State Stories


IHSA Wrestling’s Most Dedicated Fan? Libby Johnsen Hasn’t Missed State Tourney Since 1970

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If Libby Johnson isn’t the biggest high school wrestling fan in the state of Illinois, she may be the most dedicated. Sitting in Section 140 of the State Farm Center, Libby celebrated her 91st birthday on Saturday, February 20, 2016 watching the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals, just as she has every year since 1970.

Libby attended the state finals when the event was still held at the Horton Fieldhouse on the Illinois State University campus in Normal. The tournament moved to the University of Illinois campus in 1967 and Libby began her current streak three years later. The Mount Zion native got to watch her son, Rick Johnson, wrestle in the state tourney for Mount Zion High School in 1973, while her other son Roy is currently an IHSA Wrestling Official.

When asked what has brought her back to the IHSA state finals each winter for 46 consecutive years, her answer is simple, if not expected:

“I just love high school wrestling!”

Libby, thanks for supporting high school wrestling in Illinois for nearly 50 years and happy birthday!