Girls Swimming and Diving
The Ames High Girls Swimming & Diving team entered the 2018 Iowa Girls State Championships as the only team to understand what it felt like to be team state champions. Ames High had won 3 straight state titles, and 7 of the last 8 years, heading into the competition this year. Needless to say, this year’s squad not only had the pressure of the competition weighing on their minds, but the pressure of continuing Ames High’s dynasty in girls swimming.
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) state meet was held on November 2-3 in Marshalltown. For the first time in head coach Dan Flannery’s storied career, he qualified every entrant, 30 for 30, for the state meet.
The Little Cyclones entered the meet as the favorite to win, but after the preliminary heats, Dowling Catholic proved to be a formidable opponent, able to win just as many events as Ames High. The girls got a head start in the morning session in the 1-meter diving event when senior Jayna Misra repeated as the 1-meter diving champion (555.35 points). Jocelyn Buss placed 3rd (476.75), and senior Celeste Enyeart placed 9th overall.
The swimming competition is always at a fast and furious pace. Even though Dowling Catholic won four of the first five events, the Ames High depth across the team maintained the lead established by the divers. The breakthrough for the Little Cyclones came from senior Amy Feddersen in the 100 Yard Freestyle event. After placing second in the 200 Yard Freestyle by .14 of a second, she won the 100, claiming her first state title of the day. Immediately following that race, junior Brinley Horras exceeded expectations and placed 3rd in the 500 Yard Freestyle event.
One of the highlights of the day came in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay where Feddersen, along with senior Holly Winer, Horras, and freshman Meghan Donald broke the state record with a time of 1:33.50. Winer went on to defend her state title from year ago in the 100 Yard Breaststroke a couple events later. In the final event of the day, with the state title virtually wrapped up, Feddersen, Horras, and two sophomores, Annie Galvin and Gracie Wesselmann, won the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay.
When head coach Dan Flannery thinks back on this historic team, he knows how hard the team worked and fully understands that it takes an entire squad to win a state championship. “Honestly, the performances that come to my mind are the ones from kids you don’t read about in the paper. Mikayla Kloth, Abby Hala, Gracie Wesselmann, Mia Moulden, Delaney Ryken and Kirsti Robertson. They are the group that played their role for this team, scored points for us in the consolation final heats, and helped maintain our lead over Dowling Catholic all day.”
As a team at the state meet, the team broke 1 state record, 5 school records, had 9 All-American performances, and multiple All-State finishes. Flannery said, “This truly was a total team effort. From our divers, swimmers, coaches, parents and student section, Ames High Pride was on display. What an amazing accomplishment for our seniors. Very few student-athletes can say that they were undefeated all through high school.”
The conclusion of the high school cross country season is annually at Fort Dodge during the joint boys and girls state cross country meet. Junior Camille Jackson qualified for the state meet for the second consecutive year, after finishing 3rd at Districts. At the state meet, she ran a flat 19:00 minutes, good for a 9th place finish.
The boys team qualified as a team this year in 4A after a third place finish at Districts. All season long, the Little Cyclones were led by sophomore Aniey Akok. He finished second at Districts, and entered the state meet with renewed confidence. At the state meet, he was part of the lead pack and eventually finished 9th in 4A with a time of 16:06.1. After the race, head coach Tim Mooney spoke with the Ames Tribune and spoke highly of Akok. “I think it’s a real testament to him that he kept persisting and persisting and even though those first few races back, he was dying, he just kept getting better and getting better and he peaked at the right time.”
The Ames High boys golf team qualified for the Iowa High School Athletic Association state tournament for the second year in a row. After finishing second at Districts, the boys headed to Iowa City for the two day tournament. The Little Cyclones entered the meet ranked 13th in the state, and after a rain soaked first round, the meet was called short and the Ames High team finished 5th in the state, two strokes behind 3rd place. Junior Connor VanWeelden was selected to the 2018 All-State Second Team, averaging 38.02 for the season.