A look back at sports highlights in 2021 for Perry and Woodward-Granger

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Perry's Quin Mahler-Moreno swims during the 200-yard medley relay in the Iowa Girls' high school state swimming and diving championship meet at YMCA/YWCA pool Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Marshalltown, Iowa.

With teams getting back to action in the new year, take a look back at some of the biggest moments of 2021 (presented in no particular order).

Perry state swimmers make their mark

It was a banner year for the Perry swim team. Even though the team consisted of just eight swimmers, the Jayettes managed to send four representatives to the state swim meet, including a return trip for senior Jaylene Karolus. 

As a team, Karolus along with Quin Mahler-Moreno, Lilly Riley and Sophia McDevitt competed in two relays. Karolus competed in two solo events and broke one of her school records while Mahler-Moreno broke her solo 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke record.

Perry's Sophia McDevitt swims during the 200-yard medley relay in the Iowa Girls' high school state swimming and diving championship meet at YMCA/YWCA pool Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Marshalltown, Iowa.

To cap off the monumental season, head coach Jean Dowd was honored with the Golden Plaque Award for her distinguished coaching and was also awarded the swim coach of the year award by the state in recognition of her two decades with Perry.

Woodward's "prove it" moment

By all accounts, the Hawks were not expected to leave the state track meet with points after being outdone at their own conference meet. But Dylan McCaulley, Worth Henry, Christian Husmann and Dylan Bird had different plans in mind when they lined up for the 4x200 relay. 

Woodward-Granger's 4x200 team of Dylan Bird, Worth Henry, Christian Husmann Dylan McCaulley finished sixth at the the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships, Friday, May 21, 2021.

Coming in ranked 20th, they found a new gear and placed sixth by running their fastest time of the season and set a new school record

While the girls' end of things were less productive on the scoreboard, freshman Mylee Lisle was a spark for the team moving forward after running in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes. She was one of only three freshmen to qualify for both events this year.

Mylee Lisle, Woodward-Granger, runs the Class 2A 100 meter dash, during the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships, on Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Des Moines.

Kennedy Tunink qualifies for state track

It took a career-best turn, but Kennedy Tunink came through at the end of the season to hit her peak and qualify for the state track meet. She earned an at-large bid with a time of 1:03.42 in the 400 meter dash, an improvement of two seconds from just the week prior. 

She yet again crushed her own record with a time of 1:03.07 at the state event to set another PR and placed 20th.

Perry's Kennedy Tunink competes in the Class 3A 400 meter dash, during the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships, on Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Des Moines.

Woodward wrestlers qualify for state

Peyton Nixon, Dustin Harney, Riece Graham and Jon McKeever put up a fight all season and were rewarded with trips to the Wells Fargo Arena.

While they were eliminated before reaching the podium, their combined efforts doubled Woodward's qualifying list from 2020. That four-man slate came from a roster of seven that qualified at the district level.

Woodward-Granger's Jon McKeever reacts after winning the sectional title over Greene County's Noble Hoyt on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Ballard's Gabriel Christensen wrestles Woodward-Granger's Dustin Harney during their class 2A 160 pound match at the Iowa high school state wrestling tournament on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Des Moines, IA.