Battered and bloody North Mahaska senior Jalayna Shipley continues the historic run of the first-ever girls sanctioned wrestling season. Shipley fought off injury and pain to place second at the Class 1A Super Regional in Des Moines. She now advances to the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union state tourney in Coralville this Thursday.
Shipley’s teammates Libby Groom and Vanessa Murphy saw their seasons come to an end. Groom was able to capture a fifth place finish.
All three senior North Mahaska wrestlers received byes in their first rounds of their respective weight classes. Shipley wrestling at 120 pounds made short work of her first contested match pinning Marshalltown’s Deanna Mancillaz in 38 seconds. In her quarterfinal match she drew Ottumwa’s Maravih Vedina. The two battled through six minutes before Shipley scored the 11-2 major decision to move into the semifinals. Toward the end of the match a gash developed above Shipley’s left eye.
“I had a lot of stuff going on that day,” said Shipley. “I’ve been nursing a shoulder injury and a sore finger. I just gritted my teeth and got it done. I was able to pin quickly in my first one.
My next match was tough because she kept backing up and I couldn’t get a shot.”
Shipley earned penalty points then was able to get Vedina on her back and earn back points but could not earn the pin. After the match Shipley went into injury protocol including checks for concussion. She was guaranteed a spot at state whether she was able to take the mat or not.
“Groom (Coach Ryan) told me I did not have to wrestle,” said Shipley. “There are high expectations for me since I won the conference meet and I wanted to make sure I got a high seed. I was not content to just go I wanted to compete and win.”
She faced Ballard’s Allison Baker in the semifinals. She worked Baker around to take an 8-3 decision and secure her spot in the finals and a state berth. Shipley was on the defensive during her finals match with Layla Ewing of Moravia and spent most of the match down but forced Ewing into the third period before succumbing to the sophomore at the 4:36 mark.
Vanessa Murphy at 155 pounds saw her career come to an end when she lost to West Marshall’s Mary Kalinay in 32 seconds. She moved to the consolation bracket where she faced Zariel Samuels of Clark of Osceola. A minute into the match Murphy scored a takedown. With 20 seconds left in the first period Samuels reversed Murphy and as the period came to the close Samuels scored the pin.
Murphy came into the sport after serving as a cheerleader for the team. She set a goal to win a tournament, something she did in the first part of the season.
“I started out the season pretty good then got injured and missed three weeks,” said Murphy. “I was able to win a couple tournaments early.
“It’s been a really fun learning more about the sport and being with my teammates making history. I was super nervous when I came in, but it was worth it.”
Groom followed her bye in the first round with a snappy 27 pin of Ottumwa’s Sophia Mendibles in her 170 pound match. She faced a very talented Maya Fritz from Dallas Center-Grimes in her second round and lost by pin in 1:10 moving her into the consolation bracket. Groom met Brenna O’Connell of Cedar Falls in the consolation match pinning her in 30 seconds to keep hopes of a podium appearance in line.
Groom matched up with Marshalltown’s Genevieve Lantigua and scored a first period pin in 1:03. Groom advanced on to meet Lauren Heimer of Ankeny who ceded their match due to injury moving Groom into a shot at the third spot and a state berth. She had to face Fritz again and lost by pin in 2:58.
In the true fourth place match Groom lost to Glorious Fridley of Southeast Warren-Melcher-Dallas by pin at the close of the second period in 3:53. The loss ended her high school career.
Should any of the top four from Region 3 be unable to compete Thursday, Groom could advance.
Groom has been a four-year wrestler at North Mahaska and has seen the number of girls increase.
“I’ve been wrestling for four years and wrestling guys,” said Groom. “I’ve got to see this from the ground up. I take a lot of pride in what we have done this year. Everyone will look back and see what we did.”
Although her high school season and career may be over, her wrestling is not.
“I will be going to the AAU state meet and will be in Coralville next week even though it will hurt not wrestling,” said Groom. “My parents have always been my coaches, so I don’t know anything different. They push me to get better.”
Groom will be headed to the National Guard after graduation this spring.
Shipley (26-6) will wrestle at the state meet on Thursday at the Xtream Center in Coralville. She is the 13th seed and will face Evelyn Kramer (36-7) of South Central Calhoun.
Coach Ryan Groom was pleased with how the girls competed.
“Our girls came and wrestled hard,” said Groom. “We didn’t achieve every goal we had but we are really excited for Jalayna. We hope her nothing but the best at the state tournament on Thursday.”