When Presley Beard's arm was raised as the victor, she turned around with a blank expression on her face.
She'd expected to win.
Beard, a 6-year-old Wichita native, won the USA Wrestling Kids/Vets Folkstyle national tournament at the 43-pound division on Saturday. She is about 13 months into the sport, and she defeated countless boys to get there.
In the process, she added to the conversation about girls wrestling.
Girls are allowed to wrestle in Kansas high school competitions, said J. Means, Wichita City League athletic director. Means said opening wrestling as a coed sport helps fulfill Title IX requirements that call for equal opportunities for boys and girls.
In the City League, there are 11 distinct boys sports, including wrestling. For the girls, there are 10, excluding wrestling. But female wrestlers in Wichita have competed against boys before. One is currently competing for West High.
Their numbers are few, but they are growing — so much so that the Kansas State High School Activities Association has received a proposal to add a girls state wrestling tournament to its postseason lineup. The Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association and McPherson athletic director Shane Backhus have brought the proposal to the table.
The KSHSAA Board of Directors will vote on the proposal at its meeting April 27-28 in Topeka.
Participation in girls wrestling has seen a 211 percent increase since 2017, according to the proposal.
Beard is not one of those high school wrestlers, not yet, but she probably will be eventually. And by the time she gets to high school, it's likely that girls wrestling will be its own sport.
Beard's mother, Tristyn Macy, said her daughter doesn't understand the magnitude of her victory or participation in the tournament, but she will one day — even if she is competing against other girls by then.
"If it was just girls, there are gonna be a lot more that are a lot more willing to step in and try," Macy said. "'If it's me and a girl doing this, OK. But if it's me and a boy, no, I'm not even gonna try.'
"Girls need the same lessons that wrestling brings: respect, pride, learning to work hard for something, learning to take a loss from another woman."
Girls wrestling also involves some stigmas: the fear of potential indecency, for instance, and the challenging of classic gender roles, particularly when girls wrestle boys.
If a boy beats a girl, well, he was supposed to. And if he loses, "He got beat by a girl," Means said. It's an age-old barrier, but Macy said she has received positive feedback through Beard's success.
Macy said her daughter's competitions sometimes feel like a UFC match. After a competitor wins, he or she walks back through the tunnel and slaps hands with everybody in line.
That certainly isn't always the case. Only 10 states recognized girls wrestling as an individual sport as of March 2018. Even in Texas, one of the states that has sanctioned girls wrestling, Mack Beggs, a transgender wrestler, was booed after winning a second straight state championship.
Controversy has occurred in Kansas, too. A wrestler at St. James Academy entered the state tournament as the No. 1 seed as a freshman. He drew a girl as an opponent in the first round, and the school forced him to forfeit. He went on to win three straight state championships.
Macy said that is outlandish.
"If that's the reasoning, then their minds are too simple, to me," she said. "That's not what we're doing. We're combating each other, and if your mind goes immediately to that, get your mind out of the gutter."
Beard does not struggle with focus.
She competes for Wichita's Team of Hard Knox under club director Charles Knox. He said that when he works with Beard, she will push herself to tears. He doesn't make her keep going; she does it on her own, he said.
Beard is shy. She uttered a total of three words during a recent interview, only one of which was audible. She doesn't smile when she wins, and she doesn't smile for victory photos.
"'That's just my thing,'" Macy said her daughter told her.
When Knox started the program, he was only looking for boys. But when his son took over, he proposed adding girls to the roster. Beard was one of the first.
"I thought, 'Can girls handle this? Can girls do what we do?' " Knox said. "And Presley is the perfect example that they can."
Knox said Beard represents the growth of girls wrestling. She breaks lingering gender barriers. Beard often wrestles against 8-year-old boys. She trains with boys. She beats boys, but she is "still a girl," Macy said.
She wears dresses and heels to events while the boys wear suits, and after she won the national championship, she told Macy all she wanted was a new doll.
Beard is outstanding, but she is not alone. Significant strides have been made in girls wrestling throughout the United States. A teenage girl from California has won multiple national championships, and just last year, Helen Maroulis, from Maryland, won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Macy said she has asked Beard whether she would rather wrestle boys or girls. Beard said boys, because they are harder, Macy said.
Macy hasn't thought about whether she will have a choice by the time Beard gets to high school, but after winning a national championship in just 13 months of training, both are thinking bigger than that, anyway.
"She wants to be the best of everybody," Macy said. "I hope they don't draw a line. I want to see the sport grow, but she wants to be the best of the best."