Lewis Central earned eight state qualifiers as they won the IGHSAU Regional Qualifier 1 in Sioux City on Friday.
“As a coach, I’m really excited for our girls,” Titans head coach August Manz said. “They put themselves in a good position today to meet their goals and dreams for next week. And I really feel like they showcased a lot of their talents today.”
Leading the way for the Titans were five winners — Ava McNeal (100), Maya Humlicek (105), Sophie Barnes (125), Mahri Manz (140) and Espie Almazan (145) — who the Titans head coach said were hungry.
“They were hungry. They just had that look in their eyes that they wanted to take care of business, get to the next stage of this postseason because that’s where their goals and their dreams are.”
The Lewis Central head coach added that seniors McNeal and Barnes want to take care of business in their last chance, and sophomores Humlicek and Mahri Manz want another taste of the state tournament.
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“They’ve had a little bit taste at the state tournament and they want another chance to try to improve what they did last year and Espie’s always wanting to get better. Always just focused, and then again just showed today.”
All but Barnes pinned each of their opponents — Barnes winning one of her three matches by a 7-4 decision — as the Titans cruised on the mat.
Dana Swedensky (155) placed second, Cierra Elderbaum (110) third, Susan Elderbaum (120) fourth to round out the state qualifiers. Isabell Sunderman (170) finished fifth.
Swedensky — the third senior who shares a similar outlook to Barnes and McNeal — “wasn’t going to be denied” at regionals.
Both Elderbaum sisters bounced back well from losses to punch their ticket to state.
“The amount of work they’ve put in and the offseason stuff is the evidence that they’re ready for that chance,” August Manz said. “But the bottom line is you’re gonna have to take a one match at a time and not look too far ahead. And understand that you don’t have to wrestle perfectly every match, just got to find a way to get at least one more point than another person.”
From Treynor, Addie Minahan, Andyn White, Emerson Gregg and Emma Miller all punched their tickets to state.
Minahan (115) placed second with a pin and two decisions (7-3 and 11-4) before being pinned 3:00 into the first-place match.
Miller (105) and White (125) placed third with four combined pins (three for White), while Gregg (130) won by a close 4-2 decision over Glenwood’s Lauralyse Flint-Spencer for fourth place and a spot at state.
The Cardinals finished in eighth, just ahead of the Rams.
For the Rams, Emily Lundvall (120) pinned each of her three opponents to place first, and Maya Rivas (135) took third to qualify for state with a pair of pins after being pinned in the semifinals.
Underwood’s Kalen Westerfield (170) also pinned her third-place opponent to qualify for state.
The state tournament is set to be held on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Ia.