TigerHawks top 2013 news
The whole-grade sharing agreement that produced the North Fayette Valley TigerHawks was celebrated with the mascot logo painted on the football field in Columbia blue, black and silver for all to see. (Jerry Wadian photo)
TigerHawks top 2013 news
By Jerry Wadian
If one looks back at the sporting news in 2013, one story dominates the headlines: the whole-grade sharing agreement between North Fayette and Valley Community.
With the agreement, a new school, logo, fight song, mascot, etc. were created. The two schools agreed to become the North Fayette Valley TigerHawks, starting with the 2013-14 school year.
Such a momentous change dwarfs any attempt to pick the other nine top stories. So, let us examine the highlights of 2013 as they happened.
North Fayette wrestlers struck the first big blow by sending four grapplers to the State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines, the most in over a quarter of a century. Tyler Johansen led the contingent with two wins and an eighth-place finish. Dalton Lape and Zach Bruns were 1-2, while Jordan Larson lost both of his matches in a very tough bracket. Lape finished the season with 30 pins and 68 for his career as a Hawk; both are school records.
Upper Iowa wrestlers also enjoyed success on the mat. UIU sent six wrestlers to the DII National Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., where the Peacocks finished fifth in the 45-team field. This marked the fourth straight year UIU has finished in the top five. Individually, Bryce Lumzy, Blake Sorenson, Carl Broghammer and Postville’s Mitch Schultz won All-America status for finishing in the top six.
The weather was the news early in the spring season as rain and cold temperatures kept athletes practicing indoors. NF golfers did not have their first meet until April 24.
The golf season was “the Year of the Tiger” as Valley boys’ and girls’ golf teams had splendid seasons. Both teams won opening-round tournaments in the playoffs. The boys fell just short of a berth in the State Tournament in the second round.
The Tiger girls won the UIC and also qualified for their third straight trip to a State Golf Meet. This year, the gals brought home a third-place trophy and Jodi Schott was the runner-up in Class 1A.
Valley’s work at the State Golf Meet brought forth a rich bounty of postseason awards. Head coach Robin Madole became only the second golf coach in state history to earn the Golden Plaque of Distinction from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. She was also named the Class 1A Coach of the Year. Schott became the Class 1A Player of the Year. Lexi Moser, Chandler Luzum, Bailey Moser, and Schott were named to numerous postseason First and Second Teams.
In track, the North Fayette girls won both the UIC and State Qualifying Meet, sending seven events to the State Track Meet. Vicki Kapnisis was fifth in the shot, and Emily Creery was sixth in the discus.
The Hawk boys sent four events to Drake Stadium. Valley girls sent four events, and Dakota Moore represented the Tiger boys.
Softball season saw the Hawks tie for the UIC crown and make it all the way to the Regional final, one game away from a berth in the State Tournament in Ft. Dodge. NF lost its final game to Durant-Bennett to end the season at 29-11.
The Knob Prairie Golf Tournament raised another $25,000, bringing a 13-year total of $485,000 to benefit area youth recreation.
Other summer highlights included the West Union swim team placing second in the conference Swim-off, the Sixth Annual West Union Triathlon saw 90 competitors run, bike and swim; the 1963 North High State Softball Champions held a reunion; and five area athletes brought home a total of two gold medals and five silver at the Iowa Games in Ames.
Fall saw the creation of the North Fayette Valley TigerHawks. However, the UIC also had some headline news. The conference welcomed Starmont and Ed-Co into its ranks, but learned that charter member Sumner-Fredericksburg would leave the conference at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Also, the UIC started a conference volleyball tournament, and it would break into large- and small-school divisions in basketball and volleyball starting in the 2014-15 season.
TigerHawk football entered the field with the new Columbia blue, black and silver uniforms, a new scoreboard a new school fight song and a new mascot.
NFV won its first-ever game, 33-0, at Postville and went on to win the Class 1A District 4 championship. In the playoffs, NFV won three games, but lost in the State semifinals to Iowa City Regina. Regina went on to win the Class 1A title and break a state record with a 56-game win streak.
Cross country also had a banner year. Danny Halva won the UIC boys’ Cross Country Meet. Later, Devon Monnahan and Halva qualified for the State Cross Country Meet in Ft. Dodge, where Halva finished sixth to become the first TigerHawk to medal at a state meet.
The girls qualified as a team for the State Cross Country Meet. In addition, Paige Gibson and Megan Feldman ran as individuals. The team placed eighth with Gibson 22nd and Feldman 34th.
Upper Iowa football raised a lot of excitement in the area, going 6-5 for its first winning season since 1999. Head coach Tom Shea became only the second coach since 1966 to post a winning record for Peacock football.
It’s too soon to say much about the winter sports; they will be the news of 2014.
However, NFV wrestlers ended 2013 with a perfect 6-0 dual record and four ranked wrestlers.
UIU grapplers start the year ranked 13th with a pair of ranked wrestlers.
Also there are two new coaches in basketball. Sean Leonard is the new head man for NFV girls’ basketball, and Brooks McKowen takes over the reins for UIU men’s basketball.
Leonard is a Turkey Valley alum who has been at Hudson for the past couple of years. McKowen is still the all-time leading scorer in Iowa history for boys’ basketball. His dad, Marty, is a UIU alum and currently the activities director and head boy’s basketball coach at Wapsie Valley.
As for next year, NFV will learn its football classification next month and its new district in February. Look for the TigerHawks to be Class 2A. That could put them on a collision course with former Valley coach Chad Beermann, who took over the helm at Waukon and led the Indians to this season’s championship game in Class 2A. Beckman and Cascade are other possible challengers for TH football.
Stay tuned, it should be another exciting year in sports!