A growing sports program: 6 Albert Lea female wrestlers make it to state tournaments this year
Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023
The Albert Lea girls’ wrestling program is gaining traction with six female wrestlers advancing to the tournaments for their respective ages in the youth program, up through middle school and high school.
The following are highlights of the six girls who saw the success:
Maggie Olson, eighth grade, Albert Lea High School
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Parents: Reid and Sarah Olson
Maggie has been wrestling for nine years. Her favorite tournament this year was participating in the MSHSL State Tournament where she placed fourth. She took part in the Schoolgirl Duals last summer in Tulsa, Oklahoma and went undefeated.
She says that her accomplishments are fulfilling.
“Obtaining goals makes all the time and effort preparing for it worth it,” she said.
When asked why she likes the sport of wrestling she noted that she loves that it can be both an individual and team sport.
Maggie also participates in soccer and softball.
What advice would she give anyone interested in wrestling: “Do it! The lessons you learn in wrestling will last a lifetime, both on and off the mat!”
Micaiah Lenway, sixth grade, Southwest Middle School
Parents: Andy and Kayla Lenway
Michaiah has been wrestling for four years. Her favorite tournament this year was in Lake Mills. She loves wrestling because it is competitive, fun and difficult. Micaiah placed third at state. She notes that her accomplishments make her feel good and make her happy.
What advice would she give anyone interested in wrestling: “It’s a fun experience, and you’ll make a lot of friends!”
Laila Ignaszewski, fourth grade, Alden-Conger
Parents: Josh and Leslie Iganszewski
Laila has been wrestling for 1 1/2 years. Her favorite tournament that she attended was “the Brawl” in St. Michael-Albertville. Her favorite accomplishment was her first time pinning a boy — it gave her more confidence! When asked what she likes most about wrestling, she said “It teaches you discipline and hard work.” Laila also participates in softball.
What advice would she give anyone interested in wrestling: “Train hard and try your best!”
Athena Hable, third grade, Hawthorne Elementary
Parents: Chris and Sanya Hable
Athena has been wrestling for three years. Her favorite tournament to participate in this year was the state tournament. She has also really enjoyed winning “the Belt” at Midwest Nationals. In the past she was a “triple crown” winner, which means she won the state tournament in all three styles of wrestling (folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman). She says her successes make her extremely happy. She also participates in gymnastics.
What advice would she give for anyone interested in wrestling: “Stay confident and try your best. If you need help just ask!”
Sophia Lares, first grade, St. Theodore Catholic School
Parents: Benjamin and Amanda Lares
This was Sophia’s first year wrestling. Her favorite tournament was an all-girls invitational. When asked what her best accomplishments were, she said, “learning to fight hard. It made me feel happy once I figured it out.” She likes the sport because she thinks it’s fun. She’s also interested in gymnastics, volleyball and soccer.
What advice would she give anyone interested in wrestling: “Do your best!”
Brynley Kirsch-Bolinger, first grade, St. Theodore Catholic School
Parents: Katie Kirsch and Cody Bolinger
This was Brynley’s second year wrestling. Her favorite tournament this year was the Corey Goodnature Memorial tournament, where she got first place! Her best accomplishment was when she got third place at state this year. When asked why she likes the sport of wrestling she said, “Because you get the chance of winning. And because I like to see my friends!”
Brynley also participates in baseball, gymnastics, dance, cheer and Girl Scouts.
What advice does she have for anyone interested in wrestling: “Work hard and try your best!”