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N/G-S' Alexis Schneider continues to dominate girls' wrestling

Jan. 13—NAPOLEON, N.D. — There is one name atop the leaderboards for the 118-pound weight class in North Dakota girls' wrestling and that is Alexis Schneider.

The Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter product is one of seven girls' wrestlers to win back-to-back state titles. The junior ended her sophomore season with a win over Minot's Hallie Nash in the state championship match. When she won, Schneider said she was really excited to celebrate with her family and coaches.

"It felt pretty good," Schneider said. "It shows that my hard work pays off. I'm glad I got a win last year."

During her tournament run, Schneider won all four matches by fall and won those four matches in a total of 3 minutes and 37 seconds. She won the semifinal and final in a total of 1 minute and 25 seconds.

Imperials head coach Chris Weigel had an interesting perspective of Schneider's tournament win last year as he was an official at the state tournament. However, he said he recused himself from all of the Imperials matches because he lives in Napoleon and is neighbors with the Schneider family.

"We're neighbors with them as well and seeing her win it was just outstanding, to see it for the second time," Weigel said. "She's just relaxed and comfortable. It seems like she doesn't let anything affect her or bother her too much, which it seems a lot of girls just get super nervous, and that affects the style of wrestling, just don't let the nerves get to you, go out there. She's just one that she can hide those nerves really well and she wrestles strong that way."

The list of undefeated 118-pound girls ' wrestlers in the state is a short one. It starts and ends with Schneider. As of Jan. 11, the junior is a perfect 31-0.

Schneider said she feels pressure to repeat but is ready to deal with it head-on.

Schneider said she is very confident at the moment and knows she can get a win regardless of who she comes across through the rest of the season. To have a successful rest of the season, Schneider said she needs to continue to work hard, study the tape and improve on her weaknesses.

"Alexis is just an all-around hard worker," Weigel said. "She grew up on a farm and if she's not playing football in the fall with the boys and wrestling in the winter she's out working cattle, helping dad on the farm, whether it's farming or working cattle, chasing cattle. All in all, she's just a hard-working girl. If she has any off time she's in the gym working out. She wants to make sure that she has a healthy body for the sports that she does, which is football and wrestling, and she's very successful in both. It goes to show that her hard work and dedication goes to show how successful she is in the sports."

Schneider said spending a lot of time wrestling at the state tournament will help her when she gets there this year.

"It helps me a lot because I've been through it before so I know what to expect," Schneider said. "It helps me become more confident and less worried about what to expect and what's going to happen."

Schneider is not the only state champion currently in the program as she is joined by Dalton Feist who won the 2023 106-pound boys' wrestling title.

"It's a really cool experience," Schneider said. "I'm so glad that I get to go against Dalton. We learn a lot from each other and we push each other hard. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to be able to practice with him because it just makes me a better wrestler."

In her career wrestling girls, Schneider is perfect, compiling a 75-0 record, with 62 wins coming via the fall. In order to have as much success as she has had, Schneider said she is constantly working on improving.

"During the summer, I lift weights," Schneider said. "I also work on our farm ... that gives me that mentality and then during the season, I work hard in practices and even during the off days when we don't have tournaments or don't have practice, I do a little something either running on the treadmill or something like that. I'm always trying to become stronger and become better at what I do."

Over he career, Schneider said she has improved her footwork. Weigel said Schneider's best skill is her ability to be a good teammate and help her teammates.

"When she walks by she doesn't look like a beast wrestler," Weigel said. "Her looks, she just looks like a normal girl walking down the hallway or walking down to the event center or something. The technique on her is second to none. Obviously, everyone knows her in North Dakota, she walks down in North Dakota, they're all gonna say, 'There's Alexis.' But, she goes to the national tournament, she doesn't look like that beast of a wrestler and she is just technique, an outstanding wrestler. If one move is not working, she's right into the next move and right to the next move. A lot of people will stick on the one move, try to stick on that one move. That's not her, she's going from one move to the next right away."

While she has been wrestling since she was little, Schneider said her favorite part of the sport is the escapism aspect.

"I enjoy that you can just go out there and have no worries," Schneider said. "You just so caught up in your match that you don't have to worry about what's going on out in the world. It's fun to go out and do what you like to do."

Schneider's first state title came in the 2021-22 season when she finished the season 16-0 and got a tech fall win in the state title match over West Fargo Sheyenne's Shayla DelaBlaere. She won that title in the 110-pound weight class.

She said the decision to move up a weight class was because of a lack of desire to continue to cut weight. Weigel said the decision was made to allow more of her teammates an opportunity to wrestle and to increase her energy on the mat.

As of the Jan. 2 Dakota Grapplers North Dakota rankings, Schneider is ranked in first for the 118-pound weight class and the overall girls' rankings.

It hasn't always been smooth sailing for the Napoleon native. She said she has dealt with her fair share of critics.

"I want to work on becoming not so caught up in what others think of me but just go out there and be confident in what I'm doing, to not let others put me down or say things about me," Schneider said. "But, rather just go out there and wrestle my match, not their match but my match. If I wrestle my match, I'm hoping that would get me to a state title."

Despite only being a junior, Schneider is looking to the future but she hasn't thought about wrestling at the next level yet.

"I believe that I can stay undefeated the rest of this year and my last year and I believe I can become a four-timer," Schneider said. "I don't know if I'm gonna become a college wrestler in the future, that hasn't really come to my mind yet."