April 21, 2024

Lucea Wales has sights set on state tournament

Photo by Tammie Olson Photography Lucea Wales became the first girl in the history of the WCA/A/BE wrestling program by holding a record of 13-4 on the season.

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!

Sam Peterson

Grant County Herald

In the third year of the Minnesota State High School League sanctioning girls wrestling, the West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville Knights have their first entrant in the MSHSL girls wrestling state tournament. In her second year of varsity wrestling, senior Lucea Wales qualified for the state tournament.

The Wales family has wrestling in their DNA, with her twin brother Solomon one of the better wrestlers for the boys. Lucea started wrestling as a young kid with her brother. When she got a little older, she started competing in gymnastics, but decided to go back to wrestling last season.

According to Lucea, she was able to pick up wrestling pretty quickly when she jumped back in the sport. Her family really helped her get back into wrestling including her brother and father Daniel Wales. “They are more supportive and know what it’s like on the mat,” Lucea said.

Last season, she had a chance to punch her ticket to state, but finished third in sections, missing state by just one spot. 

That heartbreaking loss provided her with motivation to make sure she would be able to qualify in her final season on the mat. Lucea has always been very athletic, scrambling and able to think on her feet, but this year she improved on the bottom with her escapes. “She was just one spot away, so state was a very realistic goal for her this year,” head coach Brandon Gruchow said. 

Going into the section tournament this season, Wales was the second seed and finished in second place to qualify for state. “I was really happy. I figured I had a good chance and was confident going in,” Wales said.

At state, she has no specific goals, but she wants to wrestle smart in each of her matchups and try to win as many matches as she can. 

According to head coach Brandon Gruchow, the girls and boys all practice together. Lucea has been busy sharpening her skills at practice and even competes with some of the boys on the team. “Wrestling with the guys helps a lot because it makes wrestling with the girls a lot easier,” Wales said.

Wales will travel to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul from Feb. 29 through March 2 for the Class A individual Minnesota state wrestling tournament. As the first girl to wear the WCA/A/BE singlet at state, Wales still has a goal to have a great showing in her final high school wrestling competition.

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!