116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — It’s been 7 1/2 months since East Buchanan sophomore Cody Fox became the first commitment of Iowa football’s Class of 2024.
He’s one of several homegrown Hawkeye football players who have committed or signed in the last year — and recently it’s been easy for them to keep tabs on each other.
Sometimes, they’re just a mat or two away at Wells Fargo Arena.
“I’m already creating bonds that will last a lifetime,” said Fox, who earned a fourth-place finish at heavyweight in Class 1A Saturday at the state wrestling tournament. “I love it.”
One Iowa signee — junior Ben Kueter of Iowa City High — won his third straight 3A title at 220 pounds late Saturday. He plans to wrestle and play football for the Hawkeyes and finished the season undefeated.
Linn-Mar heavyweight Luke Gaffney will join Iowa next season as a preferred walk-on.
Gaffney sprang a reversal with 36 seconds left in his final high school match to cement a seventh-place finish in 3A. The three-time medalist battled through an array of painful injuries and said wrestling and football serve as ideal complementary sports.
“Honestly, I just think it’s the mindset,” Gaffney said. “I personally believe that there’s no sport competing-wise like wrestling. So to go from that to football, every one-on-one you have, every down you go, it’s just like a live match. You want to keep that guy in front of you and you want to take him down.”
Fox — whose older brother, Taylor, finished fourth at state in 2019 and already is a preferred walk-on at Iowa — routinely keeps in touch with fellow future Hawkeyes Aaron Graves of Southeast Valley and Maddux Borcherding-Johnson of Norwalk. That enjoyable task’s been made much easier this week, as Graves wrestled to a fourth-place finish in 2A at heavyweight, and Borcherding-Johnson took third at 285 in 3A.
“We’ve been talking throughout the tournament,” Fox said. “Those guys are doing great.”
Jackson Jaspers wrestles back to place ... again
Mount Vernon sophomore 138-pounder Jackson Jaspers has qualified for two state tournaments. Each time, he’s lost a first-round match. And each time, he’s navigated the grueling and draining backside of the bracket to earn a medal.
“Even last year, I lost my first match and I ended up coming back to get seventh place (at 132),” said Jaspers, who finished fourth in Class 2A this year. “So I knew it was possible. I knew it was gonna be harder than it would be on the front side, but I just had to get to that mental state where you think you can do anything.”
Jaspers said last year’s experience helped him remain calm and steeled to the tough task ahead this time around.
“Last year I was terrified,” Jaspers said. “I couldn’t go to sleep the night before. It was bad. The nerves weren’t really there this time. I mean, they were still there, but not as much as the year prior, just knowing I’ve done this before, I can still come back.”
Brady Stille places third
Brady Stille produced a strong consolation bracket run to earn Decorah’s best individual finish in 16 years.
Stille won four straight bouts after a quarterfinal loss to Camanche titlist Erik Kinkaid to finish third at 145 in Class 2A.
It was the Vikings’ top finish since Taylor Mansfield won the 3A heavyweight title in 2006.