INDEPENDENCE - Last year before they made their miraculous run to a top-10 finish at the state tournament, the Anamosa girls’ wrestling team built their momentum with some outstanding performances leading up to the huge event held last season in Waverly.

      This season, the Iowa High School girls’ state wrestling tournament will be held in Coralville at the new Xtreme Arena & GreenState Family Fieldhouse starting Friday, Jan. 22, and the Raiders proved themselves state tournament ready once again after an outstanding performance in Independence Saturday, Jan. 16.

      “The girls had some really good matches at Independence,” said Raider girls wrestling coach Shania DeShaw, as Starr Kirk and Ava Scranton worked their way to championships at the enormous tournament featuring dozens of programs from all around the state.

      “We had tough competition and I think it was perfect for our last tournament before state. We placed second as a team behind Waverly-Shell Rock. I was thinking back to our very first tournament back in December and how these girls have improved so immensely. I am very proud of all of them.”

      Kirk opened her tournament with a hard-fought 8-6 decision over Clear Creek-Amana’s Jaycee Jurgens before closing it in style with impressive pin routs over Charles City’s Lauren Staudt (52-seconds) and Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Raina Shonka (1:25) to take the title in the G-4 class.

      Scranton was the class of the G-6 division pinning Vinton-Shellsburg’s Carly Williams (51-seconds), Denver’s Tyanna Teetzen (1:12) and then in the finals posted a 2:42 fall over Waverly-Shell Rock’s Brinley Meier.

      Emily Watters, Bri Neuhaus and Maddy Fischer all advanced to the finals in their respective classes with each taking second overall.

      Watters pinned Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Kenzlei Steffen (56-seconds) and Humboldt’s Claire Weydert (48-seconds) to advance to the class G-12 finals before being handed a narrow 2-0 loss against West Liberty’s Laney Esmoil.

      Neuhaus was also impressive in advancing to the G-14 championship match opening with a 9-4 decision over Charles City’s Margaret Boss before pinning Crestwood’s Payton Ruppert in 2:29. In the finals Neuhaus was handed a 30-second pin loss against Cedar Falls’ Lauren Ferguson.

      Fischer pinned her way to the finals in the G-21 division taking down Vinton-Shellsburg’s Emma McDaniel (2:19) and South Winneshiek’s Paige Jaster (1:05) before being handed a 10-7 loss against Humboldt’s Maria Elizondo.

      Maddie Meeker posted a 2-1 record at the tournament, pinning Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Saha Gitch (26-seconds) and Charles City’s Keely Collins (1:33) on her way to a third-place performance in the G-11 class while Michaela Scranton (G-17) and Kaylee Meier (G-25) also posted wins for the Anamosa team taking fourth in their respective classes.

      Maggie Wagner, who dropped a tough 6-0 decision in her opening match of the tournament, battled back to win her final two, over Clear Creek-Amana’s Teagan Schriber (1:21) and Mid-Prairie’s Bronwyn Brenneman (2:14) to take fifth-place in the G-8 class.

      “I have been so impressive by these girls and the strides they’ve made this season,” said Anamosa boys wrestling coach Bret Jones, who also helps out with the girls’ program.

      “They’re starting to get noticed state-wide too. Ava, Maddy, Emily and Kaylee are all ranked in the state top-10 heading into the state meet this weekend. Ava and Maddy are eighth and Emily and Kaylee are ranked ninth. I really think this is setting up to be a great state tournament for these girls. They could be a top-5 team at state, after being a top-10 team last season. This is exciting stuff.”

      The Anamosa girls also hit the home mat Thursday, Jan. 14, hosting North Cedar, Cascade and Mid-Prairie. No results were available.

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