Your Prep Sports
With a new year and a new decade on the horizon it’s easy to look ahead.
That’s fine, and over the next few days before area prep teams get back into the swing of things this week Your Prep Sports will publish a story or two looking at what lies ahead in 2020.
But on the eve of a new year that will bring a new decade Your Prep Sports takes a moment to reflect on what was another incredible 12 months for area coaches, teams and athletes.
Before welcoming in what promises to be another exciting year in the Your Prep Sports area we take a moment to remember 20 of the best stories of 2019.
Winning a state wrestling title is always an impressive accomplishment. Claiming a state crown as a freshman in the fashion Hayden Taylor did last February is an even more of an extraordinary feat.
Taylor won his final 20 matches and finished 51-2, becoming the first freshman state champion in Solon history with an eye-popping run through the Class 2A 126-pound bracket.
He earned a 15-0 tech fall over a top-ranked, unbeaten defending state champion in the semifinals and won the state title match via 11-3 major decision.
In its first season seasons of varsity competition the Liberty High volleyball team posted a respectable 32-35 record.
Year three proved to be a magical one for the Lightning and head coach Randy Dolson.
Liberty High exceeded its win total from the previous two seasons combined going 34-3 and making its first ever state tournament appearance in its first season in Class 5A.
The Lightning won 13 consecutive matches, rattled off another 19-match winning streak while climbing to second in the Class 5A rankings before falling to Pleasant Valley in four sets its state tournament debut.
For the second time in program history Regina won a third straight state soccer title.
Regina edged Waterloo Columbus 1-0 in the Class 1A title match behind a Jonah Warren goal to claim its third consecutive state title and eighth in the past 11 seasons.
The Regals won their final eight matches and finished the season 18-6 while matching its streak of three consecutive titles from 2009 to 2011.
One of the better turnaround stories in the state this season featured one of the best comebacks of the year at the biggest moment.
West Branch returned to the state tournament for the first time since 20012 with a 3-2 win over Camanche 3-2 in the regional final on a ninth-inning walk-off single by Trey Eagle.
The dramatic win was part of an incredible resurgence for the Bears which finished 20-8 after failing to win more than 12 games in a season since 2012.
Forrest Frazier established himself as one of the top swimmers in the state as a sophomore in 2018 with a pair of individual state titles.
The City High standout added to his legacy and his state gold medal haul last season defending his title in the 100 breaststroke.
Frazier won the 100 breaststroke by nearly three seconds in a time of 55.17 at the 2019 state meet at University of Iowa Aquatic Center in Iowa City.
The first appearance for Liberty High freshman Ashlyn Keeney on the prestigious blue oval at Drake Stadium was one to remember.
Keeney won the Drake Relays 3,000 in a time of 9:39.64, the fourth fastest time in state history and the fastest time ever in Iowa by a freshman
The winning time was the eighth best mark in the country ever by a freshman in the event.
Izaak Hajek made a splash and a little history at the 2019 state swimming meet.
Hajek became the first Liberty High student to win a state championship when he won the 100 butterfly while competing for West High at the state meet at the University of Iowa Aquatic Center in Iowa City.
Liberty High and West High have a coop swim team and allowing Hajek to make history as the school’s first state champ when he won the 100 butterfly in 49.45.
One of top dynasties in Iowa prep sports history added to its legacy as West High won its ninth state tennis title with a 5-1 victory over Pleasant Valley in the Class 2A title match.
The title was the sixth in the past eight seasons for West High which has appeared in the Class 2A state title match in nine straight seasons.
West High went unbeaten on its way to the state title which moved the Trojans into a tie for second all-time with nine total titles behind only Dubuque Wahlert with 10 championships.
The West Branch golf team added to its storied golf history with a runner-up finish at the Class 2A state meet in Marshalltown.
West Branch finished with a 308, four strokes behind team champion Des Moines Christian in a rain-shortened tournament that was limited to one 18-hole round.
It was the top finish for West Branch since the Bears won their fifth state title in 1992.
Freshman Dylan Countryman fired a three-over par to earn individual runner-up honors for West Branch.
The City High girls basketball program has a long tradition of postseason success.
Last season the Little Hawks did something that had never been done in program history with a 57-40 win over Bettendorf in the regional finals.
The regional final win gave City High its first string of three consecutive state tournament appearances in school history.
West High came up one win away from pushing its state-leading title total to double figures falling to Waukee 3-1 in the Class 3A championship match.
Following a season-opening loss West High rattled off 18 consecutive wins to return to the 3A title game for the second time in three seasons.
The runner-up finish was the fourth all-time for West High which has won a state-best nine championships.
City High was one of surprises of the state in 2018 when it won 25 games and reached the state tournament for the first time since 2001.
In 2019 the Little Hawks proved that was no fluke.
City High posted one of the best seasons in program history capped by a third-place finish at the Class 5A state tournament.
The Little Hawks went 36-8, won its first Mississippi Valley Conference title since 1998 and earned its first winners’ bracket victory at the state tournament since 1982 to advance to the semifinals for the first time ever.
City High closed the season with a 6-3 win over Johnston in the third-place game.
Keeney backed up her impressive Drake Relays debut by claiming a pair of state titles in her first trip to the state track and field meet.
The Liberty High freshman won the Class 4A 3,000 in 10:04.09 and capped her weekend with a title in the 1,500 in 4:34.04.
Keeney added a runner-up finish in the 800 and was a member of the Liberty High distance medley relay team that finished runner-up to help the Lightning to a fourth-place team finish in Class 4A.
For the first time in three seasons City High had an individual state champion at the state track and field meet.
Junior Caroline Schaeckenbach won the Class 4A 400 meter hurdles in a career-best time of 1:03.37 to give City High its first state champion since Sarah Plock won her second of two titles in the same event in 2015.
Winning the final event of the state track and field meet is always a good feeling. For the Solon 4x400 relay team it was an extra special moment.
After finishing runner-up in the 4x400 relay the past two seasons the Spartan foursome of Erin Kerkhoff, Abby Smith, Taylor Ryan and Emma Bock won the Class 3A title in a school-record time of 3:54.99.
Kerkhoff, Smith and Ryan were all members of the Spartans’ 4x400 teams that had set school-records in runner-up finishes the past two seasons.
The 2019 state track and field meet was the final for one of the winningest coaches in state history.
Long-time City High girls track coach Terry Coleman retired following the 2019 ending a run in which he was a part of seven state titles at City High.
Coleman was an assistant coach when City High won titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and led the Little Hawks to titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004 as a head coach.
He was a co-head coach with Tom Mittman when City High won its last state title in 2011.
Prior to the 2016 seasons Clear Creek Amana has never qualified for the state cross country meet as a team.
In 2019 the Clippers brought home hardware from the state meet for the second consecutive season.
Clear Creek Amana finished runner-up at the Class 3A state meet for the second year in a row, finishing one point behind state champion Dallas Center-Grimes.
The Clippers had a pair of individual medalists as senior Nick O’Connor placed 11th and junior Brandon Barker finished 13th.
Scarlet Martin and Aurora Roghair each won a pair of individual titles to lead West High to a fourth-place team finish at the State Swimming and Diving Meet in Marshalltown.
Martin won the 200 IM in 2:02.56 and set a state record in the 100 butterfly with a winning time of 53.41.
Roghair won titles in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
Both Roghair and Martin were members of the Women of Troy’s 200 freestyle relay team that placed third and the 400 freestyle relay team that was runner-up as West High posted its top team finish at state since 2005.
In just its second season of varsity football Liberty High made quite a splash.
After going 3-6 in its debut campaign a year ago the Lightning went 7-2 during the regular season to earn the first playoff berth in program history.
Liberty High fell to Solon 14-7 in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
The last trip to the UNI-Dome for the Solon football team ended in disappointing fashion with a 35-7 loss to eventual state champion Cedar Rapids Xavier.
In its return to the UNI-Dome and the state semifinals the Spartans had a much different result.
Solon rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit for a 43-36 win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the 3A semifinals to reach the Class 3A state title game for the first time since 2010.
The Spartans fell to Western Dubuque 37-17 in the title game and ended the season 12-1.
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