It was a momentous year for high school athletics in Dallas County, with exceptional performances throughout. Here is a look back at the year in sports, as we begin what is sure to be an exciting 2014.
Ten area wrestlers reached the pinnacle in February, the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Dallas Center-Grimes’ Trevor Murano grabbed his second consecutive top-five finish in Class 3A, while Matt Taylor wrapped up his senior season with a fifth-place finish. Chris Grow of Waukee claimed an eighth-place finish.
Besides Murano, three others are aiming for a return trip to state this season: Blake Wolinski of DC-G, Chase Wyant of Van Meter and Colton Milosevich of Woodward-Granger. Other qualifiers a year ago were Troy Gatzionis and Ryan Glenn of Waukee; Dylan Nelson of A-D-M; and Brent Carlson of W-G.
On the basketball court, the DC-G boys’ basketball team reached the state tournament for the third time in the past four seasons after a thrilling 64-61, overtime substate victory over Norwalk. The Mustangs, who won the Raccoon River Conference championship in their final season as a member of the conference, finished with a 22-3 record and lost 55-45 to Davenport Assumption in the state tournament.
The Fillies also won a conference title, but fell short in the regional final to Winterset, 44-40, to end the year at 17-6. It was an unfortunate finish that other girls’ teams in the area could empathize with: A-D-M, Woodward-Granger and Waukee all lost regional final matchups, ending the season one game shy of reaching state. The Hawks fell in the regional final for the second year in a row, while the Warriors missed out on a state trip for the first time since 2007.
The Waukee boys’ swim team completed a successful season with a ninth-place state finish. Freshman Jack Scafuri was third in the 200-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke, while senior Jordan Reinard was fourth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
It was a banner season for the Waukee girls’ golf and track squads: Both teams repeated as state champions.
The golf team, led by individual medalist Kelsy Shay, carded a 325 to win the rain-shortened Class 5A tournament by 15 strokes over Pleasant Valley. The track team outscored Pleasant Valley 38-23 on the final day of the competition to eke out an 80-78 victory.
Erin Bramble won the discus while the shuttle hurdle foursome of Emma Drees, Emily Kamm, Mallory Smith and Maddie Rouw re-set the all-time state best with a 1:01.87 time, surpassing the record they set earlier in the year at the Drake Relays. Coach Jesse Hunt was named the Gill Athletics National Girls’ High School Girls’ Track Coach of the Year.
The Waukee boys posted wins in the shuttle hurdle (Noah Larrison, Riley Gray, Josh Brdicko, Jared Brdicko) and 4x400 (Corbin Lowe, A.J. Allen, Ross Vogel, Larrison), and finished third overall, the best finish in team history.
Woodward-Granger’s quartet of Abby Musser, Maddie Bardole, Miranda Kuehl and Haley Manning won the 4x200 title, finished second in the sprint medley and 4x100, and third in the distance medley. The Hawks’ Andrew McCune won the discus title and placed sixth in the shot put.
The Fillies logged a ninth-place finish in Class 3A for the third season in a row, and Madison Waymire pushed her state-medal haul to 12 with a second-place finish in the 800 and a fourth-place finish in the 3,000. The Fillies scored in six events, including fifth-place finishes in the sprint medley, distance medley and 4x200.
The A-D-M girls scored in five events and finished 13th. Kari Dufoe was third in the 100 and fifth in the 200 and anchored the 4x400 team (Torrie Hook, Brianna Mueller, Regan Engleman) to a school record and fourth-place finish.
A-D-M’s Brody Boston and Woodward-Granger’s Alex Harlan qualified for the state golf meet. In tennis, Waukee’s Jake Kuyper and Mike Sylvester were eighth at the state doubles competition, and Drew Hays competed in the singles competition, while on the girls’ side, Kayla Kuethe finished fourth in singles for Waukee’s best finish in school history. She finished the year 18-5 and reached the state tournament for the third time.
In soccer, A-D-M, Dallas Center-Grimes and Waukee all reached the girls’ state tournament. The Tigers fell to eventual champion Cedar Rapids Xavier for the second year in a row, while the Warriors lost to Ankeny in the semifinals for the second straight season. DC-G reached the state tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons, but was turned away by Pella, 2-1. The A-D-M boys also reached the state soccer tournament, their fourth trip in the last five years, but were turned away by Waverly-Shell Rock, 2-1.
Dallas Center-Grimes’ trip to the top was completed with the Class 4A state championship.
The Fillies were second in 2012 and third in 2011, but won the school’s first state title for a girls’ team by beating Carlisle 5-2 in the title game. Pitcher Paige Lowary was the all-tournament team captain after striking out 16 and allowing just 10 hits in 21 innings, and she was joined on the tournament team by Taylor Draisey (.500 average, four RBIs), Brooke Kramer (.455, three runs) and Dani Heritage (.400, five RBIs), who helped DC-G outscore its opponents 22-5 over three games. DC-G finished the year 38-5.
On the baseball diamond, Van Meter opened eyes with a 34-win season that took the Bulldogs to their first state tournament since 2003. The team logged a 6-4 quarterfinal win over St. Mary’s of Remsen, but were turned away by Van Buren, 14-4, in the semifinal to finish the year 34-9.
Dallas Center-Grimes, the defending Class 3A champion, made a return trip to Principal Park but fell to Harlan, 4-0, in the quarterfinal. The Mustangs finished the year 21-14.
Van Meter’s prowess on the baseball diamond carried over to the gridiron in what was a momentous season for football in Dallas County.
A-D-M, Waukee, Dallas Center-Grimes and Woodward-Granger all reached the playoffs, but none went farther than the Bulldogs, who made their first trip to the UNI-Dome in school history and first semifinal appearance since 1996.
Behind a strong offense headed by quarterback Brandon Brittain (2,927 total yards, 35 touchdowns) and running back Cody Blackwell (1,433 yards, 18 touchdowns), as well as a stout defense, the Bulldogs rolled up 12 conseuctive victories before falling to St. Edmond 35-14 in the Class 1A semifinal.
Waukee’s 10-win season resulted in a division title and a trip to the quarterfinals, while Dallas Center-Grimes went from a three-win season in 2012 to a nine-win campaign and district championship in 2013. Both A-D-M and Woodward-Granger reached the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
Behind the leadership of seniors Torrie Hook, Haley Schepers, Maddie Powers and Allison Gottschalk, the A-D-M volleyball team won its first conference title since 2006. The Tigers posted a 25-13 record, but fell short in the regional final against Waverly-Shell Rock.
In cross country, DC-G’s Waymire claimed her fourth state medal with a sixth-place finish. The Fillies, making their fourth straight trip to state, finished 14th. The Mustangs made their first state trip since 2010 and were led by Jacob Cline, who posted the sixth fastest time for a freshman in 17:53. Brianna Mueller and Josh Berger of A-D-M also competed.
Waukee’s Ryan Tunink claimed a ninth-place finish in the Class 4A race, helping the Warriors to a seventh-place team finish. The Warrior girls, in their ninth consecutive trip to state, snagged a sixth-place team finish.
The Waukee girls’ swim team finished eighth at state, the first top-10 finish for the team in four years as an independent program. The Warriors scored in nine events, and Maddie Gehrke was second in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100.