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BASKETBALL PERSEVERES LORENZEN ON CUSP OF HISTORY IOWA

CHEERLEADERS TAKE NATIONAL STAGE

STATE WRESTLING GOING

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THE

GOLD


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CONTRIBUTORS Rush Nigut President

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John Streets Business Operations

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IOWA’S YOUTH HIT THE MATS The AAU state tournament gives young athletes a taste of the championship atmosphere.

john@sportsspotlight.com

6

Tony Atzeni Programming Director tony@sportsspotlight.com

Sam Taylor Art Director

sam@impactimagery.net

BRING IT ON

Iowa cheerleaders perform on the national stage.

Tork Mason Editor-In-Chief

editor@sportsspotlight.com

Elizabeth Robinson

Managing Editor

editor@sportsspotlight.com

Brianna Laubach Video Production support@sportsspotlight.com

Kari Elbert Sales Director

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JULI Smith Graphic Design

art@sportsspotlight.com

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FINDING A WAY

The Hinton girls basketball team didn’t let adversity get in the way of a special season.

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FOLLOWING HER PASSION Iowa City, City High’s Haley Lorenzen has been on a long journey, but her love of the game has her on the verge of making history.

Editor’s Note:

In this month’s issue, we give you a review of the 2014 state wrestling tournament and a feature on Lisbon’s Carter Happel, our pick for Most Outstanding Wrestler at the tournament. You’ll also learn about the Hinton girls basketball team, which persevered through a severe injury to its best player to have a great season; Iowa City, City High’s Haley Lorenzen, who has forged her own path on her way to possibly making history; a group of Iowa high school cheerleaders who competed on the national stage at Walt Disney World; and the AAU Kids State Wrestling Tournament. Enjoy!

Going for Gold

PG 10


Youth

IOWA’S YOUTH HIT THE MATS The Iowa AAU state wrestling tournament gives young athletes the chance to compete on a big stage Tork Mason | Editor-in-Chief

Wrestling has long been a big part of Iowa’s culture, from the local pee wee leagues all the way to the NCAA level. Just a few days ago, many of the state’s best young wrestlers took to the mat for one of the biggest youth sporting events in Iowa: the AAU Iowa Kids State Folkstyle Championship. The tournament, held at Wells Fargo Arena on March 1-2, has been a tradition for youth wrestlers in Iowa since 1989. Each year, roughly 500-600 kids compete in district tournaments to qualify for the statewide event. Past winners include former University of Iowa stars Matt McDonough and Ryan Morningstar, as well as dozens of kids who went on to win varsity state championships. Wes Creason, one of the Iowa AAU’s wrestling directors, said it’s all about giving young athletes a chance to compete on a big stage and creating an interest in the sport at an early age. “[We want] to increase competition in wrestling in the lower grades, so that we hope it increases competition in high school,” Creason said. “[The tournament] gives kids a chance to learn more [about] wrestling and see different kids. The ones that are really into wrestling get a lot out of this.” If the popularity of the tournament is any indication, Creason and the AAU are succeeding in those goals. The tournament was originally held at Simpson College in Indianola, but Creason said it quickly

outgrew the NCAA Division-III facilities and moved to the Five Seasons Center (now U.S. Cellular Center) in Cedar Rapids in 1991. By the mid-2000s, the AAU moved the tournament to Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, before finally finding its current home at Wells Fargo Arena a couple years later. Between 15,000 and 20,000 fans attend the event each year, Creason said. Other than the changes in address over the years, the tournament’s format has been somewhat tweaked, too. It wasn’t a true double-elimination tournament when it was first implemented. Instead it utilized the USA Wrestling tournament format, but the AAU altered the format to the common folkstyle bracket that fans see at the high school and NCAA levels. The tournament also offers fans a chance to get a sneak peek at what’s to come each year. Creason said current University of Iowa star and defending NCAA champ Derek St. John is the first wrestler who comes to mind when he thinks about all the kids he’s seen over the years. There are many other young athletes who have won the youth tournament and have gone on to win state titles or even NCAA crowns, which Creason said is part of the tournament’s appeal. “It’s a chance for other people in the state to come see young kids competing so they know who’s out there before they get to high school,” Creason said. “So it can generate interest in individual schools

Wells Fargo Arena plays host to the Iowa AAU state wrestling tournament each year, giving young wrestlers the chance to compete on a big stage. (Photo by Tork Mason)

because you’ve seen a kid wrestle from second grade through eighth grade and you’re interested in him when he gets to high school.” Proceeds from the tournament help pay for AAU teams to travel to regional and national tournaments, as well. The entire experience is ultimately meant to be used as a learning tool in the early stages of an athlete’s career. “There’s getting to be more and more opportunities for young athletes to compete year-round, in every sport,” Creason said. “It’s just another way to give kids that opportunity to compete in wrestling and continue to grow in it. “It’s just like every other sport. They’re getting started at younger and younger ages and we want to join in that development, also.”

REAL INJURIES. REAL ATHLETES. REAL RESULTS. Off the Sidelines. Back in the Game. General Orthopaedics Ian Lin, M.D. Thomas Dulaney, M.D. Barron Bremner, D.O. Wesley Smidt, M.D. Spine Surgery Lynn Nelson, M.D. David Hatfield, M.D. Foot and Ankle Surgery Jon Gehrke, M.D. Julie Grundberg, D.P.M. R.D. Lee Evans, D.P.M.

Hand, Elbow, and Microvascular Surgery Jeffrey Rodgers, M.D. Patricia Kallemeier, M.D. Melissa Young, M.D. John Gaffey, M.D.

Sports Medicine, Knee and Shoulder Surgery Stephen Taylor, M.D. Jeffrey Davick, M.D. Kary Schulte, M.D. Nicholas Honkamp, M.D. Matthew DeWall, M.D. *except shoulder Jason Sullivan, M.D.

Hip and Knee Surgery Patrick Sullivan, M.D. *also shoulder Pain Management Center Devon Goetz, M.D. Kenneth Pollack, M.D. David Vittetoe, M.D. Christopher Nelson, D.O. Administrator Matthew Weresh, M.D. Kevin DeRonde

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Volume 2 Issue 6

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Spotlight Youth This page presented to you by:

Each month we publish youth action photos from around the state. We would love to get yours! Send us your photos at support@sportsspotlight.com Photos were taken at the 5th grade girls basketball tournaments in Earlham and Van Meter.


High School

IOWA DANCE TEAMS COMPETE AT NATIONAL LEVEL Elizabeth Robinson | Managing Editor

It’s not just a turn. It’s not just a pretty face. It’s not just a frilly, frivolous activity. Dance team is a commitment. It’s constant training and conditioning. It’s pushing yourself to the limit with a smile on your face. It’s tough, relentless and often overlooked. This year, several high school teams from Iowa competed at the highest level at the Universal

Dance Association National Championship in Orlando, Fla. Teams from Waukee, Xavier, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Ankeny, Linn Mar, and Pleasant Valley performed on the nation’s most competitive stage. Read on to learn about the dedication, preparation and athleticism that led to the ultimate experience of Nationals.

The Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championship took place February 1-2 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Several teams from Iowa performed at the competition. (Photo courtesy of Katie Melloy.)

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT DANCE TEAM IS? “I would say our season is probably the longest of all sports and we’re actually doing, it’s basically a two and a half minute sprint while looking good. It’s kind of an insane sport that we do. It’s a lot of extra work and it takes a ton of strength, more than I think people realize.” ­— Morgan Noonan, Xavier High School, Senior

HOW MUCH OF A TIME COMMITMENT IS DANCE TEAM? “Our girls take ballet technique twice a week, they lift once a week with the football and basketball coaches, and then they go to yoga once a week and that’s just outside of our scheduled practice. And then they’re all required to take dance at a studio – it doesn’t matter what studio they’re at, as long as they’re participating in a studio outside of dance team. As the year goes on, after competing or after being critiqued, we make tweaks and changes to our routine and it gets harder as the season goes. Plus there’s a lot of conditioning – they run at every practice, they do a lot of plyo at each practice and just increasing their stamina as the season goes on.” — Allie Kirk, Waukee High School, Head Coach

A TYPICAL DANCE TEAM SEASON BEGINS IN MARCH OR APRIL AND CONCLUDES IN FEBRUARY. IT’S NOT UNCOMMON TO HAVE A NEARLY YEAR-LONG SEASON.

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Volume 2 Issue 6

The dance team from Waukee High School placed 10th in the Small Varsity Pom category at UDA Nationals. In the last four years that Waukee has competed at Nationals, the team has placed in the top 10 and top 20 twice each. (Photo courtesy of Allie Kirk.)

HOW DO TEAMS QUALIFY FOR NATIONALS? A team can qualify for the UDA National Championships by attending a UDAaffiliated camp the summer prior to the Nationals competition. Teams can qualify at camp in two ways, either by receiving a placement trophy for the home routine that the team performs at camp or by receiving a superior trophy. Teams must be made up of at least 10 participants and compete at camp in order to move on to Nationals.

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High School

Linn Mar High School’s dance team performs its jazz routine at Nationals. Linn Mar has competed at the national level for the past 15 year. This year, the team placed 10th in the Large Varsity Jazz category. (Photo courtesy of Morgan Vana.)

WHAT’S THE KEY TO SUCCESS FOR A DANCE TEAM?

WHAT’S THE COMPETITION LIKE AT NATIONALS?

“I think one of the main things that we focus on is the end goal and everyone has to be hungry for that first place or just getting to be at the highest peak that we can be. And if not everybody has that hunger then we’ll never be at our fullest potential.” ­— Morgan Vana, Linn Mar High School, Senior

“They [UDA Nationals] say they’re the most prestigious competition in the country, and when you get there you’re going up against amazing talent. Waukee, Linn Mar and even the other teams that didn’t place from Iowa were really strong. It’s just that everyone was so good. By the time you get to finals it’s like you just have to be happy with the fact that you’re in finals, because at that point it’s all in the judges’ hands. I think for my team to be in the finals for three straight years in a row was just insane.” — Katie Melloy, Iowa City West, Head Coach

“It’s really important that everyone has a really good memory and is remembering every correction that is made. It’s also good to be really observant. One of the biggest things I would say is really important, though, is to have a good attitude, because one person’s mood can affect everyone’s mood.” ­— Kristyn Hoffman, Pleasant Valley High School, Senior “Prior to Nationals I have the girls do some research on the teams that we’re going to be competing against. We get together and watch Nationals film and the girls take notes and we talk about the things we notice that the national championship teams do, because if we want to someday be national champions then we need to do what those teams are doing.” ­— Allie Kirk, Waukee High School, Head Coach “It really comes down to passion; if you want it. We always say, ‘Do you really want it?’ Because if you put your whole heart into it, you want it to be fun and you want it to be something you want to work for.” — Katie Melloy, Iowa City West, Head Coach

NATIONALS RESULTS SMALL VARSITY POM

LARGE VARSITY POM

SMALL VARSITY JAZZ

LARGE VARSITY JAZZ

10. Waukee HS 11. Iowa City West HS 16. Iowa City West HS

Linn Mar HS Xavier HS

> (Semi-finalists)

“It’s definitely a whole other level. People there, it’s their life and they are incredible. Nationals is kind of different from other poms competitions because it’s very, very supportive. It’s not so much like you look at other teams like ‘Oh, you’re my competition,’ it’s more like, ‘You guys looked awesome,’ or ‘I loved what you did.’ It’s very supportive and friendly.” ­— Morgan Noonan, Xavier High School, Senior

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM DANCE TEAM? “Being on poms has been one of my favorite memories of high school. It’s been an important part of my life and I’ve learned a lot about being a good teammate and prioritizing and being responsible. Poms has taught me a lot other than just dance. It’s taught me a lot of life skills.” ­— Morgan Vana, Linn Mar High School, Senior “It has really made me a better leader and a better observer of things, because being captain this year it was really important to observe if everyone’s doing the right movements, because even the littlest movement is seen with poms in your hand.” ­— Kristyn Hoffman, Pleasant Valley High School, Senior

10. Linn Mar HS

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Volume 2 Issue 6

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The trio of baseline players combined for 42.8 points, 25 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per game during the regular season and had the Warriors playing their best ball of the season going into substate play.

RJ Hemmingsen Photo courtesy of Lewis Central (Council Bluffs) High School

At the 2014 boys state swimming championship, Hemmingsen set a new all-time state record in the 100-butterfly and was second in the 50-freestyle. RJ was also part of the Titans’ top-5 finishes in the 200- and 400-freestyle relays.

Senior | Lewis-Central (Council Bluffs)

Photo courtesy of Tony Atzeni

Senior | Dallas Center-Grimes

Among players with at least 150 shot attempts, Amsbaugh was No. 2 in Class 2A with a 69.7 percent shooting percentage. He also led West Fork in rebounds (5.5 per game), steals (2.4 per game) and blocked shots (0.83 per game).

Anthony Nelson, Nate Gehring, Michael Jacobson

Junior, Senior, Junior | Waukee

Haldeman has been the focal point for the 16-5 Bobcats. Last month he was the top scorer in Class 3A at 26.0 points per game. He also averaged 4.9 assists per contest and was second on the team with 6.1 boards per game.

Heritage is the key to the Fillies’ success this season. She has been a model of efficiency across the board this season, scoring 16.0 points per game while shooting 49.6 percent from the floor, 43.4 percent from behind the arc and 84.1 percent from the line.

Vais reached a scoring milestone by scoring her 1,500 career point. Vais is averaging 26.0 points per game this year, which currently places her in third among Class 1A scorers. Vais isn’t just a scorer, though. She also averages 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game.

Senior | West Fork (Sheffield)

Photo courtesy of Dyersville Commercial

Sam Amsbaugh

Photo courtesy of Dallas Center-Grimes High School

Photo courtesy of Adair-Casey High School

Wagner is a key player in the Class 4A No. 1 Cyclones’ attack. The junior averages 10.4 points per game and is an efficient shooter from inside and outside the arc; Wagner is shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 42.7 percent from long range this season.

Junior | W. Dubuque (Epworth)

Spencer Haldeman

Dani Heritage

London Vais

Taylor Wagner Photo courtesy of Harlan Newspapers

Burkhall is under the radar to most in the state, but stands among one of the best Division I prospects in the state. Last month she averaged 17.7 points per game – sixth-best in Class 5A – and 9.8 rebounds per contest, which was second-best.

Senior | Adair-Casey

Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Register

Junior | Harlan

Junior | DSM Roosevelt

Meredith Burkhall


MOST OUTSTANDING

WRESTLER Lisbon’s Carter Happel calmly rose from the mat, pointed to the Lion faithful in the stands and walked up the tunnel at Wells Fargo Arena. A casual observer might not have realized the sophomore had just won his second state championship. But quiet confidence is simply Happel’s style, and he backed it up with a dominating run through the Class 1A 132-pound field at the state tournament. Only one of Happel’s four state tournament bouts went the full six minutes — a 10-1 major decision over South Hamilton’s (Jewell) JD Rader in the semifinals — as he pinned his way through the rest of the bracket. That included a second period pin of Alburnett’s two-time state champion Hunter Washburn, who lost to Happel for the third time in as many tries this season during the quarterfinals, which he said gave him some extra momentum going into his final two matches. “It gave me more confidence, knowing that I didn’t have [Washburn] to deal with anymore,” Happel said. “I think it was better for me to have him in the second round, instead of a big finals match, knowing that I’d have an easier match, so to speak, in the finals.” At this point, it’s difficult to find a weakness in Happel’s game and according to his father, former Lisbon star and 3-time state champion Dean Happel, he’s nowhere near finished. “He’s so much more talented than I ever was,” Dean said. “He just knows a lot more; he’s really hard to score on. He’s a true ambassador for the sport of wrestling. He watches videos — Russians, the Brands brothers — he watches them all and just picks up little things. “He just learns and absorbs it all. That started as a young kid. When I was coaching high school and younger kids through the kids’ program, he would just watch matches and learn.” The Happels’ head coach, Brad Smith, said he can see a lot of Dean when he watches Carter on the mat — both utilized a similar hands-on style with constant movement and never let their opponents get a chance to regroup. He said it’s evident that Dean has had a lot of influence in Carter’s progression, but he also knows when to step back. “A lot of the credit goes to [Dean], because he’s his dad and coached him since he was a little kid,” Smith said. “But he’s always

CARTER

HAPPEL SOPHOMORE - LISBON

let me do the things I had to do, as well, and let me do my thing.” It’s hard to pinpoint just one element that’s placed Carter among the state’s very best wrestlers. He has prestigious genes on his side, but he also displays an unusual amount of poise, on and off the mat, for his age; he said he spent the day leading up to his championship bout watching TV and avoiding thoughts about the match. “I tried to get my mind off wrestling in the morning,” Carter said. “We’ve been wrestling two days, hard, so you need to rest your body and I tried to get my mind off of it as much as possible so I’m not thinking about it all day, like, ‘What’s going to happen if this happens?’” Smith said Carter just knows when to take it easy mentally, and that that is an underrated attribute when it comes to competing at such a high level. He said he also knows he never has to worry about Carter’s state of mind when he hits the mat. “When the time comes, I don’t have to say much to him — he’s ready to go,” Smith said. “A lot of kids aren’t able to [flip the switch like that], and that’s one of the reasons he’s as successful as he is.” Carter also competes year round on a national stage, which gives him exposure to the country’s top wrestlers. He won a national title at the Fargo Cadet and Junior National Championships in July and plans to return to Fargo this summer to defend his title. Dean also thinks that level of achievement should silence any who might feel his son benefits from a lack of competition in Class 1A. “I think what helps Carter the most is that he does compete nationally,” Dean said. “Many of the message boards out there talk about how he couldn’t beat anybody in 3A or 2A. But he beat this year’s 2A state champ, Eric Clark, 9-4. [Fredy] Stroker and [Jake] Koethe would be great matches for Carter to wrestle; they’re both older and stronger kids.” But Dean said he doesn’t put much pressure on his son and that none of what Carter has achieved would be possible without a passion for the sport. And that’s the most important thing. “Right now, you just can’t tell where Carter stops and the mat begins,” he said. “It’s all one thing. He’s happy doing it and it just shows.” —by Tork Mason

S


STATE WRESTLING

The 89th state wrestling tournament is in the books and, for the first time since 2005, three new team champions were crowned. In Class 1A, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont used four individual titles — including a pair by injured grapplers — to come from behind and take down defending champion Alburnett on Championship Day. Davenport Assumption placed seven wrestlers and ended the tournament with three finalists in Class 2A. Two of them, Eric Clark and Danny Bush, were crowned at 132 and 152 pounds, respectively. The Knights scored 117 team points, nearly 20 points ahead of runner-up Mediapolis. Bettendorf edged defending champ Southeast Polk, 162-158,

and returned to the top of Class 3A following a year-long absence. That return came thanks to an impressive display of team depth. The Bulldogs placed eight wrestlers, including five finalists and four champions. Other individuals shined throughout the week, including a pair of standouts who kept dreams of becoming a four-time state champion alive. Lisbon’s Carter Happel dominated the Class 1A 132-pound bracket to get his second title while Union’s (La Porte City) Max Thomsen battled his way to a third at 138 pounds in Class 2A. Now, the coaches and athletes will go to work preparing for next season’s tournament. See you next year!


High School

SENIOR TRIO LEADS HINTON THROUGH MEMORABLE SEASON After playing countless games together, three Hinton seniors made their last season together a special one Darrin Cline | Contributor

Hinton’s 2012-13 campaign was brought down in one crushing blow. In the regional final between schools that are fast establishing one of the best rivalries in Iowa girls basketball, the Blackhawks fell to eventual state runner-up Lawton-Bronson. On the court that night were three members of the current senior class — Lauren Hedlund, Shaeler Lund and Alex Yoerger. The trio not only had the goal of getting a little revenge against its neighboring nemesis, but also guiding Hinton to its first girls state tournament appearance since 2009. The Blackhawks came up short of that goal, however, after a heartbreaking 70-68 loss to Woodbury Central in the regional semifinals on Feb. 21. The season marked the final chapter for a trio that began its journey together in second grade. Since elementary school, the triple threat has battled together on basketball courts across the Midwest, both as members of the Hinton school district teams and on various traveling squads. “We know how to play together, we know each other on and off the court so well and genuinely get along,” Yoerger said. “We play different positions; I’ve always been the point with those two as my posts. To be successful as a point you need those good post players to pass to in order to make it work well.” Even head coach Joel Small has a special appreciation for the bond and brilliance displayed by this season’s Hinton team. “I don’t think I’ve ever had the luxury of having three seniors that can be the leading scorer at any time. We have had a lot of good players over the years, but never three seniors at one time that are equal to these three,” Small said. “Alex is the outside threat and a great ball handler. The other two are good defenders and slashers that can get to the basket. They all contribute in a way that can help the team.” However, this past July all their work and a decade of playing together was suddenly placed in jeopardy. During a summer tournament, Yoerger suffered a serious knee injury. “I tore the ACL and both meniscuses in my right knee,” Yoerger said. “I had my ACL reconstructed, one meniscus removed and the other one stitched. Then I had to do rehab for five months with physical therapy three times a

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Volume 2 Issue 6

Seniors Alex Yoerger, Lauren Hedlund and Shaeler Lund led the way for Hinton in a special season this winter. (Photo courtesy of Hinton High School)

week.” Yoerger was not medically cleared to play until late December, which added pressure to Hedlund, Lund and the rest of the Blackhawk roster. Even so, they were not daunted by the task. “It was really hard, but we knew she would be back, we just weren’t sure when,” Hedlund said. “We did well when she was gone and knew we had the ability to still win games.” The girls won every game in Yoerger’s absence, and continued to dominate opponents throughout the first 16 games of the season. During their long winning streak, only one opponent stayed within 10 points of the Blackhawks. Lund stepped up as much as any player for Hinton during the regular season. A starter for the past two seasons, Lund grew in her new role and continued to adapt her skills.

“My role has changed quite a bit. I didn’t have to score as a younger player because we had so many good older players,” Lund said. “Now each of us is a scorer, as well as a leader because we want to see the team succeed even after we are gone.” Even though Lund and Hedlund were successfully guiding the Blackhawks through an undefeated campaign, they were still anxiously awaiting the return of their third member. On Dec. 9 Yoerger was allowed to return to practice and picked up right where she left off. The exuberance over finally being able to be on the floor again outweighed any worries about her surgically repaired knee. “I wasn’t nervous,” Yoerger said. “After sitting out that long I was just so happy to be out there again.” Yoerger’s performance did not suffer.

Alex Yoerger battled back from a severe knee injury to help lead the Blackhawks to a 20-3 record. (Photo courtesy of Renee Stoulp)

Lauren Hedlund led Hinton in scoring and rebounding this season. (Photo courtesy of Renee Stoulp)

The point guard started shooting and scoring almost at will. With Yoerger in the lineup the Blackhawks continued to roll, until the rivalry game. It was Jan. 28 and Hinton had its first crack at Lawton-Bronson since the 2013 regional final. The balanced, high-scoring Hinton attack was silenced for the first time all season and the Eagles won, 83-68. One week later, Class 4A powerhouse Bishop Heelan dealt Hinton a second defeat; the Blackhawks were reeling with only two regular season games left. Nonetheless, the girls rebounded with victories over West Sioux, Hawarden and AkronWestfield by a combined 79 points to close out the regular season at 19-2. Each member of the trio had provided her own dose of energy to the team. Hinton was the only team in 2A to have multiple players score more than 30 points in a game during the regular season; Yoerger scored 34 against Remsen-Union and Lund tallied 31 against South O’ Brien. Hedlund dominated down low all season for the Blackhawks. A 49 percent shooter who led the team with 16.9 points-per-game, the team’s premiere post presence also led the team in rebounds. Despite missing the beginning of the season, Yoerger hit the court at full speed and also averaged 16.9 points on her way toward becoming the team’s most efficient deep shot threat. Shaeler Lund led the team in most other statistical categories. She just narrowly trailed her cohorts in points, but still led Hinton in assists, steals and total three-pointers made. At the end of the regular season, Hinton had claimed another conference championship and proved they had the ability to challenge any team in 2A, largely on the backs of their senior leaders. “We didn’t let last year’s [regional finals] loss get us down,” Yoerger said. “This year, we had a better record, a better ranking and I think we have shown how much work we put in to practices and the offseason.”

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Student

Athlete

of the

MONTH

Presented by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau- IowaGTSB.org

CLICK IT OR TICKET Elias’ Q & A What’s your favorite sport to play? Why? Football. I love everything about the sport and the physical energy it takes to play in every game. What’s your favorite sports memory? Beating Lansing Kee High School in overtime during my junior season. Do you have any fun pre-game “rituals” that prepare you for an event? I am a little bit superstitious, so I always do things the same on gamedays. What’s your favorite subject in school and why? History, because I find it very interesting to learn about all the things people have done in the past, both good and bad, and how we can learn from them. Who inspires you? Why? All of my coaches. They have taught me to believe in myself, set goals, and do whatever I can to achieve them. What was the best movie you saw in the last year? Captain Phillips What is your dream job? Doing whatever it is that I love and something I can look forward to every day.

Achievements Sports: Basketball, Football, Track and Field, and Baseball Athletic Achievements/Honors: Football - 1st Team All-State , 1st Team All-District, All classes state’s top scorer (2013); Basketball - Pre-season 1st Team All-State, 2nd Team All-State, 1st Team unanimous All-Conference; Track - Drake Relays, state long jump - 5th place. Academic Achievements/Honors: Honor Roll, National Council on Youth Leadership College or post-high school plans: Attend the University of Northern Iowa and play football.

Photo courtesy of Nick Merritt

Elias Nissen

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In the

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High School

LORENZEN REAPING REWARDS

Iowa City, City High’s Haley Lorenzen’s journey hasn’t always been easy, but she could make history before it’s done Haley Lorenzen might be the daughter of a former Iowa Mr. Basketball and University of Iowa star, but she didn’t always appear destined to follow in her father’s footsteps. Lorenzen, an Iowa City, City High senior and a primary contender for the Iowa Miss Basketball award, could make history if she earns that distinction. She and her father, Al Lorenzen, would be the first father-daughter combo to win the awards since they were created in 1981; Al won it as a senior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy in 1984. Haley said she has a good idea how she would react if she won the award at the end of the season. “I would probably cry, just because I’m an emotional person and I put so much heart and soul into the game,” Haley said. “To be able to share that experience with my dad, that would be even cooler. And to be able to make history by doing something that I love, that would be unbelievable.” Haley’s career started off a little rough, though. “When Haley joined [the Ames-based AAU program] All Iowa Attack, she was, by far, the worst player on the team,” Al said. “She wasn’t very big back then; she was somewhat athletic but had very little skill development.” But Haley was always searching for ways to get better. She attended camps and worked with shooting coaches, including Lyndsey Fennelly, Duez Henderson and Jason Price. Those efforts have transformed a once-“klutzy” sixth grader into one of the nation’s top prospects; Haley is rated as a 5-star recruit and ranked 35th nationally by ESPN. She is among state leaders in points per game (21.9), rebounds per game (9.6), blocks (75) and steals (54). But Haley said she isn’t focused on all the individual accolades, even if they would come with a sense of satisfaction. “It would be a huge honor to win the award, just because coming from being the worst player to winning Miss Basketball — it would validate all of my hard work,” Haley said. “It’s been quite a journey and really rewarding, but it wouldn’t change how I’d feel about basketball if I didn’t win the award, either. It would be really nice to show everybody that hard work can pay off. “You don’t get better at the game by sitting on the

couch watching TV. You have to practice your shot, your moves; you can’t just expect everything to go in if you don’t practice your shot.” Haley may have become a highly-touted player, like her father, through hard work, but fans assuming to see her follow her father’s footsteps and grace the floor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena will be disappointed. She’s signed to play for Florida next year, thanks in large part to her choice in major. Basketball is important to her, but she said she knows it’s not everything. “You’re a student-athlete,” Haley emphasized. “You’re not going to be able to play basketball forever, so you’ve got to have something that you can love as much as basketball. For me, I want to be an interior designer and I see myself loving that just as much as I do basketball. And lo and behold, Florida is No. 3 in the entire country for that major.” Al said he’s proud to see his daughter carve out her own identity, separate from those of her parents, and chase her dreams, no matter where they take her. “That’s the greatest joy in this, for me, just watching her live out her passion,” Al said. “This is a talk she and I had when she was in sixth grade, I said, ‘The only things you need to do — in basketball or anything else — for us to be happy are thank God, dream big and follow your passion. If you do those three things, the results, all the other stuff will take care of itself.’ It’s just incredible to have watched her do that.” All of that is still ahead of Haley, but she said she doesn’t forget how she got to this point. “It’s not like it’s been a cakewalk, that’s for sure,” she said. “It was disappointing when it felt like I wouldn’t be able to play with the best, and it frustrated me. I got down on myself, but my parents always picked me back up and said, ‘You keep trying, you keep working and you’ll see. You’ll get there.’ That’s something I took to heart and kept in mind. “They never said it was going to be easy. They just said it would be worth it.”

Iowa City, City High senior Haley Lorenzen is in the running for this year’s Iowa Miss Basketball award. Next year, Lorenzen plans to attend the University of Florida to continue her basketball career and study interior design. (Photo courtesy of Karen Lorenzen.)

Haley’s father, Al Lorenzen, was the recipient of the Iowa Mr. Basketball award as a senior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy in 1984. He then went on to be a star player at the University of Iowa. (Photo courtesy of University of Iowa Athletic Communications.)

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Volume 2 Issue 6

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Sports Spotlight Vol. 2 Iss. 6