Hello, My Name Is: Elle Gauerke

The Athens senior has been around wrestling her whole life, but this year she’s ending her high school career competing
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 9:55 PM CST
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) - Elle Gauerke grew up as close to wrestling as one could possibly be.

“She’s been a manager since she was able to put a pencil to a piece of paper,” said Jodi Gauerke, Elle’s dad and the Athens head wrestling coach. “She’s been around the sport her whole life.”

Jodi Gauerke was a state champion himself at Athens when he was in high school. Elle grew up watching her dad coach and her brother compete. She had always been on the mat, but eventually, she wanted to try the sport for real.

“It was definitely something I wanted to do, kinda follow the big brother and the dad in the family, just kind of follow the steps,” said Elle.

She first gave it a try in fourth grade, then later in eighth grade and early high school. However, injuries put a pause on her career. Then, last year, the WIAA sanctioned wrestling for girls, giving her the itch to get back in.

”I heard it and saw the news, ‘Like, that’s pretty cool,” said Elle. ”I didn’t mind being a manager, but I was like you know what, senior year, might as well give it a try, I know what I’m doing I think. "

Elle joined her dad as a member of the team and as one of only two seniors on the Athens roster. Despite being a member of the team, competitions have not been too prominent yet.

“I’ve only gotten a few matches in,” said Elle. “It’s hard getting into girls’ tournaments because they’re all so far away.”

Regardless, Elle’s enjoyed the time with the group, serving as a leader, not just to the young team, but to the young girls in Athens who see her and may want to get involved themselves.

“The little girls are going to see a senior do it and say, ‘Hey this is top-notch, let’s see if we can get ‘em going,” said Jodi.

“Go do it,” said Elle. “It’s overall a great experience that I think any girl that’s not playing basketball or hasn’t committed themselves to another sport, give it a try.”

On top of all that, it’s a great opportunity for Jodi and Elle to have some father-daughter time.

“He works us hard. That’s for sure,” said Elle. “He knows what he’s doing too. He’s got his experience. He hasn’t stepped away from the mat since he was a baby so...”