the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

the voice of Lakes Community High School

Lakes Student Media

Lakes High School’s Girls Wrestlers Make History

With five state qualifiers, this year’s girls wrestling team is arguably the most successful program in the school.
Abby Gedville
Girls Wrestling Media Day

Teenage gals are well known for Instagram photo ops, bad TikTok dances, and paying for overpriced Starbucks drinks and Stanleys. One group of strong ladies here at Lakes Community High School is redefining the stereotypical teenage girl.

After a very successful winter season, five Eagles qualified to represent Lakes at the IHSA State Championships. Ava Babbs, Zaryia “Z” Mouzon, Olivia Heft, Josie Larson, and Haven Sylves will hold down the red, white, and blue in Bloomington at the Grossinger Arena Feb. 23-24.

“I’m extremely proud [of] all the girls,” Sylves said. “Especially me and Z because this is our first year qualifying for the state tournament.”

Their journey really began last year with Babbs and Larson both making it to the state championships and placing 3rd (Babbs) and 5th (Larson). This success really drove the team to strive for the same outcome and return to state.

During her freshman and sophomore year, Heft continued to overwork her shoulder and was forced to sit out her junior season. While continuing to work with her shoulder already injured, she ended up needing surgery. She had to deal with 12 months of recovery and physical therapy. However, by being smart and resting during the healing process, she was able to pull through her dreaded recovery and qualify for state yet again.

In preparation for their upcoming matches, the girls put their all into practices and workouts. They’re making sure to perfect game-winning pins and moves while gaining muscle to give them the upper hand in matches.

Keeping weight while gaining muscle was a struggle for the girls, but in the end, their hard work allowed them to pull through and place where they deserved.

“When I first started [wrestling] I was originally like, around 190. So when I worked out, I just naturally dropped,” Larson said. “This year, it’s been a little bit harder because I’ve started working out, so I gained a lot more muscle mass. So, I now have to drop more of the fat mass that I have.”

Even with the temptation of celebratory ice cream and team dinners, the discipline of these girls is unheard of.

“I will say there are definitely days where I’m like, man, I really want like ice cream to celebrate or whatever it was like, it’s gotta wait,” Heft said. “Gotta keep weight.”

Pushing through the sprints and heavy workouts, the girls have managed to keep weight and wrestle hard. They are constantly having to wrestle girls that have won many of their matches. They don’t know how well these girls can wrestle until the actual match begins. The girls are constantly in their heads thinking about what’s next.

“It’s just very quiet [in my head] and very calm. I’m kind of like thinking like, what can I do next? Like, what’s the next step? What’s the next move I can pull? You know?,” Larson said.

They managed to increase their numbers from three girls going to state to five competing for Lakes.

“It’s awesome,” Babbs said. “Like compared to years prior, and just like seeing this growth with the girls and the team as a whole.”

This accomplishment required many long practices and hard mental stress. “There’s just a lot of stress on our minds and bodies,” Babbs said.

Hard work, dedication, and lots of concentration during matches led these fantastic girls to their state tournament. Even with a bit of doubt, these girls pulled through and qualified.

For Babbs, Heft, and Larson, the experience of competing at state brings back good memories, while Sylves and Mouzon are experiencing this opportunity for the first time in their career. Near the end of her match, the reality of being a state qualifier was beginning to set in for Mouzon.

“Like 10 seconds left in the match and I was already up by five and I was just like, I was like, oh I guess I am good. I guess I am,” Mouzon said. “And I jumped on [coach] and gave him a big hug.”

Next step: Preparing for state

Now that the girls have qualified, they’ve reached the next step. They are pushing themselves more than ever to get their deserved place at state. Long and hard practices of continuous work, completing moves over and over.

“At practice I choose the moves that need the most work, and I work on them over and over until they are close to perfect,” Sylves said.

These girls are working harder than ever, some having this be the last competition for them before they’re off to college. Most of these girls have wrestled two to three years during highschool, and are putting their all into this last competition with two more girls than last year.

“It’s just an amazing accomplishment,” Larson said. “This is the first year that we’ve had over like three girls go. And it’s just amazing.”

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Makenna Hardy
Makenna Hardy, Staff
Makenna is a Senior and this is her first year on staff. In her free time, she enjoys tanning, riding bikes, and making things. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family. Her favorite athlete of all time is Gabby Douglas. 
Abby Gedville
Abby Gedville, Digital Media Director
Abby Gedville is a senior, going into her second year on staff. She enjoys playing sports and taking photos in her free time. Gedville is planning on being a 12 sport athlete by the time she graduates. Her favorite athlete of all time is Marian Hossa.