Decorah stands high above the rest

By Becky Walz,

The Decorah girls’ wrestling team members could hardly contain their excitement as they were announced as the team champions Friday night at the 2024 IGHSAU State Wrestling Tournament. (Driftless Multimedia photo by Becky Walz)

The victory bell was ringing in Decorah Saturday night after the Viking girls’ wrestling team finally caught its breath from a whirlwind end to the weekend — and a team state title.
Due to a state speech contest Saturday, the firetruck ride and bell ringing, along with a celebration rally was held Saturday — a night after the Vikings blew away the competition at the state wrestling tournament at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville.
Decorah tallied 141 points, leaps and bounds ahead of East Buchanan and Raccoon River-Northwest who tied for second with 96 points. In addition the Vikings recorded 24 pins during the two-day tournament with two wrestlers in the finals and five place winners.

Four-time champion
The Viking team also boasts the first four-time state champion in girls’ wrestling history in Iowa — Naomi Simon. The senior pinned her way to the finals at 170 pounds. She opened the tournament over Genevieve Lantigua of Marshalltown, throwing her in 1:13.
Next in her way was Kensi Steele of Iowa City Liberty who Simon turned in 1:04 to advance to the quarterfinal round. It took the Viking 1:39 to pin Aleah Johnson of Raccoon River-Northwest and she kept the pin action going in the semifinal round against West Marshall’s Averie Wittkop, throwing her in 1:09.
In her only non-fall action of the tournament, N. Simon took down Autumn Elsbury of South Tama County by a 15-2 major decision.

Runner-up
Junior Chloe Sheffield came up just short of the top spot at 100 pounds as she fell to returning champion Katie Biscoglia of Raccoon River-Northwest by a 5-1 decision and still walked off the mat with a smile. Sheffield began her trek to the finals with a 9-1 major decision over Addison Schulte of West Delaware in round one and threw Sophia Calpito of Charles City in 2:44 to advance to the quarterfinals. There she got the pin in 5:53 over Algona’s Harley Tobin. It was NEIC match-up between Sheffield and Mia Kurth of Waukon in the semifinals, with the Viking getting the fall in 5:57.

Other Viking placewinners
After qualifying for state last year, but not placing, Ana Simon was one of the many Vikings who put in an extra effort in the off-season and it paid off as the sophomore was on the mat for third place Friday night at 145 pounds, coming away with the fall in 44 seconds.
Kamryn Steines also competed on the final night to place sixth at 190 pounds, falling by 3-0 decision to Charles City’s Leah Stewart, who had knocked Steines out in the quarterfinal.
Finishing eighth for the Vikings after falling 7-5 by sudden victory was Lauren Luzum at 155 pounds.

South Winn’s wrestlers
Two South Winn girls also saw action in Coralville — senior Kaydn Meyer at 125 pounds and Maddy Jansen at 135 pounds, both who competed at state a year ago as well.
Meyer concluded her final season with an eighth-place spot on the podium and a 38-10 record, while Jansen battled through an injury to qualify and went 1-2 at the tournament and finished 24-11.

Visit our website
To see the entire path to the podium for A. Simon, Steines and Luzum, along with the other Vikings who were in action (Ellie Adams-115; Mckenzie Tollefson-135; Amelia Wadsworth-140; Madsyen Lippe-235) and the South Winn wrestlers, visit www.driftlessjournal.com for the session-by-session coverage.

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