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Nadine Summers, Alexie Westfall bring state championships back to the Region
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Nadine Summers, Alexie Westfall bring state championships back to the Region

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Nadine Summers wasn’t supposed to be on top of that podium.

The Lowell senior started wrestling competitively as a junior but missed most of the season to a broken foot. She’s so new to the sport that she doesn’t even know what to call some of the moves she makes.

Now, Summers has a state title after pinning Penn’s Grace Selis in the third period of the 132-pound final match at the fifth-annual Indiana High School Girls Wrestling state championships Saturday at Hamilton Heights.

“I didn’t even know that there was a girls tournament,” Summers said. “At state, when they announced us under the spotlight, it was definitely exciting but it made me a little nervous because it’s so much attention. It was just an awesome experience.”

Crown Point senior Alexie Westfall is the area’s other state champion. In contrast to Summers, Westfall is a seasoned wrestler who’d already won a 120-pound title as a sophomore, finished sixth last year and third in 2018.

Westfall pinned Greenfield senior Kylie Smith-Foster only 23 seconds into the 98-pound final. She earned first-minute pins in all three of her matches.

“It felt like there was a lot more pressure the second time around. It was more of a relief. It felt like it was worth a lot more this time,” Westfall said. “It didn't fully hit me until I was up on the podium. It was crazy, like ‘Oh my, this actually happened and everybody’s looking at me.’ It was very nice.”

The drop to 98 pounds wasn’t exactly a conscious decision. Westfall said she usually adds about 10 pounds during the offseason, but quarantine gave her extra time to spend working out. She also put more thought into what she was eating.

“I really wanted a six-pack. I’ve been dying to have a six pack for like four years,” Westfall said. “I finally had the time to get one.”

She’ll take those abs to Indiana Tech, where she’ll wrestle at 101 or 109 pounds for the Warriors and major in graphic design. Westfall isn’t sure she’ll wrestle beyond college but doesn’t want to leave the sport entirely. She likes the idea of doing graphic design and photography for a women’s program.

“I think staying in the sport somehow, either coaching and doing camps or aiding in graphic design, I think that would be cool,” Westfall said.

Where Westfall’s already planning her exit, Summers feels like she’s just getting started on the mat.

Until recently, success for her was as simple as not being pinned. She wrestled her first girl during a junior varsity match this season. A quick pin opened up a new world.

The IHSGW regional was her first all-girls tournament. She won three matches to take the top spot.

“I didn’t really have any self confidence because I’m so used to going against the boys. I never really won against the boys,” Summers said. “Regionals, that gave me a huge boost of confidence. I told myself I was going to go and try my best to win state.”

Selis had a big bio during spotlight introductions. She’d been to state before and was reportedly the strongest wrestler, pound-for-pound, on a Penn roster that won the first four team state championships.

Summers had already pinned Selis in the regional final.

“We noticed that I kind of wore her out in regionals, I gassed her. I had more stamina,” Summers said. “That’s what we were going for, just to wear her out and then take a shot and pin her. That’s what I did.”

The Region sent six other wrestlers to Hamilton Heights.

Calumet junior Angelina Stankus lost 3-0 to Attica’s Shae Meador in the 250-pound championship match. Lake Central’s Elly Janovsky was second at 152, while Anilu Lule was eighth at 138. Illiana Christian 113-pounder Faith Vanderlaan finished fifth. Hanover Central’s Skylar Iverson was eighth at 120. Taylor Higley of LaPorte was seventh at 126.

Gallery: 50 famous Region athletes

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