Female Area Athlete of the Week: Aitkin’s Strohmayer hunting for a state title

Junior Aitkin earns female area athlete of the week

Madelyn Strohmayer
Madelyn Strohmayer

Madelyn Strohmayer is out to prove herself.

The Aitkin junior did just that with a title at 114 pounds in the Pine Island Girls Wrestling Tournament last week.

She found herself down 7-0 in the championship match with Rosemount’s Kamdyn Saulter and came back to win the title with an 8-7 decision.

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Pequot Lakes plays No. 2 seed Albany in the Class 2A State Quarterfinals Tuesday, March 21
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“I think I was pretty confident,” Strohmayer said. “The girl I wrestled in the finals I was down in the third period and I didn’t give up. Usually, I would lose hope a little bit, but I just kept fighting. I got a reversal, a three-point near fall and then with about 10 seconds left I got another three-point near fall.”

The win moved her record to 18-1 for the season. She opened the Pine Island Invite with pins in her first two matches followed by a major decision to put her in the championship match.


“I’ve just been working hard in the wrestling room and it’s paid off,” Strohmayer said. “I think I’ve built my confidence and learned more moves.”

She opened the tournament with a pin of Hastings’ Allison Weinzettel in 2:40. She pinned Bemidji’s Brenalen Fredriksen-Holm in 16 seconds to reach the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Strohmayer earned a 9-1 major decision of South St. Paul’s Gisele Gallegos.

“That was a good tournament with good competition,” Aitkin head coach Larry Liljenquist said. “I will say in general, for girls’ wrestling from last year to this year the quality has gotten quite good already. She is meeting quality competition and that tournament was the biggest in the state of Minnesota — I think there were 260 girls there. Maddie this year has physically gotten strong and can work her way through close matches. Even the match she lost this year, she mentally was able to get stronger as the match went on, which is something I’ve seen from her this year.”

Last season, in the first season of girls’ wrestling through the Minnesota State High School League, Strohmayer finished second in the state tournament at 114.

This season, the state tournament will be expanded from four to eight wrestlers in each weight class.

In her career, Strohmayer holds a 36-6 record.

“She’s always wanted me to put her on the varsity side for boys,” Liljenquist said. “She doesn’t care to wrestle junior varsity and she is always trying to push me to get her some tougher competition. That’s one way she is preparing for the girls' side of things and she knows the competition is getting better and she’s going to have to step up her game.”


Strohmayer wants to wrestle after high school because she loves the competition.

“I am pretty interested in going to college for wrestling,” she said. “I just like the hard work and it just pays off.”

Liljenquist added: “She’s looking at college wrestling and the Pine Island Tournament has opened some eyes up where college scouts are looking at her. It’s sparking her interest and making her compete even better.”

Liljenquist said Strohmayer is great to coach.

“She always listens,” he said. “I think in general girls learn faster than boys and she tends to listen. She is really good to coach. She does a great job with her diet and is not yo-yo-ing with her weight which is good.

“Having a Maddie in the room you are fortunate and blessed. I would say Bemidji and Mora, who have full girls’ teams, would tell you that having a Maddie-type wrestler is not normal. She’s a competitor in a boys’ sport and it’s helped her mentally prepare for this moment. We are fortunate to have her.”

Strohmayer for sure wants to be section champion and she hopes she can take aim at a state title this year.“Hopefully, since the girls’ sections have expanded I’ll get some good matches at state and we will see,” she said. “I think it’s cool that it’s expanded so much from last year.”

Liljenquist added: “She’s really going to have to focus. There is some big competition as there was last year. Even more so, this year, there are eight girls in the state tournament when last year there were four. For her to win that title is going to be tough.”


Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tori Oehrlein, Crosby-Ironton, recorded 36 points and 11 rebounds against Holy Family and scored 23 points against Detroit Lakes.
Kelsi Martini, Pequot Lakes, scored 23 points against Perham.
Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, scored 20 points against Park Rapids.
Madison Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 23 points against Henning.
Hockey: Rose Aldridge, Northern Lakes, recorded three goals and an assist against International Falls.

Madelyn Strohmayer

Year: Junior
School: Aitkin
Sport: Wrestling
Position: 114 pounds
Highlights: She went 4-0 to capture the title at Pine Island.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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