Seven Perry wrestlers punch their tickets to state tourney

PHS sophomore Lauren Rodgers, third from left, captured first place after pinning all her opponents in the Region 4 Qualifier in Des Moines Friday. Photo courtesy PCSD

Regional contests begin Thursdy for the Jayette wrestlers, front row from left, Bella McDivitt, Charity Mickles, Taylor Atwell and Hailey Peterson; back row from left, Lauren Rodgers, Chelsea Mickles, Julie Maylum, Aiden Erickson and Mercedes Ponce. Photo courtesy PCSD

Friday was a bittersweet day for the Perry High School girls wrestling team. With nine hopefuls competing at the Region 4 Qualifier Tournament at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, they hoped to move nine through to state.

The format of the tournament this year only permits the top four wrestlers from each weight class to advance. With a total of eight regions in the state, the stage is set for a 32-girl bracket to be wrestled in Coralville this coming Thursday and Friday.

This will be the first time that the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union will hold a State Wrestling Tournament for Girls.

After 8.5 hours of wrestling, Perry secured seven placements . Those packing for Coralville are:

  • 105 lbs. Mercedes Ponce, a sophomore with a record of 33-12, placed 4th at Regionals.
  • 115 lbs. Taylor Atwell, a senior with a record of 34-12, placed 2nd at Regionals.
  • 125 lbs. Ayden Erickson, a freshman with a record of 31-15, placed 4th at Regionals.
  • 130 lbs. Charity Mickles, a senior with a record of 28-5, placed 3rd at Regionals.
  • 140 lbs. Julie Maylum, a sophomore with a record of 38-12, placed 2nd at Regionals
  • 145 lbs. Lauren Rodgers, a sophomore with a record of 41-8, placed 1st at Regionals
  • 235 lbs. Chelsea Mickles, a sophomore with a record of 11-3, placed 2nd at Regionals

“The atmosphere just got more exciting as the day progressed,” said PHS Assistant Coach T. J. Maylum. “With each match, the competition got tougher, and our girls stayed focused on the task. I had high hopes coming in because of the success that we had during the regular season. Atwell, both Mickles girls, Maylum and Rodgers were all seeded high in the the tournament, and they did not fall short.” 

Sophomore Lauren Rodgers, a first-year wrestler, once again upset her higher-ranked opponents and pinned her way through the tournament.

Two senior wrestlers finished their year with winning records and sixth-place finishes at the Region 4 Qualifier tournament. Hailey Peterson (21-13) and Isabella McDivitt (27-22) both took losses in the quarterfinal round and were bumped from placing in the top four.

Maylum praised the diligence of the Jayette grapplers.

“I am very impressed with the perseverance of underclassmen Mercedes Ponce and Ayden Erickson,” Maylum said. “With both taking a loss in their second match, they had to wrestle their way through the back half of their brackets for an opportunity to take a shot at the loser of the third/fourth place match. Both of them did just that, and snatched the fourth place away with victories in their fifth match of the day.” 

Perry girls took third place in their 25-team region, topped only by Ames (176 points) and Southeast Polk (216 points). Ames advances five grapplers to State, and Southeast Polk matches Perry with seven advancing.

The State tournament will be held at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville on Thursday, Feb. 2 and Friday, Feb. 3rd. Tournament information and ticket sales can be found at Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union website. 


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