By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Centennial High School wrestler made history Friday at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center.

Sophomore Emily Shilson became the second girl to compete at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament.

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She qualified at 106 pounds, the lightest weight, but in 3-A — the biggest class.

The tournament brings in fans from towns big and small. But it seemed like all eyes were on Mat #5 for six minutes Friday afternoon.

“I told her, and leading up to this, ‘It’s another match. You go out on the mat, you wrestle like you’ve wrestled every other day,'” said Emily’s dad, Chad Shilson.

Emily wasn’t just looking to be the second girl ever to wrestler at the state tournament — she was looking to win it.

Emily Shilson (credit: CBS)

Emily Shilson (credit: CBS)

“I just want to go out and dominate and get to my stuff and get to my offense,” Emily said.

Chad says his daughter “attacks everything in life.”

“Schoolwork, athletics, everything. She doesn’t want to lose. She just goes after it,” Chad said.

Unfortunately for Emily, a close match turned into a close loss. But the magnitude of the moment wasn’t lost on her older brother and practice partner, Tyler Shilson. The top-ranked wrestler, who is planning to wrestle at Wisconsin, watched Emily compete on the mat since she was 5 years old.

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“Very proud, without a doubt, very proud,” Tyler said. “It was cool because whenever anything happened in her match, everybody was like, you could tell everybody was paying attention to that match.”

But none of that mattered to Emily. Coming up short was not what she had in mind.

“I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and just keep getting better and keep learning from my matches,” Emily said.

Because by learning, Emily has plans to put a reversal on any doubters, and hopefully compete one day on wrestling’s biggest stage.

“I want to win the 2020 Olympics,” Emily said.

And her dad is right behind her in that quest.

“2020, 2024, 2028 — that’s what she’s focusing on,” Chad said.

Emily is considered one of the best girl wrestlers in the nation right now.

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The first girl to make it to state was Elissa Reinsma from Fulda-Murray-County Central, who qualified twice at 103 pounds in 2009 and 2011.

John Lauritsen