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The Glen Bard

The Glen Bard

Alycia Perez Makes Girls Wrestling History

Photos Courtesy of Glenbard West Athletics

On February 24th, senior Alycia Perez won the 2024 IHSA Wrestling final, becoming West’s first Girls State Champion.   

Both Alycia and junior Valentina Fantoni (as an alternate) traveled to Bloomington, IL for the tournament. From there, Alycia grappled against girls according to their bracket placement. If wrestlers continue winning, they advance to the winners bracket. If they lose, they go to the third place bracket. If they lose twice, they’re out. So, in order to win the championship, it is essential to go undefeated, which Alycia managed to do, maintaining a perfect 35-0 record. 

She remembers feeling “nervous because I knew that this was leading up to something big and each match I got closer to the State Finals Match, it got harder and harder.” But, she managed to channel all of that energy into a spectacular and speedy final bout, where she defeated West Aurora’s Kameyah Young 1-0 in the 100-pound division. 

It cannot be understated how much work led to that final moment. First, there is Regionals (which is determined by geographic location). The top six competitors of each tournament proceed to their Sectional (which is composed of two Regional groups). From there, only the top four of each Sectional are guaranteed a spot at State. However, if an individual places in the top six, they would be considered an alternate. These wrestlers may enter the tournament based on injuries and other circumstances. In the past, Alycia had made it to the “Blood Round” (consolation in Sectionals), but never to State. However, this year, she continued her drive and never lost a bit of confidence in rounds. 

In order to reach her ambitions this season, Alycia explains that “it was a lot of the training leading up to Regionals and Sectionals that pushed me to be able to qualify for State.” She gave so many thanks to her team for helping to foster an amazing experience and said that “everyone was super nice and we were such a close knit group of girls that it made every meet and every tournament really fun to be in and be around. So, the environment was really good.”

Alycia admits that her favorite moment of the tournament was when Valentina made it into the competition as an alternate. She remembers “being next to my coach like: ‘she’s gonna get in, she’s gonna get in.’”

Her coach, Mr. Guevara, praises Alycia’s hard work and contribution to the wrestling program, which has only been running for two years as an IHSA sanctioned sport. With little to no experience, she was part of the first group of girls that joined the group. Guevara says: “Alycia’s work ethic and competitive drive is really what we are all about at Glenbard West. We want our girls to train hard and to work hard and that is going to be a success.” 

Alycia remembers why she decided to join the program: “it was because of Glenbard West. They started a girls team three years ago and all my siblings wrestled. My brother wrestled at Glenbard West, so he was in school when I was in school. And, I was like, I might as well give it a try. And then I was like, I’m gonna stay.” 

She recommends that anyone interested in wrestling pursue it. “You just gotta do it. Most of the time, girls really really like it. It’s such a growing sport, it’s just getting bigger and bigger.” 

Photos Courtesy of Glenbard West Athletics, The Daily Herald
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About the Contributor
Blake Noble
Blake loves writing about sports, local events, and entertainment. Outside of school, they are a member of the Forensics team, enjoy playing lacrosse, and love listening to music.