Girls wrestling: Luedtke, Utterback claim state wrestling titles

Feb. 5—CORALVILLE — The dream scenario became a reality on Friday night.

Jasmine Luedtke and Reanah Utterback, two friends with a long history of growing up wrestling together in southeast Iowa, shined together on one of the biggest stages of high school wrestling in the state. Both claimed state championships at the second-annual Iowa High School Girls State Wrestling Tournament inside Xtream Arena, finishing unbeaten seasons with dominant showings in state finals.

Luedtke closed out her unforgettable career at Ottumwa High School by winning her 71st consecutive match for the Bulldogs, taking the 110-pound state title for the second straight year with an impressive 8-1 win over second-seeded Osage junior Gable Hemann in the finals. Minutes later, Utterback claimed her first sanctioned state high school wrestling title by pinning West Liberty junior Silvia Garcia-Vasquez with 55 seconds left in the 115-pound championship match, finishing her junior season at S-K with a perfect 49-0 record.

"I feel like, when we were younger, it kind of felt like I was following Reanah because she was so far ahead of me," Luedtke said. "When we got to the same club, it felt like we started pushing each other back and forth. That's what makes great champions."

"We've been friends forever. It's great to be out showing what we can do," Utterback added. "We worked out a lot together when we were younger. We were practice partners together. I feel like we're in the same boat. Because I'm a year younger, I kind of feel like I'm mimicking Jasmine and doing everything she did. It's like a copy-and-paste list of accomplishments for a different person."

Utterback will have the chance to join Luedtke next season as a two-time IGHSAU girls state wrestling champion next season. After becoming just the second female wrestler to place at the Iowa High School boys state tournament last season, Utterback polished off a dominant first season of sanctioned girls wrestling for the Cobras pinning her way through two days of state competition securing her first four wins with first-period falls before building a 12-0 lead against Garcia-Vasquez, ultimately locking in the state-clinching fall.

Luedtke, meanwhile, signed her name for the second straight year after going the distance in the 110-pound final. Luedtke's riding made the difference against Hemann in the battle of the top two seeds in the weight class. After a scoreless opening period, Luedtke rode out Hemann throughout the second period and ultimately scored an important nearfall in the final seconds taking a 3-0 lead into the final period.

Six area wrestlers claimed medals at this year's Iowa High School Girls State Wrestling Tournament. Moravia junior Layla Ewing closed out a season that began with a dislocated knee with a 13-3 record and a fourth-place finish at 130 pounds, scoring three straight consolation-round falls before being pinned by 60-win Vinton-Shellsburg sophomore Chloe Sanders on Friday night in the third-place match with 34 seconds left in the opening period.

"Considering what I went through this year, I wasn't expecting to make it as far as I did," Ewing said. "I thought maybe the highest I would get would be eighth. Wrestling so many girls that have wrestled all season, I was definitely nervous about what would happen. When I got the pin in the (consolation semifinal), that got me pretty pumped up."

Cardinal senior Ajaah Cox also secured a state medal, finishing sixth at 155 pounds after knocking off three higher-seeded wrestlers on Thursday to open the state tournament. Despite suffering losses on Friday to Pella senior Emmalee Spurgeon and Mason City senior Kyleigh James, Cox (35-7) joins her older brother Isaiah, who coached Luedtke to state championships each of the past two seasons, as a high school state wrestling placewinner becoming Cardinal's first female state wrestling medalist.

"Getting wrestled out at regionals last year was the biggest heartbreak I've ever experienced," Cox said. "I had sticky notes all over my bathroom mirror saying I was going to be a state wrestling placewinner. It was a reminder to keep working hard all season. It wasn't going to be easy, but I couldn't give up. I worked too hard to give up on this dream."

Brianna Wolfer became Albia's first female state wrestling placewinner, finishing seventh at 105 pounds closing out a 32-5 senior season by pinning Southeast Polk senior Carissa Hersom in 3:38 on Friday afternoon. Abby Jager closed out a remarkable first season of high school wrestling by finishing eighth at 110 pounds, becoming Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont's first female state wrestling medalist while posting a 30-13 record.

"I've never experienced anything like that. It was breathtaking. You feel like you're on top of the world," Jager said. "There was so much potential here to let the environment be a big factor. It's a huge stage unlike anywhere I've ever wrestled before. It's new. It's uncomfortable, but it's mind over matter. I had to fix my mindset and attack every match the way I have all season.

"I've worked so hard for this the past two years. All the wins and all the losses are emotional at the state tournament, but it feels great to walk out with a win and a state medal," Wolfer added.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.