By Michael Buhler
Lyric Gonsalves not only was part of history in last month, but she also made history herself.
Gonsalves won a State championship at 145 pounds at the first-ever Kansas State girls wrestling championships on Feb. 11 in McPherson – a historic achievement for the Clearwater junior.
“I’m very proud of my accomplishment, but I still feel I have more room for improvement,” Gonsalves said. “I’m so glad that girls wrestling is starting to catch fire. My hopes are that we increase the number of girl wrestlers at the high school level and continue to push for it to be a sanctioned sport in the state of Kansas soon.”
To top it all off, Gonsalves was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the girls State tournament.
“Winning the Outstanding Wrestler award was pretty heart-lifting,” Gonsalves said. “I love this sport and I put in a lot of hours and hard work. Being recognized for my efforts for doing what I love is an incredible feeling.”
Clearwater wrestling coach Guy Johnson has coached Gonsalves throughout her high school career.
“It is exciting to have a participant that is not only involved but highly successful,” Johnson said. “I am happy for her, and it was great to see her succeed. Being named outstanding wrestler at McPherson was an honor for her.”
Gonsalves started wrestling nine years ago and got interested in the sport through her younger brother.
“My younger brother was actually in the sport before I was and I always went to his tournaments,” Gonsalves said. “They seemed pretty fun so I wanted to give it a try. After that year, it just stuck with me and I’ve loved it ever since then. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my family, my coaches, and all the people in my life that have supported me.”
Like Gonsalves, Johnson is excited for the growth of girls wrestling.
“It is a new arena for wrestling,” Johnson said. “Watching the sport grow and transform over the years has been interesting. Just when you think you have a grasp on the changes something occurs that you never expected. The growth of the girls’ involvement has just exploded in recent years.”
Gonsalves almost qualified for the Class 4A State tournament last weekend, but fell short when an injury knocked her out of the final elimination match, one win short of a chance at another State title. However, she will get one more chance to do so when she returns for her senior year.
“I plan on wrestling at the collegiate level, but I am still uncertain where I want to go,” Gonsalves said. “There are not very many colleges close to home that have girls wrestling programs.”