Athlete of the Issue: Lily Powell


Powell stands with her hand in the air after beating an opponent.

Stephanie Eager, Centerspread Editor

   Lily Powell is a sophomore at Gulf Breeze High School and one of the few female wrestlers on our campus. This year she is competing in the 115 lb. weight class with a record of 12 wins and 1loss and still has more to come. This season is the first of which women’s wrestling has been sanctioned in Florida. With this in mind, Powell is taking it in a stride on her journey to state. 

   While Powell’s season is still ongoing with the lead-up to state, she wants to continue encouraging other women to take on the sport of wrestling. In an interview, she said, “[Girls], do not be afraid to start. It is one of the hardest, but you will not regret it.”  Powell has two years of experience in wrestling, where she first began in Tennessee and continues to grow as a competitor, now in Florida. As a former teammate of Powell, I watched her grow through the seasons and continue defying the odds against her. As a woman in wrestling, you start your years only training against boys and hoping to eventually wrestle a girl, even if you must jump around in weight classes. Hopefully, the new sanctioning of female wrestling will further encourage girls like Powell to try something new and hopefully fall in love with the sport the way she has. 

   Since her first year in high school, Powell has dedicated countless hours to cutting weight and wrestling off against her teammates to earn the varsity spot on the boys’ team. In Powell’s time at Gulf Breeze, she hopes to encourage other girls to wrestle, eventually have a full women’s wrestling team, and share some of her favorite memories from events like districts, regionals, and states with them. One of Powell’s favorite memories of this season was from one of her most challenging matches. In the second period of her match against another girl, she was down in points 7-2 with only one period remaining. Within the last 10 seconds of the third and final round of the match, Powell not only came back to win the match but also pinned the girl earning the highest points for her team. 

   As Powell finishes her season, we see her as the Athlete of the Issue to encourage other girls to put themselves out there, try new things, and reward her for sticking true through the complex parts. Wrestling is one of the most challenging sports to compete in, but it will never stop you from pushing yourself and rewarding your efforts when work pays off.