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Lilly Luft wins 2nd state wrestling title

Comet sophomore Ava Thompson 3rd among HWTs as Charles City places 6th as a team at the IWCOA Girls State Wrestling Tournament

Lilly Luft wins 2nd state wrestling title
Photo by Gidal Kaiser, Oelwein Daily Register
Charles City junior Lilly Luft gets her hand raised after winning the 130-pound title at the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Girls State Wrestling Tournament held this past weekend in Coralville. Luft defeated Waverly-Shell Rock senior Macy Smith in the championship bout while avenging a loss to Smith earlier in the season.

Press Staff Report

CORALVILLE — Sport combatants have been known to duck formidable opponents to preserve records and title reigns.

Problem is at a state wrestling tournament, that often is not possible.

Thus, there was no easy road plotted for Charles City junior Lilly Luft in her quest for a second-straight state title at the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Girls State Tournament held this past weekend at the Xtreme Arena.

A year removed from winning the 126-pound state title, Luft emerged as the 130-pound champion after going 5-0 over the weekend at Coralville while improving her high school season record to 24-2.

After receiving a bye and recording two falls in the bracket’s first three rounds, Luft would have to go through three wrestlers all ranked in the Top 10 among 130-pounders according to the latest rankings posted by IAwrestle.

First was Colfax-Mingo senior Kylie Doty, who was ranked No. 6, in the quarterfinals. There, No. 2-ranked Luft pinned Doty with 3 seconds left in the second period.

Next, Luft had to go through North Cedar senior Ashlynn Miller, ranked No. 5. Luft advanced to the finals by way of a 7-0 decision.

As one might expect, the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked wrestlers squared off in the finals as Luft faced top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock senior Macy Smith.

Back in December at the Go-Hawk Girls Wrestling Invitational, Smith earned a 3-1 decision over Luft to win the 132A bracket.

This time around, however, Luft was the victor by way of a 9-3 decision.

Charles City sophomore Ava Thompson, ranked No. 3 among the state’s heavyweights according to IAwrestle going into the state tournament, maintained that status while placing third in the 285-pound bracket while going 4-1 with four fall victories.

Last year as a freshman, Thompson placed sixth at state in the 285-pound bracket.

With Luft compiling 32 team points and Thompson compiling 18, Charles City had 115 as a team, 1 point better than both Lewis Central and Spencer for sixth place in a 158-team field.

Rounding out the Top 10 were repeat champion Waverly-Shell Rock (219), Colfax-Mingo (159), Osage (135), Bettendorf (133), Decorah (124), Mid-Prairie (98) and Vinton-Shellsburg (90).

Earning 14 points for the Comets while each going 4-2 in their brackets with four fall victories were Elizabeth Oleson (125), Kylie Blunt (135) and Morgan Maloy (145).

Destiny Kolheim, amidst her first year wrestling, went 3-2 with three fall victories while earning 10 points for the Comets in the 155-pound bracket.

Katelyn Miller was 2-2 with a pair of fall victories while earning 6 points in the 140-pound bracket; Kylie Vance was 2-1 with a pair of fall victories while earning 4 points at 170; and Alex Wright added a 3-point victory in the 120-pound bracket for the Comets, who placed second at the inaugural IWCOA Girls State Tournament in 2019 before placing third in 2020 and sixth last year.

In essence, all participants at the IWCOA Girls State Tournament — especially the underclassmen — scored a victory prior to the championship round when it was formally announced that Girls Wrestling will be a sanctioned high school sport for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union had unanimously voted for sanctioned inclusion at its board of directors meeting on Jan. 12.

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