Jan. 29—DES MOINES — For Jasmine Luedtke and Reanah Utterback, it was just another successful day on the mats.
For others, it was a day for redemption. All told, 15 area girls made their dreams come true by earning a trip to the Iowa Girls High School state wrestling tournament on Friday by placing among the top four in their respective weight classes at the IGHSAU Region 3 and 4 tournaments held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
Luedtke, one of the first girls to win a championship last February at the inaugural girls state wrestling tournament, extended her current winning streak to 66 consecutive high school matches by matching her 33-0 record set last year on the way to claiming the 110-pound title pinning three opponents including Ankeny sophomore Nora Bockes in the regional final. Joining the defending state champion at state will be Ottumwa teammates Delilah Subsin and Maravilha Vedina who both won third-place matches to clinch their tickets to state.
Subsin, a qualifier for last year's inaugural girls state wrestling tournament, improved to 15-5 on her sophomore season for the Bulldogs bouncing back from a loss to eventual 235-pound regional champion Breanna Peach of Iowa Valley by pinning Ankeny senior Melanie Martinez with 25 seconds left in the second period of the third-place match earning a return trip to state. Vedina, who missed out on qualifying for state last year after suffering a concussion during the regional tournament, pinned Iowa Valley freshman Skylar Hoyt 39 seconds into the final period of the third-place match to qualify for state at 125 pounds.
"It's a really big comeback from last year to make it to state. I've changed a lot from last year and I've learned a lot," Vedina said. "It was tough. I was pretty tired by the end of the day, but I couldn't give up. It's been a tough fight to get to state, but I'm ready to fight through it."
Luedtke isn't the only unbeaten area wrestler that is headed to state. Sigourney-Keota junior Reanah Utterback claimed the 115-pound regional title, improving to 44-0 with a fall 49 seconds into the second period of the championship match against Ankeny sophomore Trudy Haag qualifying for her first sanctioned girls state wrestling tournament after winning an IWOCA state title as a freshman and becoming the second female wrestler to place at the Iowa High School boys state wrestling tournament last season as a sophomore.
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont placed third in the IGHSAU Region 3 tournament with 161 points, sending five of their 11 wrestlers to the state tournament. Ella Ray finished second at 235 pounds, pinning Martinez in the semifinals to clinch a trip to state improving to 20-6 on the season joining Rocket teammates Abby Jager (110), Kate Krause (115), Kendra Krause (120) and Miley Kirkpatrick (130) in becoming the first five EBF wrestlers to qualify for the girls state wrestling tournament.
Moravia junior Layla Ewing, a state finalist last year, booked a return trip to Coralville on Friday finishing second in the 130-pound regional tournament. Ewing, 8-1, has missed most of the season dealing with a knee injury before returning one week earlier at the North Tama Tournament.
Five more area wrestlers qualified for state for the first time on Friday. Cardinal teammates Abigail Durflinger (105) and Ajaah Cox (155) secured trips to state with a runner-up finish by Cox allowing the senior to join brothers Isaiah and Issac as state wrestling qualifiers.
Albia senior Brianna Wolfer improved to 28-3 on the season, finishing second in the IGHSAU Region 3 tournament at 105 pounds falling just two points short (9-7) against Perry junior Mercedes Ponce in the regional championship match. Pekin sophomore Hailey Pedrick (24-8) advanced to state by pinning Ames sophomore Lily Anderson in the third-place match at 135 pounds while Fairfield freshman Samantha Lyons (22-4) earned a 3-0 win over Ankeny junior Josie Bishop in the 170-pound third-place match, securing a state berth in her first season of high school wrestling.
Action at the Iowa Girls High School State Wrestling Tournament gets underway at Xtream Arena on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. The tournament concludes with the grand march of top-eight placewinners followed by the state championship matches on Friday night starting at 6 p.m.
— Scott Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.