It’s going to be an historic night on Monday at the Dallas Center-Grimes Meadows Gym.
Former Ankeny Activities Director Brent Buttjer and the Mustangs will host what is being billed as the first team dual in the state of Iowa for girls’ wrestling. Ankeny, Spencer and Waverly-Shell Rock will also compete.
The meet will begin at 5:30 p.m. with introductions of the wrestlers and an all participant photo. Each wrestler will receive a souvenir towel courtesy of Creative Legacy Company.
Ankeny will then face Dallas Center-Grimes in its opening match. After some junior varsity matches, the Hawkettes will then meet Waverly-Shell Rock at approximately 7:30 p.m.
“We have 33 girls out,” said Ankeny coach Dustin Roland. “Most of them are new to the sport. We had about 7-9 girls representing Ankeny and Centennial at last year’s Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials state tournament. A couple of them were seniors, so we’re looking at about seven girls who actually have some experience. The good news is that the learning curve is going to be big.”
Roland, a former Central College wrestler, served eight years as the head wrestling coach at Des Moines Lincoln, his alma mater. He said he simply wants the Hawkettes to compete while gaining some experience.
“Personally, I want to keep as many of those 33 girls we have on the roster–minus the seniors–out for the sport next year,” he said. “To have 25 girls returning with experience would be great.”
The expectations are higher for those Ankeny wrestlers who already have some experience on the mat.
“Those seven who wrestled at state last year are pretty salty,” Roland said. “We’d like to see a number of them qualify for the actual first-ever girls’ state tournament this year. It’s hard to set team goals right now because there is no dual team tournament for girls this season, so we’re just looking to get some competition. We want to learn from losses and learn from wins as well, too.
“Just basically being open-minded and willing to pick up things we didn’t know or didn’t understand. When we go out on the mat and things go our way, great. We still have to pick things that didn’t go well for us during that match and learn from them. And then obviously, when we don’t come out on top in matches, we’ve got to figure out what we can do differently to come out on top in those matches,” he added.
Monday’s meet will be the beginning of a busy week for the Ankeny squad. The Hawkettes will compete at Waukee Northwest on Tuesday, at Ballard on Thursday and at Independence on Saturday.