Show Me Spotlight: Palmyra’s Lorenson ready to chase state wrestling championship

Elly Lorenson

Palmyra's Elly Lorenson, top, heads to the Missouri Class 1 girls wrestling state tournament chasing a title at 170 pounds after finishing second last season at 145 pounds. | Muddy River Sports file photo

PALMYRA, Mo. — Elly Lorenson has no quit in her.

The field assembled for this week’s Missouri Class 1 girls state wrestling tournament better realize that.

The Palmyra junior is making her third consecutive state appearance beginning Wednesday at Mizzou Arena, having won a district championship at 170 pounds. It is her second district title — she won as a freshman and took second last season — and she carries a 41-1 record to state.

She’s done it all with a balky knee that may eventually require surgery.

For now, the 10-day break between the district tournament and the state tournament gave her time to rest and put the focus on the task at hand.

“Winning the championship is really all that is on my mind right now,” said Lorenson, who finished second at 145 pounds last season.

She suffered a torn medial collateral ligament and a strained anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee as a freshman. Physical therapy and a brace have allowed her to recover and continue wrestling, but she admits the knee still bothers her at times.

“This year, i’ve learned to work with it more,” she said. “I’ve learned what I can and can’t do without hurting it. So it’s not as bad this year. I have a new brace that has helped with the compression and the comfort.”

And it’s the furthest thing from her mind on the mat.

“At practice, I think about it some,” Lorenson said. “When it comes to tournaments, I don’t think about it at all.”

That’s because her focus and her commitment never wane.

Lorenson recently chatted with Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman to talk about the state tournament, her wrestling career and life away from the mat for this Show Me Spotlight, brought to you by Sleep Tight.

Q: What does it mean to you to be returning to the state tournament?

A: This year it’s a little different. My opponents from the past have all moved to different weight classes, so I don’t really know what to expect going into it. But I’m excited.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced trying to get back to the state tournament?

A: I’ve had a few really tough opponents and battling through knee injuries, but other than that, there weren’t too many challenges .

Q: What got you started wrestling?

A: Honestly, my brothers (three and four years younger than Lorenson) started wrestling when I was in sixth grade. I thought they were really cool because they were wrestling, so I started a few weeks after them.

Q: Do you wrestle around with them?

A: Just for fun, but they’re a lot lighter than me, so we don’t do too much.

Q: Are they as tough as you?

A: They think they are.

Q: Once you started wrestling, what made you want to stick with it?

A: It’s more of a family than anything. Even from a young age, all the girls are together. I’ve always been the oldest girl on the team, so all of the younger girls come to me to talk about wrestling. I like being a role model to all of them.

Q: Do you remember your first victory?

A: It was an exhibition match. It was at the Hannibal youth tournament (in sixth grade). I wrestled this girl who I think was 15 pounds more than me, but her coach asked if we wanted to have an exhibition match for fun. I beat her and I was so excited. I remember when they raised my hand and I was so excited.

Q: Do you still get the same thrill out of winning?

A: Depending on the opponent, yes. I’ve had some really tough opponents this year, and winning still feels just as exciting as it did my first match.

Q: What makes you a good wrestler?

A: I really believe it’s my drive, and I want to be an inspiration to other wrestlers. That’s what pushes me the hardest.

Q: Did you play other sports before you took up wrestling?

A: I played softball ever since I was probably 5 years old. After I hurt my knee freshman year, I quit playing softball.

Q: Has wrestling become a year-round event for you?

A: I try to do as much as I can throughout the summer. I also like to work, so I try to balance wrestling and work and having a life with my family as well.

Q: Where do you work?

A: It’s called B Creative Nutrition, it’s a drink place in Palmyra. It’s amazing. I love all of my co-workers. Everyone is so nice, and all of the customers that come in are so great. It’s always a happy place to go to.

Q: How much do you concentrate on the nutrition side of wrestling?

A: This year especially, I have really tried to watch what I eat and I drink way more water than I ever have.

Q: Have you noticed a difference in your ability to wrestler because of it?

A: Especially with drinking more water, I see it. It’s so important with wrestling because of how hard we work our bodies.

Q: It led to another district title this season. What did that mean to you?

A: I always love to see my dad’s face. After every match, he’s always so happy for me. He’s one of my biggest fans. We also have first-year coaches, so it was exciting to be able to win districts and see how they reacted to that.

Q: How much have the new coaches (Dalton Huffman and Isaac Williamson) helped you progress?

A: These are honestly the best set of coaches I have ever had. They push us harder than we’ve ever been pushed and I look up to them so much.

Q: Outside of wrestling and work, what do you do for fun?

A: I spend a lot of time with friends and family. I love reading. I read a lot. During wrestling season, I don’t have too much time to do other things.

Q: What do you like to read?

A: I really like poetry, but I’ll read just about anything. I don’t like sci-fi and history, but I’ll read pretty much anything else.

Q: Do you have a favorite author?

A: My favorite author is John Green. I love his books. I like the way he writes and how easy they are to understand for me. I would recommend him.

Q: Do you have a favorite school subject or teacher?

A: I’ve always loved math. I’d say math and science are my favorite.

Q: Could a profession revolving around math be in your future?

A: Actually, I’m planning on becoming an elementary school teacher, so I will cover all of that.

Q: What made you interested in becoming a teacher?

A: It’s my love for kids. I like being known as an inspiration to people, so hopefully I can do that.

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