Highland and Mid-Prairie Wrestlers punch their tickets to State at Cedar Rapids Tournament

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 2/1/23

With a chance to qualify for the state tournament the Mid-Prairie and Highland girls wrestling teams took a trip to The Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena in Cedar Rapids to participate in the State …

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Highland and Mid-Prairie Wrestlers punch their tickets to State at Cedar Rapids Tournament


With a chance to qualify for the state tournament the Mid-Prairie and Highland girls wrestling teams took a trip to The Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena in Cedar Rapids to participate in the State Qualifying Wrestling Super Regionals. 

More than 50 teams took part in this inaugural event, 25 in each region, with the Golden Hawks and the Huskies both ending the tournament with wrestlers earning the right to wrestle again in the state meet at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville next week.

Highland Results 

Finishing at 15 in the team standings with 59 points the Huskies had one wrestler earn a bid to state. 

To head to state someone would need a top 4 finish and Angelina Roling, at the 115lbs bracket, secured a third place finish. Overall she went 4-1 at this massive  tournament. 

Receiving a bye in the first round, Roling’s first matchup was against Benton Community’s Bailey Davis. Roling was able to pick up a win by fall in 2:13 and she was able to secure back-to-back wins with another victory by fall in the quarterfinal round in 5:02 over Mount Vernon’s Kiersten Swart. 

Roling’s sole loss of the tournament came in the semifinal round. It was a quick match that was over in a flash. West Liberty’s Silvia Garcia-Vasquez won by fall in just 18 seconds against Roling. 

Not deterred from the fast loss, Roling won by decision, 3-0, in the consultation semifinal round over Linn-Mar’s Lauren Pulis. This was her only match that did not end in a fall. 

In her final match of the tournament with third place on the line, Roling won by fall in 2:50 over Midland’s Alyssa Eckhardt. With this win Roling earned 22 team points, the team high, and officially punched her ticket to compete in the state tournament.

“Angelina wrestled a great tournament and really fought hard to make it through,” Highland coach Dylan Stewart said. “She has been working hard all year and has come a long way, especially this last month. She’s placed high in the last few tournaments of the year so momentum was on her side and we are looking to keep that rolling as we get into the state tournament.”

Lilly Barre finished in fifth place in the 120lbs bracket, earning 15 team points. Receiving a bye in the first round Barre’s first win of the tournament was by fall in 1:48 over Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Grace Hallam. 

The quarterfinal round ended up being Barre’s longest match of the night, losing by fall in 5:47 to Linn-Mar’s Ally Jelinek. 

Now in the consultation bracket Barre’s next win came by medical forfeit over Independence’s Claire Carey. In round five Barre won by decision, 10-4, over Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Emma York. 

Her bid for state came to an end in the consultation semifinal match where she was unable to tie and surpass her opponents points and ultimately lost by decision, 7-4, to Bettendorf’s Isabella Giza.  

Ending the tournament with a win Barre won her fifth place match by decision, 2-0 with both of her points being escape points, over Tipton’s Saidee Hamilton. 

Mackenzie McFarland placed fifth in the 110lbs bracket. Ending the tournament with 19 team points, her first win came after a bye in the first round when she secured victory in round two by fall in 1:03 over Washington’s Jillian Langstraat.

Not being able to pick up consecutive victories, McFarland lost the next round by fall in 5:43 to Linn-Mar’s Kate Seery. 

Determined to not let that loss discourage her, McFarland was able to win her next match in the consultation bracket by fall in 1:18 over Davenport’s Lina Nguyen. With the possibility of heading to state still very much alive she won again by fall, this time in 5:55 over Bettendorf’s Emily See.

In a match where the winner would guarantee a third or fourth place spot McFarland lost by fall in 3:11 to West Liberty’s Alissa Sanchez. After the loss she was able to win her last match on the tourney by fall in 1:05 over Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Elizabeth Renshaw to procure fifth place. 


Mid-Prairie Results 

The Golden Hawks racked up 152 team points in the tournament which was good enough for a fourth place finish. 

Setting a school record for qualifiers in a single meet, Mid-Prairie had five wrestlers, Gabi Robertson, Ellie Brenneman, Grace Conway, Mia Garvey, and Ellie Callahan, securing a bid for the state tournament.

“The past few years the girls automatically qualified for the state tournament, this year we had to come out in the top four of some large brackets,” Mid-Prairie coach Dylan Walther said. “We also wrestled in an arena setting, some girls had some nerves in their first matches but were able to manage it for the most part.”

 Coming in second place in the 100lbs bracket and earning 24 team points Robertson went 2-1 at the tournament. Coming into this tourney as a ranked wrestler Robertson received a bye in the first and second round.

In her first match she won by fall in 1:48 over WACO, Wayland’s Elyssa Graber. The semifinal round saw a similar outcome with Robertson winning again by fall over Tipton’s Koda Fogg in 3:22. This win secured her place in the championship match.

The 1st place match was her only loss on the day. Robertson lost by fall in 4:59 against Fort Madison’s Hailey Kemper. Even with this loss she advanced to the state tournament with a runner-up finish. 

Another second place finish for the Golden Hawks was obtained in the 135lbs bracket by Brenneman. After a bye she won her first match by fall in 1:47 over Mount Vernon’s Meika Neal.

In her quarterfinal match she won by fall in 2:06 over Iowa City, City High’s Nicole Peterson. Starting the second period of the match in the bottom position, Brenneman immediately escaped Peterson’s hold and proceeded to take her down for a pin.  

Brenneman’s semifinal match was her third victory in a row. She won again by fall over Benton Community’s Lizzy Wolf in 3:28. With this win she would be wrestling for first place in the next round, 

“Ellie Brenneman was able to come from behind in the semifinals for the second week in a row. She has a unique style and skillset and is never out of a match,” Walther said. 

In a relatively quick match Brenneman was unable to capture the first place spot and lost by fall in 1:09 to Independence’s Dakota Whitman. With this runner-up finish Brenneman will participate in the state tournament next week.

Conway was able to finish in third place in the 140lbs bracket and earned 22 team points for her efforts. 

After two byes her first match was a victory by fall in 3:18 over Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Christy Kula. Conway, despite getting a nose bleed and wrestling a large portion of the match with cotton in her nose, thoroughly controlled the match winning 10-2 before her pin. 

The semifinal round was a doozy with Conway leading for most of the match, but lost by fall in 5:13 to West Liberty’s Nellie Stagg. 

“Grace Conway dropped a heartbreaker in the semifinals which would have punched her ticket to state. She was pretty down after that match but bounced back well,” Walther said. 

Not letting the goal of qualifying for state slip through her fingers Conway won her consolation semifinal match by fall in 0:52 over Independence’s Kenleigh Trumblee.  

In her third place match there wasn’t much of a contest. As the match started Conway bulldozed her opponent and pinned her, winning by fall in 0:10 over Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Josephine Budederi. With her third place finish Conway has earned the right to wrestle in the state tourney. 

“The last thing I told [Conway] before her 3rd/4th place match started was “six minutes”, remembering how she faded in her semifinal match,” Walther said. “She won with a ten second pin. She is heating up at the right time and has beat some girls with very good records. 

Garvey, in the 145lbs bracket, finished in third place and collected 22 team points. After a bye she started off the tournament with a win by fall in 0:59 over  Washington’s Jenna Bose.

She continued her winning ways in the quarterfinal round, this time via a 10-4 decision, over Independence’s Havana Griffith. This was Garvey’s only victory by decision in the tournament. 

The semifinal round proved to be a formidable challenge and saw Garvey lose by fall in 5:57 to Davenport’s Greta Brus. Getting knocked to the consolation bracket Garvey did not falter and won by fall in 3:14 over Bettendorf’s Kayleigh Jurczyk.

Garvey’s third place match was a rematch against Griffith. The results ended up being the same but different with Garvey picking up the win again but this time by fall in 4:34. Qualifying for state by placing third and finishing the tournament with a win will no doubt be a major confidence boost, 

“Mia was in a bracket with a lot of solid wrestlers. Moving down a couple of weights during the season, we had not wrestled many of them so we didn’t really know what to expect,” Walther said. “She has a really good knack for making the right adjustment in a scramble.”

Callahan was able to snatch the third place spot in the 170lbs bracket and acquire 24 points. Entering the tournament as a lower seed her margin of error going into the tournament was low. 

“Ellie Callahan had an outstanding tournament, finishing in 3rd place as a 6-seed,” Walther said. “She was on her back early in her first consolation match, which would have ended her season, but fought off her back to get the pin. She has shown how tough she is throughout the season, she has been dealing with a nagging injury from her first tournament back in November.”

After her win by fall in 1:11 over Durant’s Alyssa Ostofi, Callahan was beaten by decision, 7-0, to Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Joscelyn Stricker. The end result may seem lopsided but going into the 3rd period Callahan was only losing 1-0. 

In the consultation bracket Callahan won three straight matches by fall, all under two minutes (1:36, 1:22, 1:31). These wins gave her the right to wrestle in the third place match.

Ending the tourney with a revenge victory Callahan won by decision, 6-2, over the opponent she lost to in the quarterfinals, Stricker and officially punched her ticket to state.

“I am extremely proud of this group, everyone has put in the work this season and came a long way since October 31. I am happy for the five we have moving on,” Walther said.