Plano West Varsity Wresting Coming off Stellar Season

Noah Karesh, Staff Writer

As the wrestling season comes to an end, the team has had one of its most successful seasons in team history. The team finished 4th place out of all schools at the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) State 6A Championship tournament and had an individual State and National champion, senior Ashley Lekas. Lekas finished the regular season with a record of 34-1 overall suffering only one defeat to Northwest Nelson’s Kaylynn Albrecht. However, after defeating her opponents in the opening rounds of the State tournament, Lekas earned the opportunity to take on Albrecht once again in the finals. This time Lekas capitalized on the matchup and defeated Albrecht.

In order to prepare for her second matchup with Albrecht, Lekas decided to make some adjustments to her preparation strategies.

“Wrestling is such a complex sport in the way that it requires you to be athletic, strong have endurance, flexibility, speed, intensity, thinking fast and creatively, as well as being able to understand position,” Lekas said. “Changing my mentality and approaching the match with confidence was the key to defeating Kaylynn.”

Although Lekas was defeated by Albrecht earlier in the season, she made sure she was fully prepared to defeat her at State.

“The moment I found out I would potentially have to wrestle Kaylynn again for the State title I began to feel intimidated,” Lekas said. “However, I made sure to make the days of training count before State and by the day of State I did not feel pressured or nervous at all. Any nerves I might have had were replaced with focus and intensity.”

With the victory over Albrecht, Lekas moved into the number one spot for the 165-pound weight class in the state and to the number two spot in the national rankings. Although she is confident in her ability now, it took time for Lekas to fully gain the confidence she needed to be successful this year.

“Last year my coaches and teammates told me that I had the potential to win State but I did not believe them,” Lekas said. “I told myself at the beginning of the year that in order to do this I had to want it more than everyone and train like a champ every day. It feels great being able to win State and a national championship because it sets the tone for the other State champions to come in the next few years.”