Cooksley has excelled at directing traffic for an Independence team that entered the week on a 22-match win streak and climbed to a No. 3 ranking in Class 4A. The senior leads all 4A setters with 729 assists. Last weekend, she helped Independence capture a third consecutive Columbus Invitational title with 131 assists. “Holly is the quarterback of our offense,” Independence coach Joe Schmitz said. “She does a terrific job of getting the ball to our hitters. We had a hitting efficiency over .400 for the day Saturday, which is a reflection of the great job she continues to do as our setter.” Cooksley is a four-year starter and two-time first-team all-conference selection in the WaMaC West. She also participates in tennis and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Ludwig came up clutch Friday as the free safety recorded the game-winning tackle at the 1-yard line as time expired during Columbus’ 22-16 win over Anamosa. Ludwig leads the secondary for a Sailors team (5-1) that has climbed to No. 9 in Class 2A with five takeaways and two defensive touchdowns. He also has 25 catches for 370 yards this season as a wide receiver. “Kaden has a knack for being around the ball,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit said. “He is a definite playmaker both offensively and defensively. ... (On offense) he is a solid possession guy for us, but he also has the ability to make explosive plays outside the numbers and gain yards after the catch.” Ludwig also competes in basketball and track and field.
Jacobs has been a valuable leader and difference maker within a Waverly-Shell Rock team that is ranked No. 7 in Class 4A and entered the week with wins in eight of its last nine matches. In seven matches last week, Jacobs tallied 51 kills on .512 hitting, averaged one block per set and served 91 percent with multiple aces. “Jessica has worked hard in the weight room and on the volleyball court,” W-SR coach EaVon Woodin said of her 6-foot middle hitter. “She is very coachable and wants to continue to improve and help her team have success.” Jacobs plans to continue her volleyball career at William Jewell College.
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Willis has seen her role grow each season as a dynamic fourth-year starter for Class 2A’s top-ranked Grundy Center. She has hit from all three positions in the front row this season, averaging 2.6 kills per set at a .356 clip. Willis hit .478 and tallied 11 blocks, while serving 94 percent with 10 aces during last weekend’s Waverly tournament in which the Spartans (33-1) swept Class 5A’s No. 4 Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the final. “Kylie always brings energy to the floor and is not afraid to take on any opponent,” Grundy Center assistant Danielle Schmidt said. “She thrives under pressure and wants the opportunity to get a kill for her team in tight matches.” Willis started for the state runner-up basketball team and participates in track, student senate and National Honor Society. She plans to play volleyball at Upper Iowa University.
Graves is a three-year starter on the line who excelled during Friday’s 53-0 win at East Marshall. He tallied five tackles, including two sacks and two tackles for loss on running plays, helping Class 1A’s No. 1 Dike-New Hartford improve to 6-0. Graves leads D-NH with 32 tackles on the season. “Daniel is a tremendous young man who is one of our hardest workers, both on the practice field and in the weight room,” D-NH coach Don Betts noted. “He leads by example with his work ethic. He plays with intensity and enthusiasm.” Graves also competes in wrestling and track and field. He is a captain and part of the team’s senior leadership group.
Fulcher has been a key leader in the middle of the defense for Class A’s top-ranked Hudson. The Pirates junior led the team with 11 tackles during Friday’s 27-12 win over St. Ansgar. He has a team-high 48.5 tackles from his middle linebacker position. On offense, Fulcher is averaging 14 yards per touch with five rushing and two receiving touchdowns. “Being right in the middle, we’re asking him to communicate with the guys in front of him and behind him and he’s done a really good job with that,” Hudson coach Justin Brekke said. “He really embraces that leadership role and guys respect him and listen.” Fulcher is also a state wrestling placewinner.