Prior to three years ago, Lexi Petersen had never stepped on a wrestling mat.

She never believed she would leave with a medal, though that changed in 2021.

Petersen became just the second girl from St. Joseph to claim a state medal, winning third place in the 112-pound division.

Now she is the All-News-Press NOW City Girls Wrestler of the Year.

“I honestly never expected to get where I was today. When I first started, I was just like, it’s not for me,” Petersen said following her trip to the state meet.

“I just went out there and left everything on the mat. It’s my senior year and that’s my final match ever in high school, so I went ahead and let it all go.”

Petersen finished the season 24-11.

Petersen won districts in early February before surviving with a win in the third-place sectional bout more than two weeks ago. She came out determined Tuesday, winning by fall and 6-2 decision to end up in the semifinal round, guaranteeing a medal.

She fell via pin to Staley’s Chloe Sheckells, setting up a third-place matchup with Aiva Mayer of Carrollton. She used a first-period takedown to set the tone, adding another one in the second period. She used a third-period escape to win 6-3.

Petersen was one of two Cardinals to qualify for state, as sophomore 137-pounder Tatum Levendahl came up one match short of advancing to the medal round.

“(Petersen) is someone who had to cut her teeth for three years like a lot of these girls down here,” Benton coach Brad Hubbard said, “so I’m pretty proud of her.”

— Brandon Zenner

Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.

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