Wadena-Deer Creek senior making history in women's college wrestling
Wadena-Deer Creek Senior Madelyn Gallant becomes Northland Community and Technical College's first women's wrestling signee.
It seems fitting that Madelyn Gallant will be a "Pioneer" next school year. The Wadena-Deer Creek Senior has been a pioneer for the WDC Wolverine Wrestling program and signed a letter of intent with the Northland Community and Technical College "Pioneers" to wrestle on their first-ever Women's Wrestling Team.
Gallant made history by becoming the first woman to commit to Northland, located in Thief River Falls. Northland will join Augsburg College as only the second College Women's Wrestling Program in Minnesota. On April 10, 2023 Northland announced the formation of a women's team to join their Men's team, which was brought back after a 43-year hiatus in 2013.
The National Junior College Athletic Association added Women's Wrestling as an Emerging Sport in 2021-22 and held a National Invitational Tournament in conjunction with the Men's Tournament this year. Women's Wrestling has grown from 804 participants in 1994 to over 31,000 this year throughout the United States. In Minnesota, the MSHSL has sanctioned Girls Wrestling the past two seasons with participation rising from about 200 girls to over 500 this season.
"Wrestling has been my favorite sport to be a part of," Madelyn Gallant said. "I wanted to continue, so when I saw Northland added wrestling, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. After touring campus and talking with the staff, I felt comfortable and made my decision to attend Northland and wrestle."
Gallant grew up with the sport of wrestling. Her dad served as the Head Wrestling Coach at Wadena-Deer Creek from 2005-2018 and assistant from 1998-2005. She served as a statistician from 7-10th grades before joining as a participant during her junior year, the first year the MSHSL sanctioned the sport for girls. Madelyn qualified for the first Minnesota State Girls Tournament in 2022, placing 4th, and was named Academic All-State as well that year. This season Gallant placed third in the Section Tournament, narrowly missing the State Meet and finishing her career ranked 9th in the State at 145. She was also elected a Captain of the Wolverine Wrestling Squad.
In addition to Wrestling, Gallant was Academic All-Conference in Cross Country and is an Outfielder for the Wolverine Softball Team. She participates in Band, Choir, BPA, Fall Play, Student Council and was Miss Wadena First Princess. She is a 4.0 student and plans to pursue a degree in Exercise Science and would like to pursue coaching wrestling in the future as well.
"Madelyn checks all the boxes for what we want in our recruits," Assistant Coach Scott DCamp said. "She is a great student, athlete, role model and wants to compete and improve. We are excited to have her as our first signee."
Wolverine Wrestling Coach Brad Wollum added, "Madelyn has been a great student-athlete for WDC. The past two seasons she's grown tremendously not only in the sport of wrestling, but as an all-around person. The sport of wrestling has given her confidence that she'll be carrying with her to Northland and throughout her life. It's been a pleasure coaching her and I wish her nothing but the best. Congratulations, Madelyn!"
BHVPP wrestler Abby Ervasti, a state champ at 138lbs shared this about her friend and competitor
"The first time I met Madelyn at a tournament we warmed up as partners, and she was unsure of herself," she said. "I could tell this was a new sport to her and she was nervous and intimidated. However, throughout the two years I have known her she has blossomed as a wrestler and has become an inspiration to the Wolverine’s female program and a leader in their wrestling room. We have become close on and off of the mat, whether it be as competitors, warm-up partners or just as friends. Madelyn always has an upbeat smile, a great attitude, and a loving personality. Although she may not have accomplished her goals during her high school career, I am so proud of her and am excited to see her flourish further in the sport of wrestling in a new way; being freestyle at Northland."
Breah Przekwas, Roseau freshman shared these thoughts on Gallant as well.
"My story with Maddie is probably really similar to others," she said. "Me and my friend Mylee were mangers for Roseau. Wadena was our first dual of the year and we had never done stats. They asked us to sit at the head table and do the stats. We had no idea what we were doing and kind of panicked. Maddie came over to help us with stats and taught us how to do them. We were talking about wrestling and how I wanted to join but I was scared. She convinced me it join and told me it’s not as scary as it seems. She was right. The next day I was at school I signed up and after a little convincing me and Maddie got Mylee to join. I definitely wouldn’t have joined if I didn’t see Maddie wrestling and having her telling me it’s fun."
WDC Wrestler Grant Seelhammer had a lot to say about his teammate.
"It has been a great experience to have been teammates with Maddie that last couple years," he said. "She started wrestling a little late as a junior, but she always works hard and has a positive attitude. She even qualified for the first-ever Minnesota girls state tournament. She is an overall great teammate and always brings good vibes to the wrestling room."
Madelyn is the daughter of Norm and Mandy Gallant of Wadena. She will graduate on May 26th from Wadena-Deer Creek High School.