'One of the guys': Grain Valley's first female wrestling district champion feels at home with boys

By Bill Althaus

One by one, members of the Grain Valley High School wrestling team walk into their practice area, just south of the school in a new facility that is a reward for the team’s recent success.

When Sevreign “Sevi” Aumua walks in, it’s no big deal. She greets her teammates, makes a quick change into her wrestling gear and heads out on the mat to begin sparring with her partner, Anthony Greco.

Aumua is much, much more than the lone girl on the Eagles wrestling team. She is 21-0 and the first district champion in school history.

As Grain Valley High School wrestling assistant coach Brian Hoffman looks on, undefeated freshman Sevreign “Sevi” Aumua practices with Anthony Greco inside the Eagles wrestling facility. Aumua is the first Grain Valley girl to win a district championship. She will take a perfect 21-0 record into Saturday's sectional tournament.

She’s also “one of the guys.”

When asked about Aumua, another undefeated wrestling champion grins.

“Sevi is one of the guys,” said Hunter Newsom, who is undefeated and earned a district title himself at 195 pounds last Saturday. “I don’t know if we have a wrestler that is more respected than Sevi.

“She’s like a sponge, she soaks it all in. And she gets out on the mat and gets the job done.”

When asked what might happen to an opponent who chides her for being the lone girl on the team, Newsom rolls his eyes.

“No one is going to push Sevi around or make any comments about her,” Newsom said, “because she would kick the (snot) out of them. She doesn’t need for any of us to protect her — she can protect herself. I wouldn’t want to mess with her, she’s a handful. And we all love it that she is on our team.”

Aumua captured the 151-pound district crown by pinning top-seeded Abby Sader of Knob Noster in just 1 minute, 6 seconds in the District 6 final at Grandview High School on Feb. 13. Sader is 28-1. And it took Aumua just 20 seconds to pin Belton’s Samantha Archer in the semifinals.

She enters Saturday’s Sectional 3 tournament at Harrisonville High School undefeated and as a No. 1 seed.

Sevreign “Sevi” Aumua is the first girl to win a district championship at Grain Valley High School. She takes a perfect 21-0 record into Saturday's sectional tournament.

Eagles head coach Jeff Bowman echoes the words of Newsom, as he prepares to step on the mat and help Aumua fine-tune her performance.

“She’s amazing,” Bowman said. “She came to our program with a lot of experience and it shows. She hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped. The sky’s the limit for Sevi, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Aumua started her freshman school year playing another sport more often associated with males: football. She played offensive and defensive line for the Suburban Middle Six Conference champion Eagles.

“She’s an amazing young lady,” Eagles defensive coordinator Pete Carpino said. “She’s going to do some special things this season in wrestling and we look for her to do some special things in football in the very near future.”

When asked about not only surviving but thriving in two sports that are dominated by boys, Aumua grinned.

“I’ll admit, high school football was scary at first,” she said, “because I didn’t know how the guys and the coaches would react to me. But the first day I felt like a member of the team. It was awesome.

“In wrestling, I’m just one of the wrestlers on the team, even though I’m the only girl. All our coaches are great and the guys on the team are really helpful.

“But I’ve been wrestling since I was in the fourth grade, and I think they respect what I bring to the team and my work ethic.

“They’re like my second family now. In this world of COVID and the pandemic, I just love to walk into the wrestling room. It’s my safe place, where all I think about is a sport I love and the great teammates and coaches I have.”

Aumua hopes to earn her first state berth in Saturday’s sectional along with several other area girls wrestlers.

Blue Springs South (3), Blue Springs (1) and Lee’s Summit North (1) wrestlers will join her at Harrisonville. Blue Springs will send 122-pound District 6 champion Mady Banker and South’s contingent includes 107-pound District 6 champion Gabby Hampton.

Fort Osage takes five wrestlers to the Sectional 4 girls tournament at Platte County High School in Platte City, including District 7 151-pound champion Haley Ward, whom Aumua could see in the state tournament if both advance. William Chrisman will send three, including 235-pound District 7 champion Kiara Boldridge, and Van Horn has one.