WAVERLY (KWWL) — On Saturday, Ali Gerbracht made history.
“I was really nervous,” says Gerbracht, “There were some nights I didn’t get sleep because I was thinking about it.”
The AGWSR junior defeated Bettendorf’s Ella Schmit at 106 pounds 4-3 to become the first Iowa Girls State Tournament champion in history.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that’s what it actually is, a state championship,” she says, “This is the big deal this time. I’m sure it will hit me later.”
A huge crowd at Waverly-Shell Rock saw more than 100 compete for 10 titles. Some were decided quickly. Waverly-Shell Rock’s Avery Meier , Nashua Plainfield’s Toyia Griffin, and Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Chloe Clemons all won by fall.
For WSR’s Annika Behrends, an escape made the difference in a last second victory.
“I was super tired, but I knew if I kept going something great would come out of it,” says the 132 pound champion.
Behrends relished the win, but maybe even more so the opportunity, and she believes it will lead to big things for girls wrestling in Iowa.
“I think there will be a lot more people. For example our school, not a lot of people were about trying it,” she says, “but next year I’ve heard a whole bunch of people say they want to go out.”
And as for Gerbracht, the first to stand on top of the podium, the best part was leaping in to the arms of her dad and head coach –
“I knew that’s what I always wanted to do ever since I started going to the state tournament watching all my dad’s high school wrestling. It’s just such a cool experience to be able to do that myself.”