Quarter 1 Review 2022
Every coach will tell you how important it is to get off to a quick and efficient start as the first quarter sets up the tempo for the rest of the game. Well sports here on KILJ followed that advice and carried the tempo throughout the entire year. Southeastern Iowa brought their game this year and now it’s time to bring you back to the start of the year and remind you of the highlights brought to you by Two Rivers Bank.
The year got started with Mt. Pleasant hiring Jordyn Dingman to take over the girls’ golf program that finished as runners-up in the conference and sent Ellie Liechty to the State Golf Tournament after Kirby Booton’s retirement. Later in January, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union made the historic announcement to sanction girls wrestling for the 2022-2023 academic year. Staying with the theme, Abby Blint and Ella McNamee made history for Mt. Pleasant when they competed at the State Championship and Blint added to the history by getting on the podium and placing 7th. Moving over to the boy’s wrestling side, Burlington Notre Dame had been gaining speed throughout the regular season to make history at the Conference Meet where they set a record for largest team margin of victory to claim the SEISC Title. We’ll be visiting them again later. Lastly for January, Iowa Wesleyan had two conference players of the week with Brittany West snatching CAC Player of the Week for basketball and Bri Hunter getting NSAA Indoor Field Athlete of the Week after setting a new school record in the shot-put.
February brought us dramatic storylines for basketball and wrestling with trips to state sprinkled in for fun. The New London boys basketball team started out the month winning the SEISC conference tournament 54-40 over Winfield-Mt. Union as they were looking poised for a big run. Burlington Notre Dame continued their wrestling dominance as the Nikes were marching their way to state after beating Albia in the Regional Championship. While Marcel Lopez for the New London Tigers was busy making his own history as he won his 200th match on his way to the state tournament where he ended with gold around his neck for the fourth time, marking him as the 30th wrestler in Iowa High School history to pull off the feat. Notre Dame captured the 2A State Title thanks to Blaine Frazier and C.J Walrath each capturing gold themselves. WACO’s Jonah Clark finished in 2nd after knocking out the top seeded Matthew Francis in the semifinals. WACO would keep the tradition of taking out the top dog as their victory over New London in the district semifinal 60-52 knocked the Tigers out of postseason play thanks to Hunter Hughes and Colton Leichty’s late game free throw shooting. And why not add some state bowling to the mix as Eden Svoboda and Cole Wohlleber represented Mt. Pleasant at the tournament. Svoboda bowled a series 477 to finish in 24th while Wohlleber captured 26th. Girls’ basketball saw Burlington Notre Dame scoring at will to punch their ticket to state as Megan Harrell scored 17 points leading the Nikes to an 83-22 win over English Valleys. And in case you thought WACO would keep taking down the top dog, the Bears of Danville would ruin the Cinderella tale winning in Triple OT to move on to state with Sawyer Nelson accounting for 20 points and 20 rebounds in the effort. To end the month, the Iowa Wesleyan women’s basketball team handled Haskell Indian Nations University to claim the 2022 Continental Athletic Conference Championship as Brittany West led the team with 24 points.
The end of the quarter featured records, award recognition and a big coaching announcement. Firstly, the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association released their Pizza Ranch All-Star game rosters with Mt. Pleasant’s Dewon Trent claiming a spot and we have a highlight from his season. On the girl’s side, Curt Watson was named co-coach of the Southeast Iowa Girls’ team. Andrea Lopreato and Kenna Lamm headlined the First team All-SEC as Lopreato averaged a double-double and Lamm averaged 12 points a game. Lopreato joined Bradie Buffington as third-team selections for the All-State team. Trent followed the All-Star appearance with a first-team selection for the SEC, as Payton Hagans was named second team SEC. New London’s Blaise Porter joined the Third-Team All-State team after his 17.5 points per game. Lastly at the high school level, Jadan Brumbaugh tossed the shot put 44 feet, 8 inches to take first place at the indoor state meet at Ames in early March. Now, moving to the college level, the Tigers women’s basketball team had some stellar players including Brittany West, who notched a record 39 points in the last game of her college career. West was named Newcomer of the Year for the CAC and Most Outstanding Player for her efforts during the CAC tournament. Kyla Moore would take home two awards from the CAC as she was named Player of the Year for her 17.8 points per game and shared Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Steve Williamson, in his first year back at Iowa Wesleyan, nabbed CAC Coach of the Year for leading the Tigers to a 19-5 season and the CAC Championship. The Tigers women’s wrestling team had their own success as Adaugo Nwachukwu won the NAIA National Championship, the first to ever do so in Iowa Wesleyan’s history. Mia Palumbo finished as the runner-up in her weight class after an impressive freshman campaign. Aduago and Palumbo both were named to the First-Team All-Conference teams as Alaina Sunlin and Joanna Vanderwood made the Second Team, and Destiny Campbell made the Third Team. Aduago would add one more award notch to her belt as USA Wrestling announced that she was the USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week after her National Championship performance as just a freshman. We’ll be hearing more from her. Lastly, at the end of March, Iowa Wesleyan named Mount Pleasant native, Jordan Ashton, the new head coach for men’s basketball. We’ll revisit this hire in the fourth quarter to see how the former state and national champion is faring in his first year. With this strong start, tune in tomorrow to see how Southeast Iowa kept up the momentum as the Year in Review is brought to you by Two Rivers Bank!