Newspaper Article Archive of
It has been a trailblazing season for Rylee Vercande.
The Mid-Prairie freshman was the first girl to win a match in Mid-Prairie wrestling history and now she’s the first place winner at the girls' state tournament with a fifth-place finish at 132 pounds.
This weekend’s girls state tournament hosted by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association at Waverly Shell Rock High School crowned 10 state champions, the first girls to be crowned champions in state history.
“(State) definitely wasn’t something I expected going into the season and found out a couple weeks in advance and said, 'okay now I have to train for this,”” Vercande said. “I was excited and it is nice to know we'll have it in the future and that we'll keep progressing and getting it bigger to be like the guys.”
Vercande is one of 157 female wrestlers this year in Iowa according to the IHSSA and she said it has been great timing for her freshman year to line up with the inaugural event.
She received a bye into the quarterfinal round, where she would face Kylie Doty of Colfax-Mingo. Colfax-Mingo brought one of the largest contingents to the tournament with seven wrestlers entered.
The two hand fought and traded shots in the first period, but both came up scoreless. After Doty deferred at the start of the second period, Vercande chose bottom and reversed her position 40 seconds into the period. Vercande got called for locked hands, but rode out Doty until the start of the third to make the score 2-1.
Doty chose neutral and scored a takedown just nine seconds into the third period. After 50 seconds of Doty bearing down on her, Vercande was able to roll through and go up 4-3 with a reversal.
As Vercande shifted her weight late in the match she was caught off-balance and Doty was able to score a reversal and two backpoints along with another penalty point for locked hands by Vercande. That ended the match 8-4 in favor of Doty.
“I wasn't in the right mindset and wrestled kind of scared and didn't wrestle how I needed to wrestle,” Vercande said.
But she wasn’t done yet, as she had three potential matches in front of her for a fifth-place finish.
“After the first match I had to forget it and couldn't let it get to me. I don't like to overthink things and as a wrestler you just need to be able to keep looking forward,” she said.
Vercande quickly bounced back with a pin in 2:17 in the second consolation round and a 20-second pin in the consolation semis to guarantee a spot on the podium. Going into her final match of the day, Vercande said she didn’t know how it would play out because Emma Grimm from Charles City had a size advantage on her.
Those fears faded quickly as Vercande used her agility to score a sweeping single leg takedown 30 seconds into the match. She outscored Grimm 7-2 in the first and pressed her advantage the rest of the way to a 14-3 victory.
Annika Behrends of Waverly-Shell Rock won the title at 132 pounds, outlasting Olivia Diggins 10-9 in the final.
Vercande said now with her freshman state tournament in the books, it only motivates her more for the future.
“Obviously I want to succeed in my high school season with the guys, but what matters to me is my end result at the girls state tournament,” Vercande said.
2019 IWCOA Girls State Champions
106 - Ali Gerbracht, AGWSR
113 - Tateum Park, Davenport North
120 - Chloe Clemons, Cedar Rapids Jefferson
126 - Sydney Park, Davenport Central
132 - Annika Behrends, Waverly-Shell Rock
138 - Avery Meier, Waverly-Shell Rock
152 - Toyia Griffin, Nashua-Plainfield
170 - Jacenta Sargisson, LeMars
195 - Millie Peach, Iowa Valley
285 - Rilee Slycord, Colfax-Mingo
1. Waverly-Shell Rock, 144 points
2. Colfax-Mingo, 78 points
3. Charles City, 73 points