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Gillette wrestler Audrina Summers earns prestigious Governor’s Award of Excellence

Gillette-based youth wrestler Audrina Summers recently received the prestigious Governor's Award of Excellence for her performance in 2023. (Submitted Photo)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — In 2023, youth wrestler and Gillette resident Audrina Summers was as dominant as can be. Recently, she was recognized for her terrific accomplishments on the mat with the prestigious Governor’s Award of Excellence, given annually by the Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association to the top young wrestlers.

The award is broken up by gender and into classifications, and over the weekend Audrina earned the Governor’s Award in the folk-style wrestling classification, joining the freestyle Governor’s Award that already resides in her trophy case from two years before.

To qualify for a Governor’s Award, wrestlers need to win a competition at the regional, statewide and national level. With several such wrestlers in Wyoming, WAWA then looks at overall results and statistics to choose the recipients.

To say Audrina was dominant in 2023 would be an understatement. The young wrestler won 23 different local tournaments in both boys and girls divisions. Throughout the year, Audrina squared off against several boys larger than her, though they all went down at her hand.

(Submitted Photo)

In Wyoming, she posted a 49–0 record against boys and a similarly perfect 36–0 mark against the girls. At the 2023 state wrestling meet in Casper, Audrina also became the first girl to win a wrestling triple crown by taking gold in freestyle, folk style and Greco-Roman.

“I had a really fun time wrestling [last year],” she said. “It’s a big accomplishment for me.”

However, the year was also a bittersweet one for Audrina. Though she shined against boys in the state meet, she learned that she would be the last girl to have the chance to do so. Last year, WAWA made the decision that moving forward, girls would no longer be able to compete in boys divisions.

“When she learned about it, she was crushed. It really made her cry,” mother Gabriella Summers said. “She was upset both because she wouldn’t be able to win another triple crown against the boys, but also because no other girl would ever get that chance again. She knew there would be a lot more girls following in her footsteps.”

Still, the year was a resounding success for Audrina, who won the USA Wrestling Western Regional in both freestyle and Greco-Roman classifications.

When she received her Governor’s Award at the recent state meet, though, it came as a total shock. Audrina’s parents knew she had earned the award in March, but wanted it to be a surprise when winners were announced at the state tournament the following month.

“We were sitting there, and I didn’t really think anything special was going on,” Audrina said of the award presentation. “I started looking at my phone, but then my dad said, ‘They’re talking about you!’ … It felt great when they called my name and I went up there with a big smile.”

The honor was a thrill for her parents, too.

“I was so happy for her,” Gabriella said. “At the start of the year, she made a goal board; winning a Governor’s Award was on it, and she was able to accomplish every one of her goals for the year.”

Looking ahead to the future, Audrina said one of her biggest goals is to win regionals in the boys division, though she will now have to compete in the girls division once she reaches the state competition.