South Winneshiek’s Felicity Taylor becomes first Iowa girl to reach 100 prep victories

Cody Goodwin
The Des Moines Register

Someday, we may look at Felicity Taylor as a key pioneer for helping girls’ wrestling become a sanctioned high school sport in Iowa. When she talked with the Register last year, she said she had fully embraced her role in the movement.

Last week, the South Winneshiek senior hit another milestone that may help the continued growth of the sport in Iowa. Taylor became the first girl in Iowa high school wrestling history to hit 100 career victories.

South Winneshiek junior Felicity Taylor (center) waits to run sprints during wrestling practice on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at the South Winneshiek High School wrestling room in Calmar, Iowa.

Using the records kept by Trackwrestling, Taylor is now 104-47 for her career. This season, she is 32-8 overall after taking first at the Upper Iowa Conference Tournament. She is ranked 10th at 106 pounds in Class 1A by IAWrestle.

The next big step for Taylor is to qualify for the state tournament. It will not be easy. She’ll have to beat Nashua-Plainfield’s Brock Dietz, who’s currently ranked fifth at 106 in 1A, and Denver’s Brooks Meyer, who’s ranked seventh. Only the top two wrestlers advance from districts to state.

But already, Taylor has done so much for the growth of girls’ wrestling, and 100 career wins is another step in the right direction. It’ll show young girls all over the state that they, too, can wrestle the boys and win consistently. It’ll show them that it is possible.

City High, Glenwood win conference titles, North Scott repeats

Fort Dodge won the big conference tournament this weekend, winning the CIML Tournament on Friday night in dominant fashion over the likes of Southeast Polk, West Des Moines Valley and Waukee. But other Class 3A programs showed out over the weekend, too.

Iowa City High won the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet in Cedar Rapids on Saturday. It was the Little Hawks’ first MVC title since 2002, an effort buoyed by two champions (Ethan Wood-Finley at 106, Kyle Hefley at 152) and three other finalists.

Glenwood took the Hawkeye 10 Conference Championships at Lewis Central on Saturday, the Rams’ first title since 2006. All 14 Glenwood wrestlers finished in the top six, led by first-place finishes from Trevor Anderson at 145, Anthony Sherry at 182 and Isaac Bales at 220.

Glenwood's Anthony Sherry works to control Dowling's Greg Hagan in a 182lb match on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, during the Ed Winger Classic wrestling tournament at Urbandale High School.

North Scott repeated as the Mississippi Athletic Conference Champs in Davenport on Saturday. Three Lancer wrestlers (Cael Bredar at 113, Caleb McCabe at 126, Jake Matthaidess at 160) won titles and another five reached the finals.

The Dodgers are likely the clear-cut favorites here in 3A, followed by the likes of Southeast Polk, Valley, Waukee and Glenwood. But the conference tournaments mean we’re only a few weeks away from the state tournament. That’s something to be excited about.

Brands’ resume continues to grow

Iowa City West senior Nelson Brands is creating quite a legacy for himself. He’s already won two state titles and is a favorite to win a third this season. He’s surpassed 160 career victories, is ranked 12th nationally by Intermat at 160 pounds and has signed to wrestle at Iowa.

On Saturday, Brands added another line to his sterling resume. He took first place at the MVC Super Meet at 160 pounds, his fourth MVC Title. He is just the ninth four-time MVC Champ, and also became the fourth wrestler to win the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler Award all four years as well.

Jan 20, 2018; Urbandale, IA, USA; Iowa City West's 160 pounder Nelson Brands throws West Des Moines Valley's Blake Underwood to his back during the second round of the Ed Winger wrestling tournament at Urbandale High School. Special to the Register: Reese Strickland

Brands made it look easy on Saturday, too, pinning all three of his opponents in a combined five minutes, 32 seconds. In the finals, he locked up a bearhug and pinned Wahlert’s Josh Ramirez in the second period, which was no small feat, considering Ramirez is 17th nationally by Intermat.

All of this is to say enjoy Brands in a West singlet while you still can. At 47-1 overall entering this week, he’s won by fall or by tech in 36 of his victories. He has shown no signs of slowing down, either.

Boone McDermott over Francis Duggan … twice

Francis Duggan looked tremendous in his debut at the Ed Winger earlier this month. The Iowa City West senior ran through the field at 220 pounds to take first, which wasn’t surprising from the No. 6-ranked 220-pounder in the country.

But since then Duggan has lost. Twice. To the same guy.

Wahlert’s Boone McDermott, the No. 1-ranked 220-pounder in Class 2A, beat Duggan twice in three days. Last Thursday, McDermott won 6-0 in a dual. On Saturday, in the finals of the MVC Meet, McDermott pinned Duggan in the third period.

All of this is to ask — why isn’t McDermott getting any national love? His only loss this season was to Daniel Kerkvliet, who wrestles for Simley in Minnesota. Kerkvliet is the No. 2-ranked 220-pounder in the country. He beat McDermott 15-5 at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament.

Perhaps his wins over Duggan will open up some eyes. A state title in February would help, too.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.