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Two Cardinals punch tickets to girls state wrestling tournament

Jan. 28—DES MOINES — Ashlyn Van Manen won only eight matches all of last year. And she left Hy-Vee Hall at last year's super regionals winless.

So there weren't a ton of expectations placed on her for this season. In fact, she returned to the Iowa Events Center on Friday with the hopes of winning just one match this time around.

Van Manen's season did not end in downtown Des Moines though after the Cardinal junior won three times, including two after facing a deficit, and her fourth-place finish at 190 pounds locked up one of two state berths for the Newton girls' wrestling team.

"It feels amazing. I can't tell you how proud I am of myself," Van Manen said. "I walked in here today hoping to win one match. I wanted to prove to myself I was better than last year."

Kylee Adams

Van Manen will be joined at state by freshman Kylee Adams, who won the Region 3 championship at 100 pounds.

Adams was 3-0 for the day with all three wins coming by a combined four points.

"It feels really good," Adams said about clinching her first state berth. "I went into the day feeling like I was going to win. I felt good about it.

"I just tried to go as hard as I could for six minutes."

Newton's eight wrestlers scored 84 points and that was good enough to tie Albia for 11th place in the 25-team field.

Ankeny cruised to the regional championship with 277 points, while Dallas Center-Grimes (177), Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (161), Ames (158) and Ottumwa (132) completed the top five.

The next five were Pella (99), Iowa Valley (98), Iowa City High (97), Nevada (97) and Perry (92).

Half of the Cardinals' eight-person lineup reached the semifinals, including Adams, Van Manen, Stella Cupples and Ella Machin.

Claire Breuer

Adams' day included wins of 14-13, 5-4 and 7-5. She downed Ankeny's Lauren Watson (36-8) in the semifinals and then rallied from a 4-0 hole to defeat Boone's Poppy Malone (23-8) in the championship bout.

Adams (28-8) scored a late reversal in the final few seconds to clinch the win over Malone. She also fought off a pin in the final 20 seconds of the second period of her first match of the day.

"I saw the time. And I just thought 'I cannot get pinned right now,'" Adams said. "It hurt, but I had to push through it.

"I just tried to keep moving there at the end of the finals match. It was a feeling there as far as when to go for it. You kind of work on things all year that help you in that kind of situation."

Newton head girls wrestling coach Chad Garvis said being in a close match and winning was nothing new to Adams.

"She's wrestled a lot of close matches this year so she's comfortable with those," Garvis said. "She was able to go through the adversity during the year and that helped her today."

Stella Cupples

Van Manen (17-7) had the team's next best finish in fourth at 190, while Cupples was fifth at 110 and Machin ended up sixth at 170.

The top four finishers in each weight class at each regional advance to next week's state tournament in Coralville.

"As a coach you always want to get more through and do as well as you can, but ultimately all of our girls wrestled well," Garvis said. "They all wrestled hard. There are some tears right now. But that means they care. We made a ton of progress this year."

Van Manen went 3-2 with three pins in her 10-person bracket. She won two matches she trailed in and knocked off Boone's Cadence Heggen in the quarterfinals with a first-period pin.

Van Manen later lost to Heggen in the third-place match and was forced into a wrestle back for a true fourth and a spot in the state tournament. She won that match by fall despite trailing 6-4 at the time of the pin.

"I knew I was improving, and I told myself I could always go one more minute. I could always come back," Van Manen said. "If I could go back in time and tell myself I would be a state qualifier this year, I would have been like 'yeah, uh huh, you're funny.'"

Cupples (24-6) was 3-3 and finished fifth in her 15-person bracket at 110. She won three times by fall and two of her losses came to state-ranked grapplers.

Kylee Ashley

She fell in the semifinals to 10th-ranked Nora Bockes of Ankeny and lost to eighth-ranked Ashlyn Leslie of Nevada in a fourth-place wrestle back that decided a state berth.

The 110-pound bracket also included top-ranked Jasmine Luedtke of Ottumwa.

Machin (24-13) was 2-3 at 170. She won once by fall and advanced to the semifinals with a 9-8 victory. She lost three straight matches after that.

Claire Breuer (21-13) capped her prep wrestling career with a 2-2 day at 135. She won a 14-5 major decision and also scored a win by fall.

One of Breuer's losses came against ninth-ranked and regional champion Bella Mulder of DCG in the quarterfinals.

The Cardinals' other win came from Kylee Ashley at 235. She was 1-2 for the day. Her win was a 2-1 decision and she also suffered a 3-2 loss.

Ashley's other loss came by fall to third-ranked and regional champion Breanna Peach (31-0) of Iowa Valley.

Newton's other two wrestlers were Savannah Carr (140) and Shawna Foreman (155), who both finished 0-2 at their weights.

The second Iowa Girls High School State Wrestling Championships kick off at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Xtreme Arena in Coralville.

Adams will be the No. 13 seed at 100 pounds, and she faces No. 20 seed Alexis Kolbet (31-20) of Osage in the opening round.

Ashlyn Van Manen

Van Manen is seeded 25th at 190. She opens the tournament with eighth-seeded Ciera Hutton-Spieker (25-1) of Interstate 35.

Notes: Van Manen made the state tournament one year after going 8-21 in her first season as a wrestler. She also came back this season from a three-week absence due to injury. "Once you believe you can win a match, it becomes a habit," Garvis said. "Winning is contagious, and (Van Manen) used the momentum of winning to carry her today. Based on her record last year, I would have been happy to see her go .500 this year. She's improved a lot. It's a cool story."