Athlete of the week: Lakyn Gatens is just getting started on the mat for the Cavs

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Callaway girls wrestling team is already making waves in its first season as a program. Sophomore Lakyn Gatens is one of the chief reasons why. She became the first girl to place at a tournament in school history when she finished fourth in her weight class for the tournament at Jordan High on Nov. 18.

“It made me feel proud of myself because, with my other sports, I have never been the best at, so to have a sport I can be good at really makes me feel good about myself,” Gatens said. 

Her second tournament appearance did not go as well. Gatens had only one opponent in her weight class. After watching girl after girl compete on the mats, Gatens took the floor and put in a performance that she felt was not up to her standards.

“I felt like I had all the potential to beat the girl, but it was me against me really and I made a few mistakes,” Gatens said. “I saw that we were doing a lot of the same moves and were built a lot alike and ended up messing my focus up.

“I was so angry and so mad at myself and really wanted to go punch a wall afterward because I knew I could do better than that.”

In her first season as a high school wrestler, this loss has served as a learning experience for Gatens. Now, she is determined to not make the same mistakes again.

“It really showed me what I need to fix and what I need to get better at going forward,” Gatens said. “I’ve been drilling even harder. I’ve been working on the mistakes I’ve made and drilling those things down so I don’t make them again.”

Gatens is back working furiously hard on the mats. Her Christmas break is barely a break at all as the team will only have the 22nd and 25th off from practice. Gatens would have it no other way as she has her eyes firmly set on her next competitions on the 27th and 30th of this month.

“I’m really excited for the one of the 30th because it is our only home tournament and I’m ready to compete against some girls in that one because this is our home and we want to protect it,” Gatens said. “It would be a hard feeling to get beat in your own home.”

The Callaway girls wrestling team is really starting to turn into a family. Last week’s competition helped solidify the deal.

“We are always cheering each other on and it was great to see them all compete,” Gatens said. “You really get to learn from watching your teammates and the girls they are going up against.” 

Despite her disappointment with her performance last weekend, Gatens has been satisfied with the progress she has made on the mat since she first got back into the sport a couple of months ago.

“I’m not going to put myself down and say I could have been better in those tournaments even though there was room for improvement,” Gatens said. “I now have experience against different types of wrestlers and moving forward I know how to better prepare myself for those tournaments.”