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FEMALE GRAPPLER

Hoisington has girl on varsity wrestling team

POSTED December 20, 2011 11:24 p.m.
Hugo Gonzalez Great Bend Tribune/

Hoisington’s Lexi Sanders competes in the 126...

HOISINGTON — Freshman Lexi Sanders is not your average teenager.
She attends her classes at Hoisington High School. She is active in the Crimson Girls dance team, the Cardinal Crew and on the youth council at St. John’s, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Hoisington.
She also competes as part of the Cardinals varsity wrestling squad.
“Usually people don’t know what to think because there are not a whole lot of girl wrestlers out there,” Sanders said. “Especially none that keep going throughout high school and stuff. Once they see a girl out wrestling, you get some looks.”
Sanders has been wrestling since she was four years old. She grew up in a wrestling family.
Her two older brothers wrestled. Zane, who graduated from Hoisington, qualified for the Class 3A state tournament, and Zach, who is a junior this season and has been sidelined by a concussion, qualified for the state tournament his freshman year.
“They really motivated me to keep going with it,” she said.
Her younger brother Zade wrestles at the junior high, and her two younger sisters, Cheyanne and Bailey, dabbled in wrestling for a while, but have decided to focus on volleyball.
Lexi wrestles in the 126-pound weight class. Sanders is 3-8 thus far in her freshman campaign.
“She’s a great technician,” Hoisington head wrestling coach Dan Schmidt said. “Making the team is tough to do for any freshman. She does a nice job for us. It’s nice to have her on our team.”
Schmidt said that wrestling in the 126 class has proven more difficult for a freshman.
“When you start to get up into the middle weights, you’re going to start seeing more juniors and seniors,” Schmidt said. “I think 126 is right about where the line is for that. It is not an easy weight class for a freshman.”
Lexi said that being technically sound is important for her.
“Being a girl, you don’t have a lot of strength, so you got to look towards technique,” Sanders said. “You can’t really make mistakes. If they catch me in a mistake, they can just overpower me. You just got to work on technique a lot.”
The rules don’t change, either.
“The rules that she has to wrestle under are the same rules that the guys do,” Schmidt said. “This is the same sport that the guys are doing. It’s hard because if you have a volleyball team with a man on the team, you have to raise the net, but nothing changes in wrestling.”
Sanders said that her opponents don’t take it easy on her.
“Well, you got to know that you’re always going to get their best match,” she said. “I mean, they are not going to get out there and try to lose to a girl, so you’re always going to get their best match.
“It helps me get better, knowing that I am wrestling against someone who is trying their hardest.”
She also plays volleyball in the fall and plans to go out for the track and field team in the spring. She said that she plans to run the 400-meter dash, as well as compete in the hurdles and the pole vault.
In junior high, Lexi was the starting outside linebacker for the football team.
Sanders said that she is looking at the possibility of wrestling at the next level.
“I think this is something that I want to keep going on, maybe go to college for,” Sanders said. “I want to keep going with it.”
She said she hopes to make the state tournament by the end of her high school career.
“Probably not going to get there this year, but hopefully by my junior or senior year, I can get there,” Sanders said. “I just want to work as hard as I can. Maybe get a scholarship to college, and make it to the state tournament.”
So why does she do all of this?
“I just love that you have to be independent for yourself,” Sanders said. “It’s a team sport, but if you make a mistake, you don’t get to rely on anyone else.”


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