Wanda Dunsbergen recognized at 100th girls state basketball tourney

“Once an Iowa girl, always an Iowa girl.” These words rang true for
Wanda Dunsbergen of Lynnville who was a guest of honor at Wells Fargo Arena on
Saturday, Mar. 2, during the special celebration of the Iowa Girls High School
Athletic Union’s (IGHSAU) 100th anniversary of the girls state basketball
tournament.                 

                Dunsbergen was one
of 75 women honored during a special halftime ceremony of the 4A championship
game. The “Iowa Girl” celebration recognized former student-athletes and
trailblazers of the game who were part of the IGHSAU’s earliest days of an
organization. Twenty-eight women were in attendance and honored, and a special
video board segment celebrated those who were unable to be there.

                After the
introduction of each honoree, which included an appearance on the big screen,
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds visited with the ladies and talked about her
six-on-six playing days with Dunsbergen.

                Dunsbergen was
nominated by Michelle Van Zante, who is married to Dunsbergen’s grandson,
Jason. Van Zante nominated the 93-year-old after learning about the IGHSAU’s
online campaign to find the “Oldest Known Living Iowa Girl” that launched in
December. Dunsbergen was a member of the Lynnville basketball team that made it
to the state tournament held at Drake Fieldhouse in 1939.

                “Memories of 1939
and 1940 Lynnville basketball girls at the state tournament were
great,” Dunsbergen recalled. “Those years, we had two six-foot girls, and they
were Alice Terpstra (guard) and Ruth Petersma (forward). I got to go (to state)
but was not on the first team.”

                Dunsbergen enjoyed
returning to the state basketball tournament, now held at Wells Fargo Arena, on
Saturday. She, the other honorees, and their family members were given VIP
passes to sit at court level. The Iowa Girls were each given a corsage, a
bracelet with an IGHSAU charm, and a recent publication the IGHSAU put out of
all teams that played throughout the years.

Former Lynnville player Wanda Dunsbergen is pictured taking in the state basketball tournament 80 years after her team qualified for state in six-on-six basketball.

                Dunsbergen had a
pleasant talk with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who used to play basketball and
really liked the six-on-six game.

                To top off the
experience, the Class 4A championship game ended up being a one-point win by
North Scott over Marion, so the Iowa Girls had a good game to watch.

                “I had a most
enjoyable time at the girls state basketball tournament,” Dunsbergen said.

                Another former
basketball player from the area was among the 75 recognized by the IGHSAU on
Saturday. June (Hasley) Williams, 94, of New Sharon was on a state tournament
team from Searsboro in the 1930s as well. She was ill and very disappointed she
couldn’t attend on Saturday. Her parents were Charlie and Margueritte Hasley.

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