For three years Teila Peters wrestled boys as part of the Buffalo High School wrestling team — only taking on girls if there were any in her weight class at other schools. “Before this year, I was always just trying not to get absolutely manhandled,” Peters said.
Bailey Howe, left, and Teila Peters stop to take a breather during practice on Jan. 10, 2022 at Buffalo High School. This year marks the first that the Wyoming High School Activities Association sanctioned girls wrestling. Peters, who is now a senior, joined the BHS wrestling team her freshman year.
Teila rests after a Wednesday conditioning practice. After one particular conditioning practice Teila accidentally came up with a saying: “Go dig a mountain.” “I was talking to our boys and was telling them ‘it sucks in the moment but once I’m finished I feel so accomplished, like I could go dig a mountain,’” she said. “I meant to say move a mountain … the boys found it odd but I just kinda rolled with it.” Teila has a practice shirt for each day of the week, and they’re labeled appropriately.
Wrestling runs in the Peters family. Teila’s younger sister Lindsay, left, is also on the BHS wrestling team and their dad wrestled when he was younger. Now the three of them help coach or ref younger kids wrestling.
Teila has been wrestling since she was a kid when she participated in the youth wrestling program. Now she coaches kids, like Parker Leighton, for the same program. Leighton is one of Teila’s biggest fans — he always tries to wrestle her when he sees her.
Teila carries a cooler to the bus as the BHS wrestling team heads to an away match. “I’ve been told by everyone that I’m really competitive over the littlest thing,” Teila said. “I just really like the process of getting better and competing with everybody.”
Teila leans over into the stands to get a kiss from her mom, Nicole Peters, after pinning her opponent during her state championship match. Peters became the first BHS wrestler to win state since 2018 — and the first BHS girl to win state ever. “I don’t think it really sunk in until a couple of days later,” Teila said.
Teila got to paint her name on the wall of champions after winning her state championship match. She decided girl wrestlers would paint their name white instead of black like the boys. Although Teila’s high school wrestling career is coming to a close, she's still making history: Next fall she starts at the University of Sioux Falls as part of the university’s inaugural wrestling season.
With hundreds of people in the crowd Teila Peters competed in what was likely the most important match of her wrestling career so far. A lifetime of training and over four years of competing had led to a single mat in Casper, as she wrestled to become a part of the inaugural class of girls state champion wrestlers.
"It didn't feel like any special match," Teila said. "I don't think it really sunk in until a couple of days (later) ... I was just making sure I wasn't focused on anything else."
Teila decided she wanted to wrestle at a pretty young age.
"My parents took me to a wrestling dual (at Buffalo High School) when I was like three," she said. "I wanted to get out on the mat, so they put me in the wrestling club the next year. I've wrestled since then."
That long road led her to this year, to becoming one of the first girls state championship wrestlers in Wyoming. Next year wrestling will lead Teila to a new adventure in South Dakota. In August she’s headed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to join the inaugural wrestling team at Sioux Falls University.
Ethan Weston joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist in April 2022. Reach out with ideas or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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