LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A local high school celebrates another state wrestling championship.
It was a pinfall that also marked history.
From a distance, it might have looked like another high school wrestling tournament, but on Monday the gymnasium at Harrison County Middle School was filled with female wrestlers.
Whether it was the ups and downs of COVID-19 or the wrestling boys, they had all been fighting for championship matches.
“I was a little nervous because I had already watched her match against the girl and she was throwing a lot of things that I’m not good at coming out of,” said two-time state wrestling champion Gabby Wilson.
Wilson is a sophomore at Fern Creek and has a baby face and sweet demeanor, but on the mat she is tenacious.
“In the end, I had it in the bag,” Gabby said. “I just needed to go out there and do it.”
On Monday, Gabby won her second state wrestling championship.
“I was like, I just did that again,” Gabby said. “Like, all the emotions that came last year were back in me.”
“I cringe every time I watch my videos,” said Dr. Jai Wilson, vice-principal at Fern Creek High School. “I tell people it’s literally an out of body experience.”
Dr. Wilson is not only an assistant manager at Fern Creek, but she is also Gabby’s mother and very vocal during games.
“I don’t think she hears a word of it. That’s it for me,” Dr. Wilson said.
“I’ll just be honest, I don’t hear anything when I’m wrestling,” Gabby said. “I can only hear my thoughts when I’m struggling.”
“I kept saying to Gabby, ‘Hey, you’re Gabby Lee,'” said Coach Kohl Dodd, head wrestling coach at Fern Creek High School.
Coach Dodd is one of the voices Gabby hears.
“I was totally confident – like I told my assistant – she’ll pin it in 30 seconds and she ended up pinning it in 40,” Coach Dodd said.
Gabby’s twin brother is also a star wrestler and her father is a former trainer. That’s why every once in a while the living room floor is the practice mat, but she appreciates Coach Dodd because before helping Gabby and her teammates, he helped hang one of the championship banners that line the walls at Fern Creek.
“I won a state title in 2015,” Coach Dodd said. “And I knew coaching impacted lives, right? That was what I wanted to do.”
And for the past two years, the coach and history teacher has made an impact on classroom life and on the wrestling mat. The coach credits Gabby with attracting other women to the sport.
“Last year she was the only girl on the wrestling team,” Coach Dobb said. “This year, she’s been kind of a standout for us, hasn’t she? Like the one who got the girls to come out and participate. So that’s huge because the girls’ wrestling is growing. is like one of the fastest growing sports in the nation and Gabby is one of them.”
Dr. Wilson pointed out that some of Gabby’s new teammates are also part of this growth.
“Yeah, we had five to report. And all of them did a great job,” Dr. Wilson said. “Lexi Garcia, one of our seniors, freshman wrestler, came in fourth out of 14, that’s huge. So hopefully they keep growing and next year we hope to have ten.”
The boys will try to drive home another state championship banner this weekend and Gabby says she’ll be there to cheer them on, just like they were there for her on Monday.
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