WEST LIBERTY - Using the plan that worked so well a year ago, the Anamosa girls wrestling team continues to build themselves back into a state power, and their performance at the West Liberty tournament Saturday, Jan. 2, was more proof of that very real fact as the team posted an incredible 18 pins on the day.

      “With the way the girls have been gradually improving each and every week, we are kind of following the same script that we did a season ago,” said Raider girls wrestling coach Shania DeShaw. “Last year we got off to a slow start, but that was to be expected with it being our first season. But we got better and better and really peaked by the time the state tournament came around last year. Looks like we’re right on course to do it again this year, too.”

      The Raiders claimed a whopping four tournament titles (Cali Koppes, Maggie Wagner, Emily Watters and Ava Scranton) and just missed having two more as Starr Kirk and Maddy Fischer turned in runner-up efforts for the Anamosa team.

      Koppes opened with pin wins over Highland-Riverside’s Angelina Roling (1:36) and BGM’s Karlee Bellenger (1:04) before facing her teammate Kirk in the championship match and working to a hard-fought 6-4 victory.

      Wagner, like Watters and Scranton, was completely and totally dominant in cruising to the title pinning Solon’s Lauren Bevans (1:30), West Liberty’s Rylee Goodale (45-seconds) and Mount Pleasant’s Ella McNamme (49-seconds) spending less than three-minutes total on the mat for the entire tournament.

      Watters was just as impressive pinning West Liberty’s Laney Esmoil (1:30), Solon’s Elanor Gnida (43-seconds) and BGM’s Haley Pierson (38-seconds) to claim her title while Scranton completed the sweep of impressive pins rolling to routs over BGM’s Kyla Andrew (1:35), Solon’s Addison Burden (3:20) and Wilton’s Mea Burkle (3:48).

      Kirk gave the Raider team five girls in the finals losing only to her teammate Koppes in the championship bout. Kirk opened her tournament with pin wins over BGM’s Karlee Bellenger (33-seconds) and Highland-Riverside’s Angelina Roling (30-seconds).

      Fischer also scored a runner-up finish opening her tournament with a 2:56 pin loss against West Liberty’s Isabel Morrison before rallying back to post falls over Solon’s Trinity Chapman (2:27) and her own teammate in Michaela Scranton (1:44).

      Scranton and Maddy Meeker scored third-place performances for the Anamosa team as each picked up a pin win on the day with Scranton topping Solon’s Trinity Chapman (1:27) and Meeker posting a fall over Solon’s Bella Feaker (45-seconds).

      Anamosa hit the home mat for the first time this winter, hosting a whopping 28 teams inside a packed Raider gym Monday, Jan. 4, and the organized chaos once again played out extremely well for the Anamosa girls.

      “This was the first time we were able to have parents and spectators in the gym to watch the girls wrestle, and everyone really responded with some great wrestling,” DeShaw said. “The girls feed off the crowd and really wanted to make their families and fans proud.

      “I think everyone was able to do that. It was a great night.”

      Meeker and Fischer posted the lone championships on the night for the Raiders with Meeker rolling to a perfect 3-0 record picking up pin wins over Solon’s Sydney Langenberg (14-seconds) and Marion’s Jordan Wheeler (37-seconds) before being handed a forfeit triumph in her final bout of the night against Central Elkader’s Brandy Beatty.

      Fischer was also incredibly efficient pinning Marion’s Tiara Mull (1:03), Dubuque Wahlert’s Avery Schmidt (1:30) and Waverly-Shell Rock’s Gayle Robinson (4:44).

      Koppes, Kirk and Wagner all scored runner-up performances for the Raider girls with each going 2-1 at the event.

      Koppes opened with a 6-5 decision over Cedar Falls’ Becca Nicholson before closing her tournament with a 1:55 fall over Charles City’s Alexis VanMeer.

      Kirk, after being handed a pin loss to open the evening, battled back to pin Dubuque Wahlert’s Anna Dehl (1:16) and Independence’s Chevelle Hookom (33-seconds).

      Wagner also opened with a pin setback before closing her night with a 5-2 decision over Charles City’s Elizabeth Oleson and an amazingly fast eight-second pin rout over Mid-Prairie’s Ellie Brenneman.

      Ava and Michaela Scranton added third-place points for the hosts as each tallied 1-2 records on the evening while Watters and Kaylee Meier both placed fourth in their respective brackets.

      “Honestly, the tournament went even better than we could have hoped, both from a competitive and energy standpoint,” DeShaw said. “It was so great to see so many of our girls sit mat side and cheer on their teammates as they were competing. It’s that kind of energy that can help when they’re out there on the mat, and it’s so much fun to watch.”

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