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WAVERLY, Iowa -- Cassy Herkelman expected to be knocking on the door.

When she knocked it down, it was pandemonium for everybody else.

As the final ticks of the scoreboard counted down 3...2...1 with Herkelman holding a 6-2 advantage over Marion's Scout Morehouse in a 112-pound Class 3A district wrestleback, a capacity crowd of better than 1,500 rose collectively to their feet to mark a historic event in Iowa high school wrestling history.

The win made Herkelman the first female wrestler to qualify for the Iowa State High School Wrestling Championships in Des Moines.

"I don't even know how to explain it," said an emotional Herkelman, making no attempt to hide back tears of joy. "My aunt and uncle (Gina and Scott Herkelman) came all the way from Chicago to watch me and that makes this day even better.

"This just shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I've thought all year I could make it to state and the last couple of weeks I began to realize how tough it would be, but now that I made it ... it surprises me, too.

"After I got my arm raised, it was shocking even though I knew I had won the match. This has been a dream for a long time."

A short time later, word was received that a second girl, Megan Black of Ottumwa, also qualified. Black and Herkelman are both in the same weight class, 112 pounds.

After Gilbertville official Curt Frost raised her hand in victory and she signed the winning scorecard, dad, Bill, was there by her side with a huge bear huge and his own tears of joy.

"I'm as tired as she is I think," Bill Herkelman said. "I'm so proud of her. This has been her goal since probably third grade."

After opening with a pin of Cedar Rapids Jefferson's Cody Hensel in 3 minutes and 37 seconds, Herkelman lost to Waverly-Shell Rock's Spencer Derifield by fall in the semifinals.

That dropped her into the consolation finals against Cedar Rapids Washington's Troy Neagle, who had beaten her already twice this season.

It didn't matter.

Herkelman locked Neagle into a cradle early in the first period, almost saw him wiggle out of it, be she never gave up on it eventually spinning Neagle to his back and decking him in 1:31 to put her into the wrestle back against Morehouse.

She controlled that match, too, scoring a takedown in each period en route to the victory.

"The Neagle kid is a heck of a competitor. I knew she could wrestle with him and today she did exactly what she needed to do and wrestled slow and in control," Bill Herkelman said. "The Marion kid was an unknown to her. We had never seen him wrestle. To go out and wrestle that well ... I could tell when she was warming up she was locked in on what she had to do."

Herkelman, 20-13 overall, will find out who she opens the 2011 3A state tournament with Sunday afternoon. The 3A state tournament starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

"What a outstanding day for Cassy," Cedar Falls head coach Wil Kelly added. "Thursday will be a sweet opportunity for her."

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