Prep Sports

Gazette area Fab 5: Defending state champions Mount Vernon volleyball, Mid-Prairie cross country among top teams

Ranking the top fall programs, regardless of sport

Mount Vernon's Sydney Dennis (4), left, and Jorie Randall (1) both try to reach the ball during a game against Iowa City
Mount Vernon's Sydney Dennis (4), left, and Jorie Randall (1) both try to reach the ball during a game against Iowa City West at the Mount Vernon Invitational at Mount Vernon High School on Saturday, September 5, 2020. (Cliff Jette/Freelance for The Gazette)

Eastern Iowa’s sports landscape is splattered with successful programs and teams, regardless of sport or class. Successful teams can emerge anywhere. Here are some notable programs of this ever-changing fall season. This is the “Fab Five”:


Mount Vernon volleyball


The Mustangs have won 22 straight matches, including a straight set victory over Maquoketa on Tuesday. They top the Class 3A rankings after winning the 3A state title last season and are fourth in 3A with a .321 kill efficiency. Sydney Dennis, a University of Iowa recruit who transferred in from North Cedar since last season, has stepped into the setting role and is averaging 8.68 assists per set. Her top target is another future Hawkeye, Lauren Schrock, at 3.58 kills per set. Mount Vernon owns victories over ranked foes Waverly-Shell Rock (4A), Independence (3A) and Janesville (1A), dropping just one set all season. A tough stretch awaits at the end of the week, starting with a Wamac showdown with 2A No. 5 Dyersville Beckman Friday.

Washington (Iowa) football


The Demons wasted no time turning heads with their season-opening victory over perennial Class 4A power Bettendorf, 19-10. They followed that with another notable win over past nemesis and 2019 3A state runner-up Solon. Trashaun Willis has powered Washington, tallying 418 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. He has also has one of the Demons’ two defensive scores, returning an interception to seal the Bettendorf win. Zayne Laws and Reece Mayer lead a unit that is second in 3A with 15 sacks and has forced seven turnovers in the first three games. Fifth-ranked Washington heads to Mount Pleasant (2-1) this week in what might be the toughest district game.

Cedar Rapids Xavier volleyball


The Saints have reached each of the last four state tournaments, and this could be Austin Filer’s best team yet. Three seniors — Eve Magill, Jazmine Yamilkoski and Katy Garrison — have been cornerstones of the program since their freshman year. Xavier took its first loss Saturday, to Union Community, which was otherwise an outstanding day as the Saints matched Clinton with a 4-1 mark. This is a team full of big hitters, as their .374 team kill efficiency would indicate. The Saints will participate in the Benton Community Invitational on Saturday.

Iowa City Regina football


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Iowa City Regina is good. It has been good in Class 2A. It reached the 1A semifinals, making nine trips to the UNI-Dome in the previous 10 seasons. The Regals are now in Class A. They opened with a lopsided loss to 4A’s Pleasant Valley when their original opponent (Dyersville Beckman) canceled. Another rescheduled date sent them to 2A Clear Lake in Week 2, which resulted in a 21-20 victory. Regina finally played a team in its own class last week and throttled North Cedar, 62-0. Ashton Cook has passed for 547 yards and five TDs. He has connected with Alec Wick 21 times for 381 yards and four scores, rekindling one of the state’s top passing tandems. The Regals face Wapello (1-1) before hosting No. 8 Lisbon (3-0) on Sept. 25.

Mid-Prairie cross country

The Mid-Prairie boys’ and girls’ cross country programs are both ranked among the top 2A programs. The girls’ team is No. 1, while the boys’ squad is third in the latest Iowa High School Track and Field and Cross Country coaches’ poll. The Golden Hawks are the defending IGHSAU state champs, edging Williamsburg by one a year ago. Impressively, they hold three of the top four spots in the current girls’ individual rankings. Freshman Danielle Hostetler is No. 1 and the younger sister of past Mid-Prairie state champions, Anna and Marie Hostetler. Juniors Jaden and Sydney Yoder are second and fourth, respectively. The boys’ team has three runners in the top 26 led by No. 19 junior Thaddeus Shetler.

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