AP NEWS

Laurel’s Abi Gontarek signs with University of Great Falls women’s wrestling team

January 17, 2017

Abi Gontarek already holds her place in Montana wrestling lore.

In 2014, Gontarek became the first girl to ever place at the Montana state wrestling tournament when competing for Laurel she claimed fifth place in the Class A 98-pound bracket.

And on Monday, Gontarek became the first women’s wrestling recruit in University of Great Falls’ history when she signed with the Argos.

Signing with the Argos was a nice birthday present for the 2014 Laurel High School graduate, who turned 21 on Friday.

“This is awesome, getting a chance to wrestle again and doing it in the state of Montana and under a good program,” she said. “It will be tough, but it will be worth it.”

UGF director of wrestling Caleb Schaeffer was pleased to be able to sign a Treasure State standout. In the next three weeks, he’d like to sign six wrestlers for the program, which will begin competing in the 2017-18 season. School officials announced on Jan. 10 the private Roman Catholic liberal arts university would be adding women’s wrestling. UGF will be the only school in the state, and one of 44 nationally, to offer the sport.

“Abi is definitely the one we wanted to sign first, no question,” said Schaeffer.

“This is one we wanted to sign right away. We put all our effort into it. It shows we wanted to do it the right way.”