Wayne junior Stetson Baker flips a Bedford-Lenox opponent with a fireman’s carry. The Falcons got their season started strong with a win and a close loss against schools consolidated for wrestling season. Photo by Heidi Bellon
FALCONS GO FROM FIVE ATHLETES TO 25 IN FOUR YEARS
Even for an optimist like Wayne head wrestling coach Joe Nekvinda, it would have been difficult four years ago to imagine 25 Falcons suiting up for the 2016-17 season. The year before Nekvinda and assistant coach Joel Petty took over, Wayne fielded a team of five.
That group ended the year with only three healthy wrestlers. It went up to 11 Nekvinda’s first year, 17 last year, and now the breakout season of 2016-17.
Against an 11-school conference, where teams are sometimes consolidated from three different schools for wrestling season, a winning season is expected for Wayne. Last year, the Falcons missed that mark by one match, finishing 11-12. Dec 5, 2016, 14:15
The hustle of Wayne’s Tori Freeman led to this short range jump shot for 2 points by teammate Haylee Fortune. Wayne moved to 2-0 to start the season with a 57-16 win over Twin Cedars on Nov. 29. Photo by Jason Selby
SEVEN OF 12 PRIDE OF IOWA CONFERENCE TEAMS WILL BE 2A SCHOOLS, WITH THREE RANKED IN THE TOP TEN
The 2016-17 Lady Falcons’ basketball team will face an uphill battle during the regular season, one they hope will help toughen them up for a Class 1A playoff run.
Of the other 11 teams in the Pride of Iowa Conference, seven of them are Class 2A, with three of those schools—Central Decatur, Interstate 35 and Mount Ayr—ranked in the Top Ten. Nodaway Valley returns two six-foot tall post players.
“You look at our schedule top to bottom, on a routine night, us having to play those schools twice, it’s going to be pretty salty,” fourth year head coach Stacy Snyder said. “My ultimate goal is to get a couple upsets, and win a couple of ballgames we’re not supposed to on any given night. I’m realistic playing a 2A schedule. I guarantee you the kids won’t fault on effort.” Dec 5, 2016, 13:17
Sophomore runner Jessica Helseth holds her medal for finishing 11th at the district cross country meet at DMACC in Ankeny, becoming the first Lady Falcon to ever qualify for the Iowa State Meet.
In what may have been one of the most eventful weeks overall in Wayne athletics, the football team upset East Union, the volleyball team pulled off a 5-set thriller in the 1st round of the playoffs, and for the 1st time ever, a Lady Falcons cross country athlete, Jessica Helseth, qualified to run at the Iowa State Meet.
Helseth, a sophomore, finished 11th at the district meet in Ankeny with a time of 21:43. The State Meet is Sat., Oct. 29 at Fort Dodge.
“Jessi is very inspiring not only to her teammates, but to me as well,” head coach Rebecca Roberts said. “At the end of the season last year, she made it a goal to be in the top 10 at all of her regular season races and to hopefully make it to State. She did what it took to make this goal a reality. She earned a medal at every meet, and placed 11th out of 121 girls at districts." Nov 1, 2016, 10:06
Wayne senior Connor Runyon tackles Kole Seales for a loss with Hunter Clark, 30, also in pursuit. The Falcons upset 10th ranked East Union 48-26. Photo by Jason Selby
WAYNE SCORES FIRST 28 POINTS AGAINST 7-1 EAGLES, BEFORE SENIOR TREVOR WILSON RETURNS FROM A KNEE INJURY TO HELP HIS TEAM HOLD OFF HUGE COMEBACK, 48-26
While the Falcons may have already been eliminated from playoff contention, they had a point to prove on Oct. 21 against 10th ranked East Union.
Wayne jumped all over the Eagles early, capitalizing on several of their opponent’s turnovers. In the 1st half, freshman quarterback Chasen Kiefer, looking as comfortable in the pocket as he has all year, threw 2 touchdown passes, and senior Trevor Wilson scored 3 touchdowns, including a 43-yard reception that put the Falcons up 28-0.
But with less than a minute to play in the 2nd quarter, East Union scored a touchdown to narrow the margin to 28-8. It was the spark the Eagles needed.
In the 3rd quarter, back to punt, Wilson could not handle a bad snap. He ran up the left sideline instead, almost reaching a 1st down, but was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. Nov 1, 2016, 09:44
Wayne’s Caitlyn Pruiett dives for a tough dig as fellow junior Raeshel Andrews backs her up. Photo by Jason Selby
BEATS MORAVIA 3-2, WILL NEXT FACE 18-5 SEYMOUR
It was not always easy for the Lady Falcons volleyball team, but in the 1st round of the playoffs last Tuesday night, Wayne finally pulled to .500 on the season. The girls fought off Moravia to move their record to 12-12. In doing so, they reached the 2nd round of the playoffs, a matchup at 18-5 Seymour on Mon., Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.
Coming into Tuesday, Wayne had defeated Moravia twice, but the Mohawks clawed out the 1st set 25-20, led by lanky standout senior Payton Rogers, who finished with 20 kills.
In a must-win situation, the Lady Falcons came back to avoid a 2-0 deficit, eaking out a 25-23 set to even the match. Things were looking up when Wayne pulled away 25-14 in the 3rd set, but Moravia kept fighting. The Mohawks pushed it to a 5th set by the narrowest of margins, 25-23. Oct 24, 2016, 14:42