Jaiden Moore has a new home.
Benton Community’s 120-pounder has continued his success that included a Class 1A state runner-up finish for Don Bosco last season.
“It’s been great,” Moore said. “The whole transition was really easy and pretty smooth. Everyone welcomed me with open arms. All my coaches and teammates are great.”
Moore will take the first steps toward returning to the state tournament when the Bobcats compete in the Class 2A sectional Saturday at Independence. The top two wrestlers advance to next week’s district meet, while the top two teams move on to Tuesday’s regional duals.
The fifth-ranked junior is 28-5, entering a field that includes No. 4 Union Community, Oelwein, Vinton-Shellsburg, Williamsburg and the seventh-ranked Mustangs. He is one of 11 ranked wrestlers there.
“His hard work is paying off this year,” Benton Coach Jake Voss said. “We’ve had some tough matches and we’ve beat a few good kids, too. He’s just a good all-around kid to have on our team.”
Moore’s family moved into the Benton district in the middle of last season. He opted to stay at his old school, but he reunited with his family before the season.
“It was a decision I made in the fall,” Moore said. “I wanted to come here and be with them.”
Voss said he was pleasantly surprised to learn Moore was joining the program. In addition to being a potential state medalist and finalist, he has a positive influence on his teammates due to his work ethic.
“He’s a very talented kid,” Voss said. “He’s just as good as a hard worker, too. He really sets the tone in the practice room and elevates the guys around him. He’s a great kid to have in the room.
“From a coaching standpoint, our goal is to make him the best that he can be. If we can, he is going to be pretty tough.”
Moore has quality victories and his five losses include four to ranked foes and four by a total of just six points. Voss praised Moore for being coachable, getting back to practice to improve after each setback. Moore has learned from those bouts.
“I like those tough and big matches,” Moore said. “I’ve had a lot of exciting ones this year. They will benefit me in the long run.”
Moore is a complete wrestler. He is strong on his feet and in the top position. Voss said Moore is a pinner, who is developing his tilts and turns. He noted he is solid underneath, but he’s not in that position often. The sky is the limit for him.
“Jaiden has high goals for himself,” Voss said. “I think he can do whatever he allows himself to do.”
Confidence helped propel him to the state finals. He had faith in his skill and preparation. The experience was positive but the loss has motivated him to get back and finish the mission.
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“The biggest thing is wrestling my style and really pushing the pace on guys,” Moore said. “I know I can beat anyone when I’m at my best. I truly believe I’m going to win.”
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