SIOUX CITY — Even though East High School’s Yareli Morales hasn’t competed in many matches this season, her confidence has grown throughout the season.
Morales will be among the field in the IWCOA girls state wrestling tournament, which begins Friday at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville, Iowa.
The Black Raiders junior received a first-round bye in the 106-pound weight class, and Morales is ranked seventh in the state, according to IAwrestle.com.
The main goal for Morales, according to coach Jacob Colon, is making the top-eight at the tournament, which would give her a spot on the podium, but she also wants to put on a good showing in front of the biggest stage in Iowa girls wrestling.
“I think her goal is just to go out and fight,” Colon said. “She wants to keep going match-by-match and give it her all.”
Morales is just 2-0 on the season, but she’s been working with the East boys 106 and 113-pound wrestlers in the wrestling room.
Colon has seen Morales give the smaller-weighted guys a run for their money at practices, and that has allowed Morales to gain more confidence, not only for the weekend state meet but just in general.
She pushes the boys to their full potential, and in return, Morales gets better as the boys give her their all on a daily basis.
“She’s been competing well, and with the experience she had last year, I think she’s more ready,” Colon said. “This year, after being there last year, I think she’s ready to put her mark out there. I think she’ll be just fine with what she already knows in the past. She should be good to go.”
Morales has been working on her shots on the mat this season. Last season, Morales had a tendency to throw her opponent.
Colon and the East coaches have taught Morales to define those shots so that she wouldn’t rely on her throw.
East will also be represented by sophomore Angeleen Rasmussen, and she will compete at 120 pounds.
She enters the state tournament with a 9-2 record, and faces Dubuque Wahlert’s Olivia Pfeiler in the first round.
Rasmussen moved in from Kansas City shortly after the 2020 IWCOA girls tournament. She became quickly interested in the East girls wrestling program.
“She is just a straight brawler,” Colon said. “She’s very physical and tough. She goes back-and-forth with the guys in the wrestling room. She keeps going and never stops. She will take a beating if she has to, and she never backs down.”
Rasmussen is a technical wrestler, and she wrestled for the Black Raiders boys varsity team this year, too. She has three wins by fall.
West will be sending senior Jazmine Murdock to the tournament to compete at 132. Murdock has competed in 18 matches this season, and she’s won four of them.
Her first match will be against Sumner-Fredricksburg sophomore Cassandra Rich, and the winner faces Fort Dodge’s Alexis Ross.
Le Mars has two ranked
The Bulldogs are sending 10 wrestlers to the state meet, according to trackwrestling.com, and two of them are ranked.
At 113, Calla Langel is seeded seventh and Brooke Rood is eighth at 285.
Langel has a 9-7 record, and her first match is against Karlee Bellenger of Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom.
Rood is 3-3 and faces Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Lexi Mikulas in the first round.
Ridge View/River Valley sends eight to state
Correctionville and Holstein will be well-represented on the mat by sending eight wrestlers to the state tournament.
Four of those eight girls will be freshmen, and it’ll be the first time those girls will be competing in that large of a girls tournament.
One of those girls, however, has a lot of experience.
Izzy Deeds is seeded fourth in the 138 bracket. She knows a thing or two about competing in big tournaments.
Deeds is a three-time AAU girls state champion, a three-time boys AAU qualifier, a USA girls state champion, and has won the Corn County Nationals as well as the Turkey Nationals.
Deeds thought about going up to 145 this season, but she didn’t want to because of the challenging field that 138 has to offer. Deeds wanted to battle against some of the best in the state.
“She never shies away from competition,” RV/RV coach Troy Greder said. “She wants to be out there. She wants to wrestle whoever. She’s one of those people who leads by example.”
There are two other wrestlers who are ranked: Tatum Shepherd is seventh at 120 pounds and Jolynn Tiefenthaler is ninth at 113.
With the eight wrestlers Greder is sending to the Iowa City area, the goal is getting top-5 in the team standings.
Griffin leads Spencer squad
The Tigers are sending several wrestlers to the tournament, and that group is led by Morgan Griffin.
Griffin is the top-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds, and Griffin has been wrestling since she was a little kid. She’s not looking to just win, she’s looking to dominate.
“She’s a seasoned wrestler and she knows how to handle the pressure,” Tigers girls coach Dave Storm said. “She’s been in these situations before.”
Griffin has worked on being more offensive and taking shots. She also knew she needed to get better in the neutral position, and she worked on some throws.
She had a good headlock last week, according to boys coach Adam Gress, that impressed several people.
Basically, she’s working on not being one-dimensional.
The other girls look to Griffin as the leader. She’s taken on the task of coaching Paris Dean, who is ranked sixth at 170. Dean has asked Griffin many questions about wrestling, and without Griffin, Storm doesn’t think Dean has developed as well as she has.
The third ranked Tigers wrestler going down this weekend is Olivia Huckfelt, seeded third at 285.
Storm said that Huckfelt needs to stay with her gameplan.
“She’s a high-level wrestler for a heavyweight,” Storm said. “She’s not just going to headlock you and throw you down. She’s good on her feet, she's good on the bottom and she’s good on the top. The girls rated ahead of her are seniors, but they’re not going to run into someone like Olivia, she’s very experienced.”