Two teammates from a central Iowa school playing in this week's state tournament have something in common they'd rather not. They've both dealt with horrible losses in their personal life.

Both Emily Fontana and Syd Wycoff have had a parent die from brain cancer in the past year.

Emily's stepmom, Amy, died just as the season was beginning. It's still very difficult for her to discuss, as you'll see in the video below.

During Ankeny Centennial's win Wednesday at the state tournament, Emily had beads on her shoelaces that spelled her stepmom's initials.

Syd's father, Greg, passed away nearly a year ago. She wears a headband in his honors that reads, "4DAD." However, it's a message that's worn on the inside of the headband, not for the world to see.

Friday afternoon, Ankeny Centennial plays Cedar Falls in the 5A Semifinals in Des Moines. The two girls will again honor the parents they lost with beaded shoelaces and a headband. Their teammates will again have something written in magic marker on the inside of their wrists. It will read simply, "AF. GW." in honor of a much-missed stepmom named Amy Staggs-Fontana and a father named Greg Wycoff. Parents who are watching happenings in Des Moines this week from a much better seat than anyone in Wells Fargo Arena.

[via Des Moines Register]