Last week, Ankeny Fanatic unveiled its all-time Ankeny boys’ basketball team.
Now, it’s the girls’ turn.
Ankeny has a rich tradition in girls’ basketball, boasting more than 40 all-state players dating back to 1940. The community has won a total of 10 state championships.
The history of Ankeny girls’ basketball can be broken down into three distinct eras:
1) The early 6-player era, which consists primarily of a 15-year period from 1940-54. There was a 20-year gap between 1954 and 1974 when Ankeny did not have a single all-state player.
2) The Dick Rasmussen 6-player era. After arriving from South Hamilton, Rasmussen quickly built Ankeny into a powerhouse–both on the basketball court and on the softball field. The Hawkettes won state basketball championships in 1978, 1980 and 1989 under the legendary coach.
3) The 5-player era. Scott DeJong took over the Ankeny program following Rasmussen’s retirement and oversaw the transition to the 5-player game. He led the Hawkettes to six state titles, including a record four consecutive crowns in 2002-05. DeJong moved across town when Ankeny Centennial opened its doors in 2013, and he guided the Jaguars to their first state title in 2016.
Here, then, is the Ankeny Fanatic all-time Ankeny girls’ basketball team, comprised of three different eras:
EARLY 6-PLAYER ERA
Phyllis Keil, 1942: Keil was a two-time all-state pick who led Ankeny to its first state tournament appearance in 1942. She was named to the sixth team as a junior and to the second team as a senior.
Cleadythe Wagner, 1943: Wagner also played on the school’s first state tournament team, which rolled to a 62-24 victory over Bode in the opening round before falling to the Fighting Czechs of Clutier–the eventual champs–in overtime, 56-52, in the quarterfinals. Cleadythe (what a cool name) was a seventh-team all-stater as a senior.
JoAnne Podnar, 1952: Podnar was another all-stater in the early 6-player era. She earned fifth-team honors in 1952.
Jean Wilson, 1940: Wilson was Ankeny’s first all-state selection. She earned third-team honors in 1940.
Deloris Brown, 1953: Brown dominated games without ever scoring a point, leading the Hawkettes to the state tournament and earning first-team all-state honors in 1953. She was later named to the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2006, she was ranked 38th on the Ankeny Press Citizen’s list of the 50 greatest athletes in Ankeny High School history. Let’s make her the captain of the early 6-player team.
C. Muehlenthaler, 1954: Muehlenthaler also played on the 1953 state tournament team. As a senior, she was named to the all-state third team.
Honorable mention: Ruth Esther Mowry (another great name) earned sixth-team all-state honors as a guard in 1947.
DICK RASMUSSEN 6-PLAYER ERA
Karen Wiese, 1977: Wiese was a two-time all-state selection who helped the Hawkettes to a pair of state tournament appearances in 1976 and 1977. She earned fifth-team honors as a junior before moving up to the third team as a senior, when she averaged 29 points per game. Wiese did most of her damage in the post, making her a perfect complement to the other forwards on the elite squad. She went on to play for Iowa State.
Mary Yori, 1978: A first-team all-stater as a senior, Yori led Ankeny to the first state championship in school history in 1978, when the Hawkettes shot a sizzling 72 percent en route to a 78-69 victory over Lake View-Auburn. Yori was also a softball standout who won the Jack North Award in 1978 and went on to become an all-American in that sport at Creighton, where she led the Bluejays to the College World Series three straight years and was later inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. She was No. 6 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
Connie Yori, 1982: Yori was a three-time all-stater, including a two-time first-team pick, and led Ankeny to a state title in 1980. She was the 1981 Miss Iowa Basketball, and she poured in 3,068 points during her career. Yori is a member of the IGHSAU Basketball and Softball Halls of Fame. When she was in high school, Yori would often play pickup games with the boys and would more than hold her own. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she could have played for the boys’ team. Yori was the Michael Jordan of her sport–an amazing athlete who was nearly impossible to stop on her drives to the basket, even with a limit of two dribbles. She was an easy choice as the No. 1 athlete in AHS history on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list. Yori is the captain of the Rasmussen team.
Teri Alleman, 1977: Alleman was a two-time all-stater who played in two state tournaments. After being named to the seventh team as a junior, she was a fifth-team pick as a senior. Her father, Barney, was selected to the all-time boys’ squad last week.
Tina Bertogli, 1978: Bertogli was a standout on Ankeny’s first championship team, earning first-team all-state honors. She set school records for most rebounds (243) and most interceptions (177) in a season, and most interceptions in a career (277). She was a winner of the Jack North Award and was later inducted into the IGHSAU Basketball Hall of Fame. Bertogli ranked No. 28 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
Angie Grunig, 1989: Grunig played a key role on the 1989 championship squad, earning first-team all-state honors. In the Hawkettes’ semifinal win over Elk Horn-Kimballton, she shut down the paint while Ankeny’s other guards focused on defending the perimeter. “Angie was our post guard and we wanted to take away their 3-pointers–which we did–so she had to take the post girl 1-on-1, and she did a great job,” Rasmussen said. Grunig was named to the all-tournament team.
Rhonda Penquite, 1974: Penquite was a versatile scorer who helped lead Ankeny to a state tournament berth in 1974, its first trip to state in 21 years. She was named the Iowa Athlete of the Year and went on to play at Grand View and UNLV before finishing her college career at Oral Roberts, where she was a two-time team MVP and a two-time all-American. Penquite eventually became a pioneer for women’s professional basketball, playing in the WBL for the Iowa Cornets. She is in both the Grand View and Oral Roberts Athletic Halls of Fame, and she has uniforms from her professional career on display in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Penquite was No. 15 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
Karlin Hayes, 1981: Hayes was a fourth-team all-stater on the 1981 team that placed second in the state tournament. She was also a standout in softball and track, and is a member of the IGHSAU Softball Hall of Fame. She set a state record in the long jump, helping Ankeny to a state track title. Hayes elected to play basketball in college and became a starting point guard at Drake, helping the Bulldogs reach the NCAA Tournament. She was fifth on the Press Citizen’s greatest athletes list.
Dara Scharf, 1990: Scharf was a dominant post player who helped Ankeny to a state title in 1989. As a senior in 1990, she led the Hawkettes to another state tournament appearance and earned second-team all-state honors.
Kathy Johnson, 1980: Johnson was the leader of Ankeny’s backcourt as a senior in 1980, when she helped the Hawkettes to their second state title in three years. For the first time, teams qualified for the state tournament by classes: Ankeny (4A) emerged as one of the class champions before edging Class 3A winner Norwalk, 71-69, on Jacque Meyer’s 13-foot jumper with 2 seconds left to claim the overall crown. Johnson was a second-team all-state pick.
Julie Madole, 1989: Madole was a fourth-team all-stater after helping Ankeny to the state title in 1989. In the championship game, the Hawkettes held Atlantic to just 36 points while becoming the first program since the IGHSAU began running the event to win three state championships.
Michelle Eilander, 1989: Eilander was another standout on the 1989 squad, teaming up with Grunig and Madole to form one of the best backcourts in school history. She was a second-team all-state selection. Eilander’s daughters, Meghan and Holly Trimble, played for Ankeny in recent seasons.
Honorable mention: Cherie Andersen started as a forward on two state championship teams (1978 and 1980) and was No. 20 on the Press Citizen’s all-time list; Debbie Comstock (1974) and Michelle Butler (1985) were both all-state guards for the Hawkettes.
F–Maddie Manning, 2012: Manning was a two-time first-team all-stater who played in four state tournaments for the Hawkettes. As a senior, she averaged 16.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and was named the Iowa Gatorade player of the year. Manning led Ankeny to a runner-up finish in 2012 and was selected the captain of the all-tournament team, despite the Hawkettes’ overtime loss to Iowa City West. She went on to play for Oklahoma, where she overcame two season-ending knee injuries to play in four NCAA Tournaments and scored more than 1,000 career points for the Sooners. She has played professionally overseas for the last two years, and in March she was inducted into the IGHSAU Basketball Hall of Fame after being elected on the first ballot.
F–Nicky Wieben, 2005: Wieben was a four-time all-stater who led Ankeny to the historic run of four straight titles in 2002-05. She was named to the all-tournament team all four years and was selected captain of the squad in 2003-04. She scored 162 points in 12 career games at the state tournament, which is tied for eighth on Iowa’s all-time list. Wieben twice was named Iowa’s Gatorade Player of the Year and was also selected The Des Moines Register’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2005. She finished her career as the holder of several school records, including total points (1,392) and rebounds (760). She went on to star at Iowa State, where she racked up 1,248 career points and set the school record for blocked shots in a career (198). Wieben was No. 8 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list, and she was later inducted into the IGHSAU Basketball Hall of Fame. We’ll make her the captain of the 5-player team.
C–Kristina Voss, 2005: Voss was a three-time all-stater who teamed up with Wieben to dominate the paint during Ankeny’s dynasty, when the Hawkettes went 27-0 to complete the fourpeat and compiled a 95-11 record over those four seasons. She finished her career with 1,212 points and 663 rebounds. Voss was named to the all-tournament team for the third time after Ankeny defeated Cedar Rapids Washington, 65-57, in the 1,000th and final girls’ basketball game played at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The Hawkettes ended that season with a 44-game winning streak and a 66-game streak against Iowa opponents, and they were ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today. Voss went on to play for Creighton.
G–Traci Jones, 1998: Jones was a two-time all-stater who scored 1,031 points in her career. As a junior, she helped Ankeny to its first 5-player state title and was named to the all-tournament team. She scored 25 points in the semifinals as the Hawkettes outlasted Waterloo West, 85-81, in five overtimes in the longest state tournament game ever. She averaged nearly 16 points per game as a senior, when Ankeny reached the Class 4A semifinals. Jones, who went on to play for Creighton, was No. 37 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
G–Erica Junod, 1999: Junod was a scoring point guard who twice was named to the all-state first team. She led the Hawkettes to a pair of titles and was selected to the all-tournament team three straight years. As a sophomore, she was named captain of the squad after scoring 47 points, which led the Class 4A field. In the unforgettable win over Waterloo West, Junod scored Ankeny’s final nine points in the fifth overtime and finished with 26 points. She ended her career as the holder of 10 school records, including most career assists (351) and most points in a season (484 in 1999). She was named a third-team all-American and the CIML player of the year as a senior. Junod went on to play at Iowa State, where she was a three-year starter for the Cyclones. She was No. 10 on the Press Citizen’s greatest athletes list, and she was later inducted into the IGHSAU Basketball Hall of Fame.
6th man–Amy Beverly, 2002: Every team needs some scoring punch off the bench, and Beverly would be able to provide it. She earned all-state honors and was named to the all-tournament team after helping Ankeny to the first of its four straight state titles in 2002. She scored all 16 of her points in the second half to lead the Hawkettes to a 51-47 victory over top-ranked Des Moines Lincoln in the semifinals. Then, in the finals, she helped Ankeny to a 29-27 win over Waterloo West. She set a school record with 57 3-point goals as a senior. Beverly went on to play softball at Missouri Western State, where she was a two-time NCAA Division II all-American. She was No. 31 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
Honorary member–Connie Yori, 1982: Yori starred at Ankeny in the 6-player game, but she then went on to play at Creighton, where she quickly adjusted to the 5-player game and became one of the best players in school history. She ranks third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 2,010 points and was inducted into the Creighton Hall of Fame in 1992. Her No. 25 jersey has been retired by the school. That’s how good Yori was–she deserves a spot on both of our 6-player and 5-player teams.
F–Mary Beth Biga, 2004: Biga was a starter on the first three of Ankeny’s four straight championship teams in 2002-04. As a sophomore, she made two late free throws to break the tie against Waterloo West in the title game. She twice earned all-state honors and finished her career ranked second on the school’s all-time list with 246 assists. She was also a state champion golfer who went on to play that sport at Northern Iowa. Biga was No. 25 on the Press Citizen’s top 50 list.
F–Tasha Vipond, 2016: Vipond played a key role as Centennial captured its first state title in 2016. She scored 48 points in the state tournament, including 17 in the Jaguars’ 46-42 win over No. 1 Johnston in the championship game. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned second-team all-state honors. Vipond went on to play for Division I Lafayette, where she recently completed her career with the Leopards.
C–Sara McCullough, 2019: McCullough earned third-team all-state honors in 2019 after averaging 15.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The 6-footer often played on the perimeter–she made 32 3-point goals as a senior. Her cousin, Cody, and her uncle, Gregg, were both named to the all-time boys’ team last week. McCullough is now playing for Northern Iowa.
G–Meg Burns, 2020: Burns was a sharpshooting guard and standout defender who helped Centennial to a state tournament berth in 2019. She earned second-team all-state honors as a senior, when she made 61 3-pointers and shot 48.4 percent from behind the arc. “She’s the best shooter I’ve coached,” DeJong said. Burns will play for Nebraska-Kearney next year.
G–Rheanna Egli, 2010: Egli was a playmaking point guard who helped Ankeny to a pair of state tournament appearances and a 39-9 mark over her final two seasons. As a senior, Egli averaged 14.3 points per game and led the team with 62 assists. She earned second-team all-state honors. Egli went on to play for Emporia State, a Division II program in Kansas.
Honorable mention: Krista Pettipier was a four-year starter at center who played in four state tournaments (2009-12) and went on to play at the Division I level for Pittsburgh and Pepperdine; Megan Wittkop played on all four of Ankeny’s championship teams in 2002-05 and was named to the all-tournament team as a senior, when she led the Class 4A field with 49 points; Sydney Wycoff was an all-state guard who helped Centennial to the state title in 2016 and is now playing at Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, where she won an NCCAA national championship in 2019.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ankeny Fanatic teams were selected by publisher Dan Holm, who consulted with former and current coaches before making his picks.)