Buffalo High School wrestler Teila Peters traveled to Iowa with the Wyoming girls wrestling team earlier this month, where her performance put Buffalo on the national stage.
The junior was undefeated in eight matches, earning her Gold All-American status in the 126-pound weight class at the Twin Rivers Girls National Duals. She was part of Team Wyoming, the state’s all-girl AAU wrestling team, that finished the tournament in third place.
Peters, who has been wrestling since she was 4 years old, said that there was a lot of celebration after the tournament, as eight Team Wyoming athletes earned either gold, silver or copper All-American honors.
“There was a lot of competition there,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Peters is a standout wrestler on the Buffalo High School team, on which she is the only female athlete. Her high school wrestling coach, Garrett Traylor, said that to wrestle as well as she did in a national duals tournament is impressive.
“Anytime you go to a regional or a national level tournament and to even win most of your matches or a few is a huge deal. And for her to win every single one of her matches was pretty crazy,” he said. “It’s huge for her, and then for Buffalo to be able to produce an All-American athlete is very cool.”
Peters wrestled opponents from across the nation, including from Iowa, Texas, Missouri and Tennessee. Her advantage lay not only in her skill and athleticism, but also in living nearly 5,000 feet above sea level and wrestling at sea level in West Des Moines, Iowa, where the tournament was held.
“Wrestling, I wasn’t nearly as out of breath as everyone else was,” she said.
Peters wrestles against both boys and girls throughout the high school season, because there isn’t yet a girls wrestling program sponsored by the Wyoming High School Activities Association. Traylor said that the program is on its way to being approved, and is likely to be in Wyoming high schools in the next couple of years.
For now, though, Peters competes against both boys and girls. This tournament was a chance to wrestle against all girls, which she said wasn’t much different from co-ed tournaments in its environment and the atmosphere.
On the mat, however, there are a few differences, she said.
“Girls tend to have a little bit more strength in the hips,” Peters said. “And because they’re not all muscle, they can use a bit more technique with it.”
Regardless of who she wrestles, Traylor said, Peters takes the mat, puts in the work and is often successful.
Next wrestling season, Peters will be the team’s lone senior as long as no newcomers join the squad. Traylor said that she is poised to be a leader who is supportive of younger athletes.
“Her knowledge of the sport is far superior to most kids her age,” Traylor said. “Even this year, there were a few tournaments where she was out for an injury and she’s the first person in everyone’s corner cheering them on. She’s the loudest person cheering when she’s supporting her team.”
Peters will compete in more nationals duals this summer, including in Fargo, North Dakota with Team Wyoming.
“We’re really proud of her,” Traylor said. “These accomplishments in the off season makes us excited for the season next year.”