Kailey Benson’s Rise in High School Wrestling at Francis Howell Central


  • Significant Progress and High-Level Performance: Kailey Benson, despite being relatively new to wrestling, has demonstrated remarkable progress and achievement in the sport. After winning a state championship with an undefeated season and placing second at the NHSCA High School Nationals, she continues to show growth and resilience in national competitions, highlighting her potential and dedication.
  • Strong National Competitor: Benson’s performances against top competitors from across the United States, including several state champions and All-Americans, underscore her abilities at a national level. Her ability to consistently score and win in various challenging matches, including major decisions and technical falls, points to her comprehensive skill set and competitive spirit.
  • Future Aspirations and Continued Development: Looking forward, Benson is focused on further training and competing, with plans to participate in the freestyle state meet and another trip to Fargo this summer. Her aspiration to wrestle in college and her recent visit to explore the Oklahoma State club team indicate her commitment to advancing her wrestling career beyond high school.

After putting together an undefeated state championship season, Kailey Benson added All-American honors recently to her resume.

She was a runner-up at the NHSCA High School Nationals held in Virginia Beach, Virginia April 5-7. She lost in the finals to Calli Gilchrist of Connecticut, 7-6, in the 120-pound finals.

Gilchrist is a two-time state champion and a three-time Fargo All-American.

“It was a good tournament and a lot of good competition from other states,” Benson said. “It was good to see other nationally-ranked wrestlers.”

Benson went 5-1 at the tournament and beat wrestlers from Alabama, Maryland, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas. 

She had three straight tech falls to open the tournament and then a 16-4 major decision before a 7-2 win over Evelyn Holmes-Smith, a state champion from Alabama in the semifinals.

“The finals match was pretty close, but I was happy with how I wrestled,” Benson said. “Of course, I was a little upset with the finals match but it was a very good opponent … a worthy opponent so I wasn’t mad.”

Last year, Benson placed sixth in the same tournament. 

“Kailey did a lot of great things throughout the tournament,” said Francis Howell Central coach Jacob Mattson. “She was able to score a lot of points in every position—top, bottom and neutral. She continues to get better and better every time she competes. As the tournament went on and the matches got tougher, Kailey continued to wrestle her best performance.”

The weekend after going to Virginia, Benson was jet-setting across the other side of the country to take part in the U17 Women’s National Championship in Spokane, Washington….

Yes, there's even more!
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Cody Thorn

Written by Cody Thorn

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