August 14, 2022

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State wrestling: Women event gives nice alternative. ‘Everyone ought to have the possibility to do it as soon as of their life’

Elsie Olson had by no means even been to the Xcel Vitality Middle previous to this weekend’s state wrestling event. So think about her feelings as she walked by way of the tunnels of the world flooring and out onto the mats for her 185-pound state semifinal Saturday.

“It was somewhat bit overwhelming going by way of the tunnel, seeing all of the folks,” Olson mentioned, “however I feel all people ought to have the possibility to do it as soon as of their life.”

That’s what the state event is meant to really feel like. That strain, that environment, it’s all a part of the expertise athletes push themselves all 12 months to earn.

That’s what made Saturday so particular for the 40-plus women who participated within the first-ever Minnesota State Excessive College League women wrestling state event on the X after the game was sanctioned by the MSHSL, which ran concurrently with the boys event.

“There’s all the time been like a state, nevertheless it’s been separate from boys, it’s labored in another way and it’s been simply at a highschool or one thing,” mentioned Eastview sophomore Riley Myers, who gained Saturday evening’s 138-pound last. “So now having it with the boys on the X, it’s actually cool to see, as a result of it’s form of prefer it’s changing into equal to boys wrestling, versus like making an attempt to construct as much as that time.”

On Saturday, the game formally arrived.

“It was nice,” mentioned Simley seventh grader Charli Raymond, who gained the primary official title at 100 kilos. “Wouldn’t have it at another place. It was superior. All of the followers. It’s only a nice atmosphere.”

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And having the year-end event on the state’s grandest highschool wrestling stage is solely the cherry on high. It’s a fairly good carrot for women to attempt for transferring ahead. Win or lose, merely the expertise is price having.

“Actually, it’s been fairly cool,” Myers mentioned. “I assumed the nerves, it’s arduous with these generally. However if you get on the market, you form of consider the thrilling half greater than the nerve-wracking half.”

Beforehand, women competing within the state wrestling event on the X was reserved for less than the elite of the elite. Emily Shilson is the newest identify that involves thoughts. Lately, she superior by way of part tournaments to get to state within the “boys” event. She’s at present setting the world on fireplace at Augsburg. Reaching her stage merely isn’t an attainable aim for a lot of.

If somewhat lady got here to the X to observe the state event, they may see Shilson. Saturday, the choices had been much more plentiful. Stars had been plentiful, from Hastings’ sophomore Skylar Little Soldier to Stillwater’s Audrey Rogotzke.

“At any time when I first got here right here to observe my older brother, it was my dream (to do the identical),” Raymond mentioned.

This 12 months, they acquired to see women compete for state championships. And, simply perhaps, that can encourage them to do the identical. As she took to the mat Saturday for the 120-pound title match, Rogotzke appeared round and thought “they’re all right here to see me.”

Myers mentioned Saturday will be “a turning level” for the game.

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“It’s fairly nice, actually,” Rogotzke mentioned. “Now that it’s sanctioned, it’s simply going to continue to grow quicker and quicker.”

FOOTBALL TO WRESTLING

Apple Valley sophomore Grace Alagbo gained the 145-pound title Saturday to cap her first 12 months within the sport. Sure, this was her first 12 months wrestling.

Alagbo performs soccer for Apple Valley, and coaches satisfied her to offer wrestling a do that season to make the most of her aggression and power.

She took to it instantly.

“I began realizing I preferred it after we’d observe and I spotted nothing has ever pushed me this far,” Alagbo mentioned. “As a result of I’ve performed a number of sports activities, however I by no means get the adrenaline that I do at wrestling observe. They actually work you and allow you to know your strengths.”

Additionally on Alagbo’s to-do checklist is to finally earn a beginning position on the soccer group. It appears as if there’s nothing she will’t do.

NERVES? NO PROBLEM

Forest Lake sophomore Aspen Blasko mentioned she’s a nervous wreck “each single time I take into consideration wrestling.” You wouldn’t understand it from watching her carry out.

She gained the 107-pound title Saturday.

“You’ve got (nerves), and then you definately’re like ‘Don’t cry,’” Blasko mentioned. “And then you definately’re like ‘Attempt to be the meanest particular person on the face of the planet.’ However I’m not truly imply.”