For the second straight year the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association is holding a girls state tournament.
This year’s tournament is a two-day event, Friday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 25 at Waverly-Shell Rock High School.
Southwest Iowa junior Kennedy Lamkins and freshman Riley Spencer are two of the registered entries in this year’s field.
To say this year’s field is bigger than last year’s is a massive understatement. Last year’s state tournament field featured 87 wrestlers, this year’s has 376. There are four different weight classes with more than 60 registered competitors and nine of the 11 weight classes will have at least 20 in the bracket.
Lamkins has been part of Southwest Iowa’s varsity lineup for part of the season while Spencer has wrestled mainly at the junior varsity level for the Warriors.
“This is Riley’s first year ever wrestling,” said Southwest Iowa head coach Aaron Lang, “and for her to see a tournament like this, it’s going to be huge. She wants to be amazing, she wants to be good. She’ll get to see other girls from across the state that have put in the time and work and it should drive her to get better.”
“Kennedy is a hard-nosed wrestler who is getting better each week,” added Lang. “For her to go wrestle other girls and compete at the state tournament that will be a stepping stone for her.”
After a 101 percent increase in the number of girls wrestling in the state last year, the number this year has exploded to 559, an increase of nearly 300 percent. Lang said a tournament like this will be huge for the continued growth of girls wrestling in the state.
The brackets were released at iawrestle.com Thursday morning. Lamkins will wrestle sophomore Maddie Gottschalk of North Scott in the first round at 138 pounds while Spencer competes in the 113 pound bracket with freshman Sierra Hansmeier of Crestwood as a first-round opponent.
Wrestling begins at 5 p.m. Friday and will last until approximately 10:30. Every competitor is guaranteed two matches. The athletes that are still in the field will come back at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the finals scheduled for 11:30.