Getting to Know You: Dowling Catholic Maroons


When you win a state title, you don’t rest on your laurels.

In the case of the Dowling Catholic Maroons, they don’t expect any opponent to “Step to the Rear” on their way to a second consecutive Class 5A title.

It’s business as usual once again for the Maroons…just the way Bob and Sharon Hanson prefers it. The legendary coaches welcome back 1st team All-Stater Audrey Faber and Becca Hittner (3rd team All-State) to the starting lineup. Marin Daniels also returns, including Kennedy Childers, who was sidelined for most of the year with an knee injury.

The Maroons will start the season off with a bang…against Class 4A defending champion Harlan on December 2nd. Then they’ll meet Iowa City High, who they defeated in the 5A semifinals, and Cedar Rapids Xavier, as part of a non-conference slate.

The Maroons are ranked #1 by the IGHSAU in their preseason Class 5A poll.

Dowling Catholic Maroons

2013-14 record (overall, conference): 23-3, 4-2

Class, Conference: 5A, CIC – Western Division

Head Coaches: Bob and Sharon Hanson, 42th season,  739-227

Assistant: Jerry Schartner

Retunring starters: Audrey Faber 1st Team All State—Becca Hittner  3rd Team All State–Kennedy Childers  Knee Injury last season played limited in state tournament.  Being recruited by 4 or 5 division I colleges.  Marin Daniels returning starter recruited by Iowa State Soccer.

Returning letterwinners: Amber Gierstorf, Jamie Pithan, Callie Andersen, Soph Maddie Andersen.

Players lost to graduation: Lucie Sarcone and Hayden Butler

Key games on schedule: Iowa City High, Harlan, Ankeny Centennial (2), Valley (2), Johnston (2), SE Polk, Mason City, Waukee, CR Xavier

Interesting storylines: Dowling has one of the toughest schedules in the state this season. The Hansons have won 6 state titles (1 with Des Moines East in 1979, and 5 with Dowling, including last season).

Team goals: Develop some very good young players to complement the talented returners.

Follow on social media: @dchsmaroons (Twitter)




Getting to Know You: Valley Tigers


Frank Sinatra once sung about having “High Hopes”. It was used as a campaign song for John F. Kennedy’s successful presidential campaign in 1960.

“Very high hopes” is what Joe Sigrist describes the upcoming season for his Valley Tigers’ girls basketball squad.

Coming off a record-setting 2013-14 year, the Tigers welcome back three returning starters (seniors Grace VanderWeide and Whitney Fuller, and sophomore Hannah Fuller) and three more letterwinners in Emily Smith, Courtney Carr and Lexi Merritt. VanderWeide is an excellent All-Stater who is unafraid of making the big plays in games that matter. Merritt, a junior guard, is regarded by Sigrist as a sharp shooter that can help stretch opponents’ defenses.

Valley will be looking for depth from their sophomore class to solidify their bench.

The Tigers are ranked 4th in the IGHSAU preseason Class 5A poll.


West Des Moines Valley Tigers

2013-14 Record (overall, conference): 22-2, 5-1

Class, Conference: 5A, CIC – Western Division

Head Coach:  Joe Sigrist, 4th season, 69-34 overall (36-9 in 2 yrs at Valley)

Assistant Coaches: Chris Larson, Kelli Morgan, and Molly McClelland

Returning players and positions: Grace VanderWeide (G), Hannah Fuller (G), Whitney Fuller (G, Lexi Merritt (G), Emily Smith, Courtney Carr

Newcomers: Mackenzie Ward, Casey Carr, Leah Lodermeier, Jadyn Loecke, Jamie Feldt

Players lost to graduation:  Madi Agey, Kasey Feldt, Taylor Steil

Key games on schedule:  Dowling (2), Johnston (2), Waukee, SE Polk, Ankeny Centennial, Iowa City West

Team Goals:  Repeat as CIC Conference Champs and win the 5A State Title

Interesting story lines:  VanderWeide committed to continue her playing career at Missouri State. She is the first Valley GBB player in sometime to play for a Division I school, according to Sigrist. Last season was Valley’s first trip to the state tournament since 2007 (10th appearance overall)

Follow on social media: @ValleyGirlsBB (Twitter)


Getting to Know You: Ankeny Hawkettes

AHSHawk202 register mark

Brad Wilkening is accustomed to winning. The Ankeny girls basketball team is accustomed to winning too. Wilkening hopes that the Hawkettes can continue that winning tradition that vaulted the Hawkettes to powerhouse status, including 4 consecutive state titles. Wilkening is in his first season at Ankeny and his first foray into coaching girls basketball. He comes from Storm Lake St. Mary’s, where he led the boys’ basketball squad to a combined 102-5 in a four year span.

Last season was a unusual winter for the Ankeny Hawkettes. They went 1-10 in the CIC Eastern Division. Wilkening knows that rebuilding the Hawkettes’ will not be a quick fix, but then again, taking struggling programs and making them winners has been his calling card.  The Hawkettes will depend on senior returning players Kelsey Yarrow, Jordan Enga, and Carolyn Buell. Sophomore Codee Myers was the 2nd leading scorer on the team.


Ankeny Hawkettes

2013-14 Record (overall, conference): 5-18, 1-10

Class, Conference: 5A, CIC (Eastern Division)

Head Coach: Brad Wilkening, 1st season (

Assistants: Bryce Maschino, Ryan Rassmusen, Shayna Greitzenhouser, Dennis Anderson and Seth Hagerty

Returners: Kelsey Yarrow, Jordan Enga, Carolyn Buelt, Codee Myers

Newcomers: Hannah Shadrava, Annika DellaVedova, Kayla Heitz

Players lost to graduation: N/A

Key Games on schedule: Centennial, DM East, Dowling, and Valley

Team Goals: “The CIC is a competitive league and we’re looking forward to the challenge”, according to Wilkening.

Interesting storylines: If Ankeny gets to the state tournament, it will be their first tournament appearance since the split and creation of Ankeny Centennial, forming two public schools in Ankeny.

Follow them on Social Media: N/A (Twitter)


Getting to Know You: Hoover Huskies


The Hoover Huskies may have went 9-12 last season, but looks are deceiving. That is because they went 8-3 in the CIC-Metro Conference. Hoover looks to improve and give city rivals Des Moines East and Roosevelt a challenge in the Metro. After graduations to Mikayla Larson and Malaysia Duncan, coach Jason Karadios will look to returning players like Nyachristmas Puok to help the Huskies on the front court.

Is it the Huskies’ year to win the Metro Conference?

Des Moines Hoover Huskies

2013-14 Record (overall, conference): 10-12, 9-3

Class, Conference: 4A, CIC (Metro Conference)

Head Coach: Jason Karaidos, 3rd year (30-37 overall, all @ Hoover)

Assistants: Will Siffin, Jim Petersen, Rachel Chapman, Tristan Maxey

Returning starters/letterwrinners: Nyachristmas Puok (F), Brianna Hale (G), Olivia Evans (P), Emily Hestbech (P)

Newcomers: Madisen Blackford, Hannah Blackford, Hannah Broshar, Drea Turner

Players lost to graduation: Mikayla Larson, Malaysia Duncan, Artorria Jung, Lauren Provost (transferred)… All four were starters

Key Games on schedule: Roosevelt, Perry, and all CIC conference games

Team Goals: Improve each game and gain experience, gain confidence

Interesting storylines: Hoover’s last state tournament appearance was in 2004 (4 overall appearances). The Huskies were runner-ups in the six-player title game in 1983.

Follow them on Social Media: @HooverHuskies (Twitter)


The 2014 Girls’ Basketball Preview

Sneakers, gyms, nets, and basketball. Hoops season is back. (Maxpreps)

Sneakers, gyms, nets, and basketball. Hoops season is back. (Maxpreps)

The winter sports season is upon us, and that means the start of girls’ and boys’ basketball across the state of Iowa.

As a prelude, CISN will roll out our team preview capsules (better known as “Getting to Know You”) of the teams in the Central Iowa Conference (CIC) that we will be following and covering this winter.

This week, we will start with the girls’, since they start their season on Friday.

Can Dowling Catholic go back-to-back and win their 2nd 5A girls title, or will Southeast Polk get their second title in three years? Does Valley, Des Moines East, and Ames have what it takes to take the crown? Will Hoover and Roosevelt get over the hump and make their return to State?

Or is there a dark horse team that could make a splash?

We’ll find out to all of those answers as the curtain rises for the ’14-’15 season.

We’ll have our first look at several teams starting Tuesday afternoon.




Getting to Know You: Ames Little Cyclones


The Ames Little Cyclones are no strangers to the rough and tumble schedule in the Central Iowa Conference (CIC). After a 16-8 season where they lost to Waterloo West in the regional semifinals, coach Joel Sullivan and the Little Cyclones are focused and determined to make a return trip back to state. Ames returns three players from last year’s squad (Ryan Weiss, Emily Frisk, and Molly Sanders), amid heavy graduation.

The challenge for Ames, according to Sullivan, will be their height, which may present some matchup issues going up against taller teams like Dowling Catholic, Ankeny Centennial, and Southeast Polk.

Ames Little Cyclones

Class, Conference: 5A, CIC (Northern Division)

2013-14 Record (overall, conference): 16-8, 5-1

Head Coach: Joel Sullivan, 16th year (211-95 @ Ames, 221-123 overall)

Assistant Coaches: Chuck Stevens, Mike Frisk

Returning players and positions: Molly Sanders (2nd team All Cent. Iowa Conference), G, Emily Frisk, G, Ryan Weiss, G

Newcomers: Haley Melby, Hannah Mumm, Kelly Friedrich, Amara Lipsey

Lost players: Kiana Peterson, Jamie Steyer, Bailee Jackson, Deja McAtee, JeAnn Hiraldo

Key games on schedule: Dowling Catholic, Mason City, Ankeny Centennial, Southeast Polk, Waukee

Team Goals: Get better every day, Come together as a team

Interesting story lines: “We are very short (in height),” according to Sullivan

Follow on Social Media: N/A