A four-year starter for the Trojans, Ernst is off to a 19-5 start with 13 falls in his final prep season. Ernst claimed a championship at the Oelwein Invitational, went 5-1 at the Battle of Waterloo and was sixth in the 30-plus team Independence Invitational. Ernst has 78 career victories and has produced a winning record in all of his seasons. “He is a talented kid with a lot of potential. Fast, quick and strong ... he can do it all. He just needs to believe more in himself,” East coach Jay Llewellyn said. Ernst also has participated in football, track and baseball for the Trojans.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore has been a two-year varsity starter for the Wahawks. Friday in a 64-26 win over Iowa City Liberty, Smith had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. On the season, Smith is averaging 8.9 points for 8-1 West. “From last season to this year she has improved, and she continues to improve and get better day by day,” West coach Dr. Anthony Pappas said. Smith also plays volleyball and was a state qualifier in track last season.
McKenna is the leading scorer for a balanced Pirate team that is off to a 9-1 start. A 5-foot-9 guard/forward, McKenna is averaging 9.5 points per game and leads the team with 54 rebounds. “Maddie brings a consistent presence to our team on both ends of the court and her experience is very valuable to our team,” Hudson head coach Jeff Curley said. “The strength of our team is its balance and team chemistry, and we have many players who lead us from night to night. Maddie’s an example of being a good teammate.” McKenna also plays soccer and is a member of the Hudson PALS, NHS, FFA and FCA organizations.
Antonio Alexander Jr.
An important team-first player, Alexander is contributing in many ways for the Wahawks this season. Friday, he had seven points and led the team with eight rebounds in No. 6 West’s 52-32 win over Iowa City Liberty, A four-year regular and two-year starter, the 6-foot-3 Alexander is averaging 8.7 points and 6.9 rebounds a game. “He can guard all five positions. He is just a great defender,” West coach Cliff Berinobis said. “He brings a toughness to our team that we need on a nightly basis.”
Top-ranked at 170 pounds in both prep polls (The Predicament and IAwrestle), Davis is on a 17-match win streak and is 22-1 with 15 falls. Fourth at last year’s state meet at 160, Davis hasn’t lost since the semifinals of the Independence Invitational on Dec. 7. In his current win streak, he owns a pin over No. 2 Jax Flynn of Solon. “I think one of his best qualities is he is coachable and always looking to learn,” said Independence head coach Michael Doyle. “He is real aggressive and works hard every day to get better.” Davis was a standout on the Mustang football team in the fall as a middle linebacker and tight end.
Preps to Watch 2019-20
Preps to Watch: 2019-2020
Each of The Courier's Preps to Watch for the 2019-2020 school year: