Annalisa Cullens uses technique and work ethic to gain an advantage over opponents
Claiming state titles in two sports and being named the Kansas Top Girls Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year doesn't happen overnight. It takes hard work and overcoming challenges to make that happen.
Heading into her junior year at Wellington High School, Annalisa Cullens has started to make a name for herself in Crusader athletics.
As a sophomore, Cullens won the state title in wrestling at 109-pounds with a 34-1 record. She defeated the second, third, and fourth wrestler in Kansas and is currently ranked as the 22nd wrestler in the country.
It doesn't stop on the wrestling mats.
On the track, Cullens took gold in the 100-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles at the KSHSAA 4A State Championship Events at Wichita State. She finished the 100-meter hurdles in 14.39, which would be her personal record and the fastest time in the state that season.
However, even though Cullens put together a remarkable sophomore season, she had to deal with being smaller and lighter than the other girls, then nervousness before events.
Cullens is aware that she might not reach the level of strength of her opponents, but she believes working on her fundamentals gives her the advantage over everyone else.
"I'm aware that I don’t have the strength like the other girls," said Cullens. "I have to think smart. Like thinking more about my technique and starts. If anyone has ever seen me practice or run the hurdles, technique is everything to me."
As of now, Cullens is resting from a torn labrum that has kept her from training and participating in any physical activities. In the meantime, she has been watching the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and has enjoyed the top athletes competing against each other.
"I have been keeping up-to-date with the Olympics," said Cullens. "I love to watch wrestling, track, diving, and sand volleyball."
Outside of staying active, Cullens loves to stay motivated, go fishing, and being around her loved ones. She is looking toward the new school year, where she loves to study math.
Once Cullens recovers from her injury, she plans on devoting her time to train for the upcoming wrestling and track season. She would like to work on rehabbing from the torn labrum and build her strength.