Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Cougar girls bowlers headed to state

MARSHALLTOWN -- Kennedy shake and Bakered its way to the state tournament Saturday.

Down by 32 pins to host Marshalltown after the first round, the Cougars shot a 975 Baker round for a 108-pin victory at the girls Class 2A regional tournament at Totem Bowl.  Kennedy qualified for the state tournament Feb. 25 at Des Moines.

Kennedy tallied a 2640 to win. Marshalltown was second with 2532, Cedar Rapids Washington was third with 2499 and Prairie was fourth with 2394.

All four teams were within 60 pins of each other after the first round. Amanda Weidemeier rolled a high game of 195 and 386 to lead the Cougars and Ashley Hoppe shot a 191 and 352.

The Cougars won the meet by rolling games of 161, 194, 191, 192 and 237 for a 975 Baker round total.

Washington was led by Olivia LaGrange who rolled a high game of 201 and 349 series.

Jami Kadolph shot a high game of 177 and Kate Palmer rolled a 350 series to lead Prairie.

Marshalltown's Hannah Dolezal shot high game and qualified for the state tournament.


Witte, Herman whip No. 1s to reach finals

DES MOINES -- Conner Herman could sing the national anthem before the state wrestling championships Saturday night if he had the time, but he's got more important things on his mind.

The Cedar Rapids Jefferson senior will be competing for the 3A state title at 215 pounds at Wells Fargo Arena. He's also a member of the Jefferson Show Choir when he's not wrestling, but he'll leave the singing to someone else this time.

Herman upset top-ranked Jesse South of Urbandale, 5-2, Friday night in the semifinals in his bid to become Jefferson's first state champion since 1998.

"According to the rankings, I wasn't supposed to beat him," said Herman, who is ranked fifth at 215. "I wasn't supposed to even be in the semifinals, according to the rankings. I am excited, because I'm where I'm not supposed to be."

Herman needs one more victory to give Jefferson its first state champion since Tim Ironside 13 years ago.

"It doesn't mean anything just to be in the finals," Herman insisted. "It means everything to win the finals."

Zach Witte of Prairie also upset a top-ranked wrestler in the semifinals and will join Herman in the Grand March Saturday night. Witte ran his record to 37-0 with a dramatic 5-1 overtime victory against Sioux City North's Chad Ryan, who won the Class 3A 130-pound title last year and was 47-1 before meeting Witte.


Xavier's Chicchelly goes high tech for win

DES MOINES -- Braxton Chicchelly used his skills as a wrestler and computer surfer to reach the semifinals of the Class 3A state wrestling tournament Friday.

Chicchelly, a 130-pound senior from Xavier High School, did not know anything about David Lewis of Bettendorf, his mystery opponent in the quarterfinals Friday morning, so he borrowed an assistant coach's laptop Thursday night in a local hotel room and did some research.

He googled "David Lewis" and found all sorts of useful information, including video of Lewis in action.

"I saw him wrestle an Oregon kid, and I tried to use the exact same thing the Oregon kid did," Chicchelly explained. "It worked for me."

Chicchelly dominated Lewis, 6-2, sending him to the semifinals Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Chicchelly said he used "heavy hands" to subdue Lewis. In other words, he tried to control his opponent's hands and make him submit to Chicchelly's other skills.

"I knew if I did that and kept the pressure up for six minutes, it was going to be a pretty good outcome," he said. "I kind of knew how to take him down and what kind of stragety to use."

Who says wrestling isn't high-tech?

"If I can do one little thing to get a mental edge or a physical edge, I'll do it," Chicchelly said, "because I want to get on the top of the podium."


Kennedy's Sheldon is symbol of perseverance

DES MOINES - Kennedy senior Ryan Sheldon has a tattoo on the upper-left side of his back, just under his muscular shoulder, adorned with Asian letters.

"I think Chinese," he said Thursday with a smile, perhaps a little sheepish that he didn't know for sure what language was represented.

The language doesn't matter to him, but the translation does.

"Perseverance," he said.

The word is appropriate, because it sums up Sheldon's wrestling career at Kennedy. He qualified for the state tournament as a freshman and sophomore, but did not place either time. He came back last year and finished eighth at 152 pounds, now he's back for a final try this season with bigger goals in mind.

Sheldon cruised to an 11-2 victory over Mike Freeman of Des Moines Roosevelt in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament Thursday morning at Wells Fargo Arena. That raised his record this season to a sparkling 39-1, with the only loss coming to a nationally ranked wrestler from Minnesota.

Perseverance, in any language.

"I know I'm not the best natural athlete," he said. "But I figure as long as I work hard and keep going and keep thinking positive that good things will happen for me."

Sheldon had a good start in Des Moines, but Metro wrestlers struggled overall with a 10-18 record in opening-round bouts. They redeemed themselves somewhat with a 10-8 mark in the wrestlebacks, making Metro grapplers 20-26 for the day.


Northrup forfeits historic match

DES MOINES -- Joel Northrup of Linn-Mar put his principles above his individual goals Thursday morning.

Northrup forfeited his opening-round match in the Class 3A state wrestling tournament to Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls because he did not think it would be proper for him to compete against a girl, based on his religious beliefs.

Herkelman and Megan Black of Ottumwa, both freshmen, became the first girls in state history to qualify for the state tournament this year, both of them in the same weight class with Northrup at 112 pounds.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments," Northrup said in a statement given to the media after the forfeit. "However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times.

"As a matter of conscience and faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa."

The forfeit dropped Northrup into the losers bracket of the 112-pound bracket and means he can finish no higher than third in the state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Northrup placed third at 103 pounds at state last year as a freshman and was considered a candidate to win the 112-pound title this year as a sophomore.

Northrup won his consolation round match with a major decision over Sam Jameson of Glenwood, 9-0.  He lost a triple overtime decision to Tyler Willers of Pleasant Valley Friday morning and was knocked out of the tournament.  Herkelman lost in the quarterfinals and consolations and also was eliminated.


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