Devils Lake Journal Athlete of the Week: Jenna Gerhardt, Devils Lake Wrestling

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Hard work leads to hearty payoff down the road, so the saying goes. 

Those familiar with Jenna Gerhardt would quickly find validity in this statement, especially in her marked improvement as a member of the Devils Lake Wrestling team. This hard work revealed itself in the form of Gerhardt’s production on the mat during the Bismarck Rotary over the weekend (Jan. 7-8). This production proved to be the deciding factor toward the senior winning this week’s “Athlete of the Week” honor. 

Jenna Gerhardt (left) poses with Devils Lake head coach Brendon Flynn (right) after the Bismarck Rotary.

Gerhardt’s first-overall placement in her weight division (110) over the weekend did not tell the entire story, though. Being voted “Most Outstanding Female Wrestler” did not do the trick, either. And, you guessed it, a 19-1 overall record, combined with being ranked #1 in Girls Division and #3 in Boys Division, also did not explain everything. 

However, what did detail Gerhardt’s story almost to a tee has been her determination to improve her craft since she took to the mat for the first time as a Devils Lake wrestler. This perseverance has helped her become a mainstay among wrestling circles. 

“She was not that good when she first started,” Devils Lake head coach Brendon Flynn said. “She took a lot of beatings and lost a lot in the beginning. [She] kept working and working to get better. Staying after practice a lot, doing offseason training, whether it be in the weight room, wrestling and doing whatever. She had a lot of opportunities where she could have quit, or a lot of people probably would have, given the circumstances. She kept bettering herself all of the time [and] really wanted something for herself. That is why she is as successful as she is now, just because she never gave up on herself.” 

Gerhardt has not only dominated the mat. She has also become a mentor to younger kids who train with her. This leadership role has done more than season Gerhardt into a more refined athlete in Flynn’s mind. To Flynn, it has also prepared her for life after high school. 

Consider it another payoff. 

“It speaks volumes for her [Gerhardt] and how far she has come, and it sets an example for all of the other kids,” Flynn said. “Whether she knows it or not, there are a lot of younger kids that look up to her and see her as an example to go by, and that is what you want in your program. You want those kids that meet everything a coach looks for in an athlete.”

Congratulations to Gerhardt and Drew Nicholas (North Star Boys Basketball) for being nominated. 

The Devils Lake Journal hosts its “Athlete of the Week” contest weekly. The athletes nominated and/or given the award are based on the athlete’s performance from the prior week. Ballot nominations are submitted from Saturday morning to Monday at 10:00 a.m. Finalist voting starts Monday at noon and ends Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. CT, assuming more than one finalist has been cast. 

The following programs can nominate an athlete for the honor: Devils Lake, Four Winds/Minnewaukan, North Star/Starkweather, Langdon/Edmore/Munich, Benson County, Nelson County, Dakota Prairie, Lakota, New Rockford-Sheyenne and Lake Region State College. Nominations will vary depending on the time of the season. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter for the release of the weekly ballot. 

Voting results: 

-      Jenna Gerhardt, Wrestling, Devils Lake: 233 (91.4%) 

-      Drew Nicholas, Boys Basketball, North Star: 22 (8.6%)