Union/Gladbrook-Reinbeck wrestlers compete at regionals

Worthen regional champ, heading for a threepeat

Knights wrestler Jillian Worthen, front, smiles alongside her fellow Knights after winning the 125-pound bracket at the IGHSAU super regional held at Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids last Friday. The regional champ and now three-time state qualifier will compete in the 2024 Girls State Wrestling Tournament in Coralville this week beginning Thursday. PHOTO COURTESY OF JILLIAN WORTHEN/FACEBOOK

CEDAR RAPIDS – After earning back-to-back state wrestling titles the last two years, Union/G-R wrestler Jillian ‘Monster’ Worthen will have the opportunity this week to add a third state medal to her collection.

Worthen, a junior at Union High School, secured her trip to the 2024 Girls State Wrestling Tournament by taking first place last Friday in the 125-pound bracket at the IGHSAU super regional held at Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids.

During last year’s inaugural Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union state wrestling tournament she took first in the 105 pound bracket in a repeat of her February 2022 state performance.

Worthen earned her regional title this year by going 4-0 on Friday with four pinfall wins.

She was the top-seed at the Region 5 tournament. Following a first round bye, she pinned Wahlert Catholic’s Abigail McDermott in a minute-five.

In the quarterfinal round, Worthen defeated Linn-Mar’s Reese Roberts by pinfall in a smoking 31 seconds after which she defeated Tori Hansen of Louisa-Muscatine by fall in three minutes, 23 seconds to secure her spot in the championship round.

In the final round, Worthen faced Fort Madison’s Mara Smith whom she pinned following a grueling four minutes, 56 second bout during which she racked up six points for a takedown and two reversals.

Worthen was ranked No. 2 at 125 pounds by IAwrestle heading into Friday’s super regional.

Currently undefeated with 24 wins this season, Worthen is seeded No. 2 heading into the two-day girls state wrestling tournament at Xtream Arena in Coralville which takes to the mats on Thursday where she will face the No. 31 seed, Osage sophomore Melanie Bruesewitz (28-20) in the first round.

Prior to the super regional on Friday, Worthen – a reigning state champ and now three-time state qualifier – posted on Facebook “2 Chronicles 15:7,” a Bible verse which reads: “Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” (King James Version)

A third state championship on the mats this week in Coralville would certainly be one stellar reward.

Union/Gladbrook-Reinbeck at the super regional

Including Worthen, Union/Gladbrook-Reinbeck had eight wrestlers competing last Friday at the Super 5 regional qualifier.

Grace Witt (105) went 1-1, making it to the quarterfinals after beating Linn-Mar’s Mallory Palmer by pinfall in one minute, 48 seconds. In the consolation round she also went 1-1 with a pinfall win over Marie Burns of Cedar Rapids Prairie in three minutes, 52 seconds.

Jasmine Bassett (110), Willa Wolff (120), Alexus Umbaugh (130), Ella Wagner (145), and Xandra Anderson (235) all lost both their respective first round and consolation bouts.

After losing her opening round, Mya Ellsworth (155) went 1-1 in the consolation bracket – pinning Shelbi Novak of Cedar Rapids Washington in two minutes, 56 seconds before being pinned herself by Fort Madison’s Sadie Brandon.

Out of 25 teams, Union/G-R placed 18th with 45 points.