Pulis wins 3 matches, 2 by fall, for Lynx at state tournament
Girls wrestling to become sanctioned sport in Iowa
CORALVILLE — For Webster City assistant wrestling coach Joel Kennedy, there wasn’t much that was different. Wrestlers warmed up in the bowels of the Xtreme Arena while others attempted to shed pounds prior to weigh-in, things he’d witnessed countless times at various tournaments.
The only real difference was it was girls rather than boys doing the training.
Kennedy directed WCHS grapplers Maddi Pulis and Brynna Croy at the girls state wrestling tournament on Friday, and while he was used to the surroundings, he says his pupils were a bit in awe.
“I think the girls were really star-struck in the beginning when we walked in there,” he said. “But it was awesome and it shows they can get the impact from the sport of wrestling that all of us fell in love with.”
Pulis, a sophomore 170-pounder, had a busy day, as she wrestled five times in front of a large crowd. She opened the tournament with a 14-second pin over Dubuque Wahlert’s Emily Dominguez, but ran into eventual state runner-up Bella Porcelli of Southeast Polk in the second round.
Following a loss to Porcelli, Pulis reeled off two more wins — a pin over West Liberty’s Maelyn Wainwright (31 seconds) and decision over Ridge View’s Daynia Werner (11-7) — before her tournament ended with a setback against Allison Metschke of Ames.
“Maddi wrestled really well,” Kennedy said. “She ran into the buzzsaw of Porcelli and then she was pretty tired after her last match. The girl she wrestled from Ames had only wrestled twice and you could tell she was a bit more fresh.”
Croy was knocked out of the tournament after back-to-back losses at 125 pounds.
“Both of the matches that Brynna was in, she didn’t hold back,” Kennedy said. “She got in on a good shot on both, but just let her head hang.”
Kennedy said both girls, particularly Pulis, were elated on Saturday when the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced that it will officially sanction girls wrestling, starting in the 2022-23 school year.
“Maddi was super excited about it, and I told her it’s time to start recruiting some teammates,” Kennedy said. “As a father of three young girls that are going to grow up around the sport, I think it’s really cool.”
The rapid increase in wrestling participation in recent years essentially forced the IGHSAU to act. Iowa becomes the 34th state to officially sponsor girls wrestling.
A total of 695 girls were signed up to compete at the state tournament over the weekend.
“The girls are excited about the sport being sanctioned,” WCHS head wrestling coach Chad Hisler said. “This will allow us to have two separate teams and I believe that our numbers will continue to grow and more girls will join.”
In addition to Pulis and Croy on the high school team, Hisler said there are six girls who compete for the middle school squad.