ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — In the second year of girls wrestling being sanctioned as an official sport in New Jersey, Bloomfield High School freshman Kira Pipkins has dominated on the mats this season.
Pipkins proved to be the best in the state as she captured the 114-pound title at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association girls wrestling tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on March 5-7.
Pipkins won the title in dramatic fashion as she posted a 6-4 decision in sudden victory over Katrina Kling of Warren Hills on March 7. Pipkins became the first BHS wrestler, boy or girl, to win a state championship since Art Cuffari in 1987.
In the quarterfinals on March 5, Pipkins pinned Estefani Cortez of Lakewood in 3:13. The next day, Pipkins upset top-seeded Samantha Larsen of Wallkill Valley in the semifinals with a pin in 4:42. Pipkins avenged the 5-3 loss to Larsen in the North Region tournament semifinals at Union HS on Feb. 23. Pipkins went on to finish third in the region tournament to qualify for the state tournament.
This was the second year of the NJSIAA girls tournament at Boardwalk Hall.
BHS head coach Ryan Smircich was elated for Pipkins.
“Kira has been with Bloomfield’s Recreation team since the third grade,” said Smircich in an email to The Independent Press. “She has wrestled on the boys travel team in seventh and eigth grade. So when the NJSIAA sanctioned girls wrestling, Kira was in the eighth grade wrestling boys where her record was 9-3. She has made it very easy for other females to come out as she is a hard worker and a solid drill partner. She drills with the boys varsity team and never looks for an easy way out. What is most impressive is her maturity and her academic workload. She takes all honors classes and managed a varsity wrestling schedule as a 14-year-old.”