Just a few short days ago, Galesburg High School sophomore Annalisa Gibbons made school history as the first female wrestler to qualify for the IHSA Girls' Wrestling State Tournament. This is a remarkable accomplishment for her first year as a high school wrestler. She joins a team that includes three other female wrestlers.
Annalisa, who also participates in cheerleading and softball, said it was during her Advanced Sports Training Physical Education class that she first considered pursuing the high school wrestling program. According to Annalisa, "It was something that sounded interesting to me, so I decided to give it a try."
In the beginning, Annalisa wasn't sure how she would be received by her fellow wrestlers, but as it turns out, she felt welcome and supported from day one when she attended her first open gym. "Everyone thinks it would be hard to wrestle guys and people think they would be mean, but actually they are supportive and really helpful."
Annalisa is hopeful that her trip to the state tournament will inspire more girls to go out for wrestling and inspire girls to pursue things that they might think are only for boys to participate in. "You should go and try it. It takes a lot of discipline. It is hard mentally and physically but for my team, we are a family and everyone is there to help and support you."
Annalisa credits part of her season's success to mentally preparing before each match. She thinks and plans how she will set up her shots, and even though every match is different, she tries not to beat herself up too badly if she doesn't have the outcome she plans for, "I prepare myself to win and lose, but the goal is to win. I look for the positive in every match."
We would like to wish Annalisa the best of luck as she travels to the Grossinger Motors Arena on Friday, February 24 to compete in the IHSA State Final Tournament.