Colfax-Mingo's Erin Hume named 2022 All-Iowa Girls Wrestling Coach of the Year

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

In January, Erin Hume stood inside Xtream Arena in Coralville and smiled ear-to-ear as he watched the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union formally announce that it had added girls wrestling as an official sport.

Hume, the head wrestling coach at Colfax-Mingo, was the first to submit a letter to the IGHSAU stating they would support a girls wrestling program. They did that in 2019, the first year the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association hosted a girls state wrestling tournament, which helped spur the sport’s explosive growth here in Iowa.

It’s almost as if Hume saw the tidal wave before it arrived.

Back in 2019, the sport’s growth was still in its infant stages, with 188 girls wrestling statewide. This past season, 1,023 Iowa girls were registered and eligible to wrestle, according to Trackwrestling — including 14 from Colfax-Mingo.

“For me personally, it’s been watching the girls on our team fall in love with the sport of wrestling,” Hume said. “They were hooked from day one. Nervous to try something new, obviously, but as soon as they stepped on the mat, they loved it.

“Their passion to get better just grew, and it’s been fun to see the whole thing grow and to see girls all over the state fall in love with wrestling.”

Colfax-Mingo wrestlers pose for a photo with their second-place team trophy at the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association girls state wrestling tournament Jan. 22 in Coralville.

Hume has been named the 2022 All-Iowa Girls Wrestling Coach of the Year. He and his title-contending team will be honored at the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Sports Awards, which is returning to a live in-person program this year. The event’s time and date are still to be determined and will be announced soon.

More:Introducing the Des Moines Register's 2022 All-Iowa girls wrestling teams

Waverly-Shell Rock has won each of the first four team titles at the IWCOA girls state wrestling championships, but behind the Go-Hawks, no team has been as successful as Colfax-Mingo.

The Tigerhawks have finished third or better three times during the four IWCOA girls state championships, more than every other school not named Waverly-Shell Rock. They finished second twice, in 2019 and 2022, plus a third-place finish in 2021.

Colfax-Mingo has produced 21 total state medalists during the four state tournaments. Rilee Slycord won a state title in 2019, and is just the second Colfax-Mingo wrestler, boy or girl, to win an individual state wrestling title. Kylie Doty became a four-time state medalist, one of only four girls who won a medal at all four state tournaments.

More:The next wave of young stars arrive at the 2022 Iowa girls wrestling state championships

Hume said their success has helped build Colfax-Mingo’s girls wrestling program both at the high school and youth levels, which he believes will help sustain it well into the future.

“All those girls that came out a few years ago, that’s been one of the things that’s helped them stay out,” Hume said. “They knew if they stayed out and worked hard, they could achieve success — state medals, state finals, even state championships.

“That’s also helped motivate our younger girls and have inspired girls who want to come out next year. They see what’s possible.”

Thing is, Colfax-Mingo has long had a girls presence

Back in 2003, when Hume was a senior 145-pounder, the Tigerhawks had a girl on the team, Ashley Pender. She qualified for districts that year, and is believed to be the first girl in Iowa history to do so.

“I have been a firm believer that once they sanctioned it, the numbers will increase — and not just at Colfax-Mingo, but all throughout the state,” Hume said. “Now girls don’t have be part of the boys team. They get to build their own teams. It’s going to help.”

So when Hume submitted his letter back in 2019, he backed it up by continually building up the Colfax-Mingo girls program. The Tigerhawks have had an average of 13 girls out during each of the last four seasons. Of the seven seniors on this year’s roster, two have wrestled all four years and another four have wrestled at least three. 

“We’re not one of the big schools winning a bunch of championships, but our girls work really hard,” Hume said. “The girls have really written their own chapter. They’re setting the bar and laying the foundation for future girls wrestling teams at Colfax-Mingo.

“They’re letting girls within our community know that, yes, this is a new thing, but they can give it a shot and find success if they’re willing to work for it. It’s great. The kids we’ve had on the team the last four years are awesome and amazing young ladies.”

More:Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will officially sponsor girls wrestling, starting in 2022-23

This year’s girls state tournament featured a unique wrinkle when it came to team scoring. Rather than have all wrestlers who sign up score points — which led to Waverly-Shell Rock winning by as many as 132 points in 2021 — only the top-10 scorers contributed to a team’s overall team score.

So as the tournament unfolded, the Tigerhawks kept pace with the mighty Go-Hawks. After the first day of competition, Waverly-Shell Rock led Colfax-Mingo, 100-99. After Saturday’s quarterfinal round, Colfax-Mingo pulled even, 120-120. A strong semifinal round helped the Go-Hawks win, but Colfax-Mingo comfortably took second.

Colfax-Mingo's Mariah Webster, top, wrestles Perry's Charity Mickles at 120 pounds during the first session of the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) girls' state wrestling tournament Jan. 21 at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa.

Six Tigerhawk wrestlers won medals. Mariah Webster (120) and Maggie Schroeder (155) both won their third career state medals. Doty recorded five pins en route to sixth at 130 pounds. As a team, Colfax-Mingo went 39-26 overall and finished with 33 pins, second among all teams to Waverly-Shell Rock.

Hume took the second-place team trophy and put it in the school’s trophy case in the front lobby with the others. They’ve won three in four years and will bring back seven girl wrestlers from this year’s team for the first IGHSAU-organized girls wrestling season in 2022-23 — including three that wrestled at the state tournament last month.

Hume is excited about the new heights they can take the program.

“We’re going to miss the senior group, but they’ve left a mark on the younger kids here,” Hume said. “Four years from now, we might be having the same conversation on successful wave of Colfax-Mingo girls wrestlers.”

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