Berns and Medberry earn trip to state

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Reese Berns is making back-to-back appearances at the girls state wrestling tournament. She qualified at 120 pounds, after placing second at regionals. (Photoa by Audrey Posten)

Three straight falls helped Mayleigh Medberry reach the 130-pound championship match at the regional qualifier. She placed second, within the top four needed to advance to state.

Brynn Meyer finished the tournament 2-2 in the 110-pound weight class.

Taylor Moser went 2-2 at 125 pounds.

Crystal Goodrich (155 pounds) wrestled hard in her two matches at the regional/state qualifying tournament in Mason City.

Kimberly Suhr competed in two matches at 135 pounds.

Central wrestlers Reese Berns and Mayleigh Medberry are headed to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union state wrestling tournament. Both punched their tickets with second place finishes at the Jan. 26 regional qualifier in Mason City.


Berns, a junior who was also a state qualifier a season ago, came into the tournament seeded first at 120 pounds.


“I felt pretty confident from the start that I was going to place in the top four,” she said. “I did expect to make it to state just by evaluating my bracket, looking at who I have all wrestled.”


Berns rattled off three straight falls to reach the first place match, where she was pinned by Camille Schult from Waverly-Shell Rock. 


While advancing was exciting, Berns admitted she found more joy in cheering on her teammates.


“I wanted to watch my other teammates that were going to be wrestling soon. I want all my teammates to be successful,” she said.


Berns will enter this week’s state tournament with a record of 38-4, seeded ninth. She cited working hard in practice and attending open wrestling rooms on Sunday nights for preparing her up to this point.


“I felt like I had a lot more individual time with the coaches by going in and also wrestling people I don’t get to in practice. Another thing I did was go into the fitness center to run and work out to lose weight and also manage it. By doing that, it also helped me be in better shape and last the full six-minute match if I needed to,” she shared.


Now, Berns’s top goal is to make the podium, an accomplishment she missed last year after losing by one point in the blood round.


“It really upset me because I knew I could have placed and fell short,” she said. “This year, I am going to do everything I can to make it happen. I will probably meet some girls that I’ve already wrestled this season, so I just need to know what to expect and beat them.”


Joining Berns at the state tournament will be sophomore Medberry, who won her first three matches at 130 pounds by fall, before getting pinned by West Delaware’s Kylee Shoop in the championship bout.


The semifinal was the most monumental win of the day, she said.


“My semifinal match was against a girl I’ve already wrestled three times this season. Going into this match, I knew I could beat her, but I also knew I had to be smart and aggressive. The match ended with a pin,” Medberry said. “Once I got my hand raised, it started to sink in. I thought about this moment all season.”


Medberry missed advancing last year when she lost her final match on the back side of the bracket—to a wrestler she beat earlier in the tournament. That loss motivated her.


“After that happened, I knew I was going to do everything I could to set me ahead the next season. After the regular season, I attended other AAU tournaments to get more mat time. I attended open rooms and camps over the summer. I think the best thing I did was to start my season two weeks early and practice with the junior high. This put my conditioning two weeks ahead of most of the other girls in the state,” Medberry said. “Once the season started, I didn’t feel like I was doing enough to get ahead. I started running every morning. This helped me maintain my weight and improved my endurance.” 


“The lesson that kept showing up this year was ‘You get out of it what you put into it,’” she continued. “The weekend before regionals, I started looking at the schools in our regionals and how I compared to them. I studied trackwrestling for hours. I took notes on the girls’ names and records. I noted if I already wrestled them and so forth. This made me feel pretty confident that I would have the second seed. During the week, I had the ‘I can’ mentality. I controlled my nerves very well the day of and I know that helped me to succeed.”


Medberry has a record of 46-13, and is seeded 18th in the 130-pound state bracket.


“I’m looking for a first round win and after that I will probably end up on the back side of the bracket,” she acknowledged. “It’s hard to compare records when competition varies so much from northern and southern Iowa.”


“My goal,” Medberry said, “is to make it to the second day. Nevertheless, I’m very excited and love to be on the mat.”


The IGHSAU Girls State Wrestling Tournament runs from Feb. 1-2 at Xtream Arena in Coralville. The first session will get underway at 10 a.m. on Thursday.


Along with Berns and Medberry, several other Central wrestlers competed for a state bid last week. Wrestling in the 110-pound weight class, Brynn Meyer finished 2-2. Taylor Moser also went 2-2 at 125 pounds. Kimberly Suhr and Crystal Goodrich were both 0-2 in their respective 135- and 155-pound brackets.


Central coach Colten Ledbeter was proud of all the wrestlers.


“All the girls wrestled very hard and seemed to be wrestling at the highest level. The state qualifying tournaments are always a ton of fun and a roller coaster of emotions. We had girls qualify for the state tournament and get one step closer to their goals, and we also had girls fall short and end their season,” he said. “For those who fell short, we will look at what they need to do to improve for next season, and what opportunities they will have in the offseason to get closer to their goals. For those who qualified, we will now put our sights on getting them onto the podium. We have three days of practice to continue to sharpen their skills before the state tournament, and we will use this time wisely to be prepared.”

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