Golden Hawks prepare for state

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The competition level was high on Saturday in Independence, but Sarah Meader continued her excellent season with another first-place finish in a final tune-up before the IWCOA girls state tournament this weekend. 

An injury kept Mia Garvey from finishing the Highland tournament just over a week earlier. She came back on Saturday to reach the final with two pins, finishing second. 

“Sarah Meader wrestled very well,” coach Dylan Walther said. “She gave up some weight and beat the sixth-ranked girl at 170 in the finals.” 

Meader, who is ranked fourth at 152, won the match by fall in 62 seconds over Muscatine’s Malia Cook, who had earlier won a first-round major decision over the third-ranked wrestler at 152. Meader won all three of her matches by pin. 

It was the first tournament of the year for the Mid-Prairie girls that was scored. 

“I thought we left a lot of points out there and still managed a pretty solid 10th place finish as a team,” Walther said. “We didn’t wrestle well on bottom, and we lost a handful of matches we were winning or were right in it, but got pinned.

“We were trying to find the sweet spot of using this tournament to develop and improve in the areas we need to, but also get wins against top-level girls and improve our seed for state.”

After several round-robin tournaments, Saturday was the first for the Golden Hawk girls with a traditional bracket. The first-round matches were critical, as a win guaranteed a top-four finish while a loss sent wrestlers to the consolation bracket with a fifth-place ceiling. 

“We had a couple of tough first-round matchups,” Walther said. “Bronwyn Brenneman drew the fourth-place girl at 120 last year.”

Brenneman bounced back from a first-round loss with a 4-0 decision in the consolation bracket, she went 1-2 for the day and finished sixth. 

Marissa Cline wrestled for the first time on Saturday and picked up her first career win in the seventh-place match after a couple of losses. Caitlyn Busch also won a seventh-place match. 

“Caitlyn Busch was close to a pin in her first-round match, but couldn’t get out from bottom and was pinned,” Walther said. “She also lost in overtime in the consolation semifinals, a couple of close matches that could have taken her from seventh to top four.”

Madison Kelly took the seventh-place match by medical forfeit. Abbie Grout wrestled her first matches of the year and finished eighth. Ellie Brenneman and Emil Harmston finished eighth as well. 

The Iowa girls high school state wrestling championships will be held January 22 and 23 at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville. 

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