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Sophomore Lily Steigerwald Becomes First Female District Champion and Heads to State


Sophomore Lily Steigerwald holds up a number one finger, wearing a medal. (Photo submitted)

By Amber Winkler

Six years of jiu jitsu at Gracie Humaita gave way to a new high contact sport for sophomore Lily Steigerwald, but she could never have planned to become the first girl in Francis Howell North’s history to receive the district champion title in wrestling. Now on this path, she doesn’t plan to stop here. 

“There’s a lot of tough things when it comes to wrestling,” Steigerwald said. “It’s very tough mentally and physically. You just have to stay strong through the sport and mainly just have fun, just don’t put so much pressure on yourself.”

She didn’t have much time to prepare for districts after suffering a foot injury shortly before, but Steigerwald was ready to get back on the mat with only one practice and some motivational speeches beforehand. However, that didn’t seem to affect her performance in any significant way. On Feb. 5, Steigerwald won her last match in districts and was named the district champion.

“I don’t know exactly why I was surprised, but I can say she worked hard for it,” freshman varsity wrestler Trystan Blenis said.

The next step on the road to her goal was sectionals, which took place on Feb. 20. After a tough battle, Steigerwald came out with one loss in the semi-finals and ended the day placing third overall. Steigerwald is now a two-time state qualifier, and she is heading that way on March 9.

“The one thing that I really like about it is our team, we act like a family,” Steigerwald said. “We’re so fun and goofy with each other, we’re so comfortable with each other and it’s just amazing how close we’ve all gotten.”

She is preparing for state with the help and support of her coaches, family and friends on the team; whom she believes she wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without. Steigerwald hopes to earn her place at state and her name on the wrestling wall. 

“I just wrestled my heart out and everything just went how I wanted it to go,” Steigerwald said. “It felt amazing, I felt like I accomplished my goal, which I did and I felt very happy about it.”