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More 2014 Highlights - Area high school and Iowa Lakes athletes shine

January 2, 2015
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville News

North Union, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire and Spirit Lake high schools, along with Iowa Lakes Community College, had their own respective successes in sports during 2014.

Here's a look at some of the top stories from the area.

Rodriguez wins at Natinoals

Winning a national title at any level is tough enough, but Iowa Lakes' Freddie Rodriguez captured the 125-pound crown at the National Junior College Athletic Association's premier event. Rodriguez captured the third championship for the Iowa Lakes Wrestling program after back-to-back titles by Victor DeJesus.

Skopec perfect

Finishing the perfect season with a state title is never an easy accomplishment, but Spirit Lake Park's Zach Skopec managed to accomplish the feat as he won the 145-pound bracket at the Class 2A State Tournament. Skopec went 49-0 during the year and grabbed the crown that had eluded him in three previous trips to the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Lakers in Region finals

Behind the play of Deondre Parks, the Iowa Lakes men's basketball team made it to the Region XI Final for the second straight year, but came up a basket short against Des Moines Area Community College. The loss prevented the Lakers from earning a trip to the national NJCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. However, Parks' play during the year earned him First Team All-American status. He continues his collegiate career at South Dakota State University this season.

Cornbelt Conference ends

With 12 teams in the Cornbelt Conference as recently as 2005, mergers continued to affect the league that was founded in the 1930s. In its final 2013-14 season, the Cornbelt Conference featured just six schools-Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, North Union, West Bend-Mallard, Clay Central-Everly, Harris-Lake Park and Corwith-Wesley-Luverne.

North Union, a combination of former Cornbelt schools Armstrong-Ringsted, Sentral of Fenton and North Kossuth, joined the North Iowa Conference this year while GT/RA and West Bend-Mallard both moved to the Twin Lakes Conference (North Division). H-LP joined the War Eagle Conference with Clay Central-Everly expected to join that league in 2015.

Riley Bauer

North Union's fledgling cross-country program has its first state medalist as freshman Riley Bauer took sixth place in the Class 1A race in 2014.

Bauer, a consistent Top 10 finisher all season, entered the race ranked 10th in Class 1A. He finished the 5K race in 16 minutes, 44.2 seconds.

Cody Thompson

Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire junior Cody Thompson earned a sixth-place medal for the second straight year at the Class 1A State Tournament in February. Thompson went 3-3 in Des Moines after losing his first-round match to eventual tournament champion Yonkovic of Maquoketa Valley, but he needed just eight seconds to pin Dawson Dahlke in the consolation bracket. He also earned a pair of decisions to make it to the consolation semifinals, but he lost his final two matches to earn the sixth-place medal.

Spirit Lake softball

The Spirit Lake Softball Team pulled out not one, not two, but three one-run victories in earning a return trip to the state softball tournament. The Indians edge Sheldon 9-8 in the first round, surprised No. 7 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 32- with a walk-off single by Caitlyn Roberts in the second round. In the regional final, the Indians edged No. 14 Osage 6-5 by scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh-inning. While Spirit Lake lost its first two games at state, the Indians edged out West Burlington 3-2, again scoring the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning.

SL-O Girls Tennis

When you think of success, you think of the Spirit Lake-Okoboji Girls Tennis Team. SL-O won its 15th straight Lakes Conference title under coach Bob O'Hara and sent three players to state competition. Olivia Rohlk and Natalie Delaney earned an eight-place finish in doubles competition with Hannah Schoning playing singles.

Area state track medals

Spirit Lake Park had a pair of third-place finishes at the 2014 State Track Meet.

In girls' competition, Emma Dau jumped a season-best 5 feet, 2 inches to earn third place in the high jump.

On the boys' side, the 4x800-meter relay team of Kyle Anderson, Josh Waite, Paul Woizeschke and Tanner Goetsch finished in 8 minutes, 4.75 seconds to earn a third-place medal.

For North Union, MaKayla Hardman finished fifth in Class 100-meter dash.



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