. (Anthony Amos/Office of Supervisor Pat Herrity)

WEST SPRINGFIELD, VA — Three wrestlers from the West Springfield High School girls wrestling team made it to the first-ever Girls’ State Wresting Meet in Manassas in February, with one of the girls winning the state title in her weight class.

With West Springfield High School leading the movement in girls wrestling in Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Tuesday honoring the school’s “trailblazing” girls wrestling team.

Elaina Primozic, a freshman at West Springfield High School, became the first-ever Virginia High School League girls state wrestling champion in the 156-pound class.

Along with winning the first state championship, Primozic is a starting goalkeeper on West Springfield’s field hockey team and is a starting pitcher on its softball team.

“It’s a shame it took this long for Virginia to get to the point of having a girls state wrestling championship,” Supervisor Pat Herrity, who represents the Springfield District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said Tuesday at the board’s meeting.

Herrity congratulated Primozic for being the first-ever state champion in her weight class and the other wrestlers from West Springfield High School who made it to the state wrestling meet.

“This is something you can all look back on fondly over the years as being part of this first state girls state wrestling championship, and congratulations on your victory,” Herrity said.

Supervisor James Walkinshaw, who represents the Braddock District, said the three wrestlers “helped pave a path that I know a lot of girls are going to are going to follow.”

Walkinshaw highlighted the years-long effort to establish girls wrestling as a sport in Virginia. The supervisor also noted how a coach from Culpeper said wrestling has been on the decline in the state and nationally.

“We know that it’s the girls that are going to save wrestling as a sport,” he said. “It’s a lesson that you’re not going to succeed moving forward and 2023 If you’re not fully including 51 percent of the population, and thank you all for being part of making that happen.”

In 2022, the executive committee of the Virginia High School League voted to designate girls wrestling as an “emerging sport” at the urging of schools across the state.

At the time, nearly half of the 271 high schools in Virginia had at least one female wrestler on what was considered a boy’s wrestling team, and the numbers were growing.

Within three years, there will have to be at least 136 schools in Virginia with females on their rosters for the VHSL to move forward with the sanctioning of girls wrestling. If those requirements are not met, the three-year process will start over.

After the VHSL decision to designate girls wrestling as an emerging sport, Virginia held its first official Girls’ State Wrestling Meet in February, where 284 athletes, including the West Springfield Spartans wrestlers, competed.

Supervisor Penny Gross, who represents the Mason District, congratulated the team’s girls for being the first to compete at the state finals. In the years to come, the girls who follow the leadership of the West Springfield wrestlers will demonstrate “your real stamp on the sport,” she told the wrestlers, who appeared at the board meeting to be honored.

In response to Primozic winning the state title in her weight class, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay said that “the thing that should scare all the competition is that she’s a freshman, so she’s got a ways to go in terms of success.”

“Standing up and defending the rights of all kids to play in sports is an important thing to do to build self-confidence, to build mental wellness among our students and to recognize these remarkable achievements because if boys can do it, girls can do it, and vice versa,” McKay said. “And this is certainly evidence of that.”

Pat Smith, wrestling coach at West Springfield High School, said it is remarkable what Primozic and her freshman teammate Avana Harford, who made it to the state semifinals this year, have accomplished in a short period of time.

“We just look forward to seeing where they’re going to be in four years … and how they’re going to help increase the participation in the sport,” Smith said.