Westmoreland’s experience has helped Class 4A’s No. 7 Waverly-Shell Rock open the season 15-0 with tournament wins at Bondurant-Farrar and Mount Vernon. The fourth-year starting outside hitter recorded 50 kills at a .489 hitting efficiency during last weekend’s six victories — including wins over Class 3A No. 1 Mount Vernon, 3A No. 2 Tipton and 2A No. 3 Dyersville Beckman. Westmoreland also averaged an ace and three digs per set as a primary passer. “Jazlyn was consistent and came through with some big kills when we needed to score or sideout, and mixes up her attacks,” W-SR coach EaVon Woodin noted. Westmoreland is verbally committed to play volleyball at Chicago State.
Sinnott has been a dominant force on both sides of the ball for Class 2A’s No. 6-ranked Columbus (2-0). He’s recorded five sacks and ran back an interception 76 yards for a touchdown on opening night against Iowa Falls-Alden. On offense, Sinnott has 14 receptions for 166 yards and five touchdowns. He led last year’s 7-2 team with eight receiving touchdowns and six sacks. “Ben is a matchup nightmare due to his size, speed and athleticism,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit said. “When he gets the ball in his hands, his main objective is to score.” Sinnott also excels in hockey and baseball and maintains a 4.0 GPA.
Weber is off to another impressive start for Class 3A’s No. 4 Union (6-0). She recorded 60 kills at a .415 hitting efficiency through the season’s first six matches, including a tournament title in Independence with wins over Class 1A’s No. 3 Janesville and 4A’s No. 4 West Delaware. The 5-foot-9 junior has more than 860 career kills and was a third-team all-state selection as a freshman and sophomore. Weber also ranks among the team leaders with 2.36 digs per set. “She works extremely hard in the offseason to improve her game,” Union coach Brian Jesse noted. “She’s a quiet leader who leads by example.” Weber also competes in tennis and track and field.
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Paxson has picked up where he left off in 2018 when he led Cedar Falls with five interceptions. The returning strong safety ran back an interception 55 yards for a touchdown during the Tigers’ 39-3 season-opening win over Ames. Paxson is part of a secondary that held Iowa City High to 60 passing yards with completions on just five of 15 attempts during last week’s 52-7 road victory. Class 4A’s No. 3 Cedar Falls has allowed just 10 points in its first two games. “Alex is a hard worker in practice and always seems to be around the football,” Cedar Falls coach Brad Remmert noted. “He has been very consistent as a starting strong safety.”
Opheim has been a difference-maker for Class A’s No. 7 Grundy Center during wins over Belle Plaine and South Hamilton. He’s rushed for 336 yards at an average of seven yards per carry, has recorded 12 tackles from the inside linebacker position and delivered one interception and two fumble recoveries. “He’s a dynamic playmaker in all three phases of the game,” Coach Travis Zajac said of his two-way starter. “He’s a good football player. He’s able to instinctively track plays on the defensive side of the ball, and he prepares hard and takes care of business with film study.” Opheim also competes in basketball.
After the 2018 Chickasaws ended a 44-year state tournament drought, Tank has moved from right side to setter to run the attack for 3A’s No. 9-ranked New Hampton, which has opened the year 10-0. Tank is averaging 10 assists and 2.3 digs per set while still hitting .298 on attacks with 20 kills. She also completes with the Iowa Elite club team. “She’s very knowledgeable about the game and she has a very calm composure to herself,” New Hampton coach Jess Geerts said. “If things aren’t going well she doesn’t get too worked up. She provides that calm leadership that we need on the court to keep everyone in check.” Tank is also active in softball, National Honor Society, student senate and SADD.