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Highway 34 recaps second season

Feb. 27—In only its second season, the Highway 34 girls wrestling co-op boasted 14 wresters, sending four to the state tournament.

In a change of coaching from their debut year, Creston's Maggie Arnold took over as head coach for the team comprised of wrestlers from Creston, East Union and Lenox.

Not only was participation up this season, but the team started racking up wins. They started the season with a win at the Valkyrie Open, topping 12 competing teams. They continued with tournament wins at I-35, Riverside and Ottumwa. At Central Dewitt, the team came home with silver. Highway 34 finished the season with a 12-1 dual record, falling only to the S.W.AT. Valkyries, a team comprised of wrestlers CAM, Atlantic and Nodaway Valley.

This season provided the wrestlers their first opportunity to wrestle in front of their home crowd. They won their dual with Indianola 54-12 in their home debut. Due to weather, the Panther Invitational and senior night were canceled, but are likely to make their appearance next season.

All 14 wrestlers and the two managers earned varsity letters this season, but three girls were awarded special titles. Ale Villanueva, the team's sole wrestler from Lenox, earned the Most Improved title as she continued to advance throughout the season.

In the front half of the season, Villanueva had a 6-9 record. In the back half, she went 10-9, finishing the season with a pin and a technical fall at super regionals in Sioux City. As a sophomore, Villanueva should be back next season.

Sydney Hoffman, a Creston sophomore, won the Miss Guts award for her gumption this season. Hoffman finished the season with a 26-15 record.

Creston junior Evy Marlin, was named Miss Wrestling. Marlin competed for the S.W.A.T. Valkyries last season before transferring to Creston this year. Marlin was a regional champion and state qualifier. She brought home a tournament win at I-35, Ottumwa and Riverside. She finished second at the Valkyrie Open, Saber Invitational and the Central Iowa Kickoff in Nevada.

Marlin finished the season with a 34-5 record, two of her losses coming from the state tournament where she wrestled 130.

The other three state qualifiers were Quynn Foster at 105, Zoey Vandevender at 125 and Savannah Sistad at 235. Sistad was the only returning state competitor.

None of the girls landed on the podium this year, but with only three seniors graduating, the program is expected to continue its success next year. Seniors are Brylea Woolums of East Union, Sistad of Creston and Hope Woods of Creston.

Arnold told the girls to keep working in the offseason. "It's important for them to be multi-sport athletes and continue competing for their schools," she said. "We are looking forward to next season and will build upon the success we had this season."

LETTERWINNERS

Ale Villanueva (Lenox)

Quynn Foster (East Union)

Khloe Parker (East Union)

Tesi Hudson (East Union)

Cheyenne Dike (East Union)

Brylea Woollums (East Union)

Hope Woods (Creston)

Sydney Hoffman (Creston)

Alainah Galanakis (Creston)

Zoey Vandevender (Creston)

Evy Marlin (Creston)

Grace Keeler (Creston)

Mila Kuhns (Creston)

Savannah Sistad (Creston)

Manager Sophie Hagle (Creston)

Manager Hannah Woods (Creston)