WORDEN — Huntley Project senior Gretchen Donally knows only one speed — full throttle.
That mentality has led Donally to consecutive individual wrestling titles and has her primed for a third. She doesn't worry much about the target on her back, rather embracing that target.
"I'm just trying to enjoy it. I'm trying to let go of my worries. I kind of learned that this last year and wrestling in the offseason," Donally said. "Just let it go and wrestle. If you focus on not losing, you're not going to wrestle very good. If you're focused on just doing your best and trying to enjoy it — when you actually try to enjoy it, you do enjoy it."
"She does a good job just taking it one match at a time," Huntley Project coach Tim Kaczmarek said. "She's a very intelligent person, so she knows we can't get caught looking ahead. It's take it one match at a time and run your stuff and keep going until they stop it, then we'll go to something else. She carries that mindset very well."
Donally also credits a lot of her success to cross country, as she's able to come into wrestling season ready to perform at her best.
"It makes the matches easier. It makes me get more out of my practices because I'm in shape enough to really focus on my drilling and push hard to the last minute of practice, which is really where you can get better," Donally said.
Donally will continue her career at Colorado Mesa while studying engineering, but her impact on the next generation of grapplers will be lasting, as evidenced by a camp the Red Devils hosted earlier this week.
"Even within our own program, Gretchen is a great talker. She's very well-spoken," Kaczmarek said. "The girls on our team, (Thursday) night they just flocked to her. Almost every one came up and thanked her for doing it. She's a very good ambassador and spokesmen for our sport and our school in general."
"I'm so happy that I get to come back and give back to them, show them what I've learned. I hope I can be an inspiration to them," Donally said.
She's leaving quite the legacy in the red and black.