I’ve finally had a little bit of time to sit back and reflect on the 2020 IWCOA Girls State Tournament and what an incredible weekend it was. To see over 350 girls from Iowa competing together was an amazing site and the support from the crowd was great as well. The atmosphere in Waverly was electric and it’s almost a throwback to the boys tournament being in Vet’s Auditorium with the teammates and fans being matside and how loud it makes it. I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts and memories that made it another special event for me.
- Huge shout out to the Waverly schools for making this happen again and throwing a great tournament. Coach Eric Whitcome and Dave Litterer get a lot of well deserved credit. I would also like to give a big shout out to all the other people behind the scenes like Roger and Amanda Riggins, Ben McDonald, Kevin Langreck and others. They know how to run things right!
- Osage loves wrestling! There were so many fans from all over the state in attendance and these girls had great support. Waverly’s section was loud and proud but somewhat expected for the home team. Other schools brought a lot of fans too and I don’t want that to go unnoticed. However, when the Osage girls were on the mat everyone knew it! They have always been a wrestling community and traveled well to the the state tournament in Des Moines but they also came in masses for the girls and made there presence known.
- Waverly Shell-Rock girl’s program. Everyone knows how good the 3A #1 ranked boys team at Waverly Shell-Rock is. They are also creating quite the wrestling culture and program among the girls as well. They have won the team title at each of the first two IWCOA state tournaments and continue to have one of the biggest rosters in the state as well. Bailey Walsh graduates this year but they will return a lot of fire power next season led by Annika Behrends and the likes of Macy Smith, Avery Meier, Marley Hagarty, and Haidyn Snyder.
- Dubuque Wahlert making noise! The Dubuque Wahlert wrestling program had never had a girl on there roster before this season but made a huge splash in the first season of girls wrestling. They had as many as 22 girls on the roster this season which was among the tops in the state and more than the number of boys that they have. They brought 16 first year wrestlers to the tournament and came away with a 3rd place team finish. They also picked up there first state champion with Alaina Schmidt capping off an undefeated season with a state title! Alaina Duggan also grabbed a 5th place finish.
- College coaches in attendance. It was incredible to see all of the College Women’s Wrestling coaches in Waverly. I believe that every women’s program in the state was in attendance and some schools also brought multiple coaches. There were even some programs from out of the state that had coaches there to watch. This sport is going to continue to grow and help provide so many more opportunities for girls to go to college and be able to compete!
- The Quad City Quartet. Don’t mess with any lightweight girls in the quad city area because they might be wrestlers and among the best in the state. The first four state titles of the tournament went to girls from the Quad Cities in Ella Schmit (Bettendorf), Tateum Park (Davenport North), Chloe Clemons (Pleasant Valley) & Sydney Park (Davenport Central). The Park girls and Clemons both became two-time champions and Schmit was a runner up last year before claiming her first title this weekend. Even better yet is that Sydney Park and Ella Schmit are only sophomores and we get to watch them at the high school level for two more years!
- Ali Gerbracht will always live in the record books. Things didn’t end the way that she wanted for the senior state runner-up from AGWSR but she should be remembered forever in the world of Iowa Girls High School wrestling. She became the first girls state champion in 2019 and won the Dan Gable Ms Wrestler of the Year award that season as well. She also became the second girl EVER in Iowa to win over 100 varsity matches and is the all time wins leader among females in Iowa history. She does not plan to wrestle in college but she isn’t done quite yet. She is a varsity wrestler for AGWSR as well and will try to qualify for the IAHSAA state tournament as well.
- Millie Peach. The junior from Iowa Valley, Marengo continues to dominate the Iowa Girls High School wrestling scene. She pinned her way through the girls state tournament for the second straight year and her semifinal match was the only time a girl made it to the second period against her this season.
- Abby McIntyre. The junior from Glenwood wasn’t able to participate in the state tournament last season due to injury but was able to earn her first state title this year in perhaps the toughest bracket in the tournament. McIntyre has been wrestling for a long time and was already a familiar face among those that follow it closely and it was great to see her join the ranks of high school state champions.
- Jannell Avila. Yes, another Avila from Lisbon and another state champion. Jannell was the only freshman to win a girls state title this weekend and did so in impressive fashion with three falls before defeating the #3 seed 9-0 in the semis and then knocking off #1 ranked and defending state runner up Olivia Diggins of Logan-Magnolia in the finals.
- First year wrestlers. With the incredible spike in participation among girls this season and in this tournament there were a lot of new faces in Waverly. Some of those faces quickly became familiar and made a big impact this weekend with four of them earning state titles.
- Laken Lienhard of Crestwood, Cresco
- Alaina Schmidt of Wahlert, Dubuque
- Kendal Clark of Humboldt
- Salima Omari of Iowa City, West