Plainfield South High School freshman Alexis “Lexi” Janiak is making a name for herself as a wrestler – not because she is a girl, but rather because she is an up-and-coming mat star.
Janiak, who wrestles at 106 pounds, won first place in her weight class in the 2019 Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association state wrestling meet in March.
Janiak also qualified for sectionals this season in which she wrestled 47 times against boys.
She is the first girl from PSHS and District 202 to win that state title, said Jason Acevedo, PSHS head wrestling coach.
“She is an amazing athlete,” Acevedo said.
Janiak began wrestling in second grade because her younger brother started wrestling a year earlier.
“I’ve always been competitive,” she said. “And I kind of just wanted to be better than him.”
Wrestling has taught her self-discipline and the value of hard work, Janiak said.
Acevedo credits her strong work ethic and passion for wrestling for her success on and off the mat.
“I am amazed with her maturity and work ethic,” he said. “She has some huge goals that I truly believe she’s going to get.”
Those goals include winning a national championship, wrestling in college and competing in the Olympics.
Janiak isn’t bothered by the fact she’s a girl in a male-dominated sport.
“I don’t really look at it any different because I’ve been doing it for so long,” she said.
Her PSHS wrestling teammates accepted her based on her skill and talent, not her gender, Acevedo said.
“When you have your senior leaders accept her, I knew there was going to be no issues,” he said.