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2A state wrestling finals: Union freshman Jace Hedeman starts ambitious career started with title
Class 2A recap: Vinton-Shellsburg’s Gabe Sanders, West Delaware’s Wyatt Voelker, Benton Community’s Jaiden Moore among winners
DES MOINES — Jace Hedeman tossed his head gear to an assistant coach and jogged off the mat. The dynamic, but stoic Union Community freshman was the last man standing — and running — in the Class 2A 106-pound final Saturday at the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. And to him, capping a 46-0 season with a first individual championship was merely the first logical step of a bold four-part plan.
“It’s what I expected,” said Hedeman, who won by decision, 8-3, over Carter West of Burlington Notre Dame. “I knew I was gonna win. I had the right mindset, so it feels good.”
Hedeman’s mental approach to wrestling hasn’t always been so locked in. He said his club coach, Cruse Aarhus, spurred a “mindset swing” two years ago, which prompted him to put pen to paper and spell out a lofty goal — be a four-time state champion.
» Photos: 2022 Iowa high school boys’ state wrestling finals
“I never really went to matches thinking I was the man,” Hedeman said. “And he told me.”
So Hedeman turned words into action. One down, three to go. Lots of work to do.
“Obviously there’s more to come,” he said. “I still have room to improve.”
Gabe Sanders of Vinton-Shellsburg turned his first and only year in the Vikings’ wrestling room into the program’s first individual state title.
The highly-touted senior — whose brother, Cooper, finished second at 145 pounds — won the 152-pound title bout by decision, 5-3, over top-seeded Garrett Seaba of Clarion CGD.
"When I was a little kid I used to go to Vinton’s duals and go watch them and they seemed like the biggest wrestlers in the world,” said Gabe Sanders, who also won two state titles in Utah before returning to Iowa a few months ago. “Like, Olympic wrestlers. Now here I am doing that same thing and doing it a step above.”
Gabe said Cooper, a junior, has always driven him and kept him on the right path.
"There’s been so many times where I just wanted to quit mid-lose weight, just totally quit and eat, but Cooper’s right there with me, losing more weight than me every time,” said Sanders, who finished 25-0. “I looked up to him most of the time.”
West Delaware’s Wyatt Voelker flexed and looked up to the crowd after winning his second straight crown at 195 by major decision over No. 2 C.J. Carter of Glenwood.
The top-ranked and undefeated Voelker (47-0) later revealed a secret about his dominating win.
“You guys didn’t even know this, but this singlet has a curse on it from 2013,” he said.
The “curse” stemmed from the Hawks’ setback at state duals to Davenport Assumption nine years ago. But how did Voelker get his hands on it?
“I actually snuck it out of a practice room last year,” the Northern Iowa recruit said. “I’ve had it in my room since. They didn’t know I brought it.”
They do now, but so what? Voelker’s major helped the defending state champs lock up a third-place team finish — and more hardware for their well-stocked trophy case.
“The coaches weren’t worried about it,” Voelker said. “They said worry about yourself first, but I was for the team. We wanted it. We didn’t have the best week, but we came out of here with a trophy, which is awesome.”
Benton Community’s Jaiden Moore earned his program’s first individual state championship trophy in 37 years. The two-time state finalist — one with Don Bosco, one with the Bobcats — finished his senior season with a sterling 41-0 mark.
“I knew I wanted to put an end to that and I knew I could do it,” Moore said. “I couldn’t do it without my amazing coaches, teammates, community and school. It just feels amazing that I could do it not just for me but for everyone else.”
A few area wrestlers fell just short of attaining a title. Logan Arp of South Tama lost by a 7-1 decision to four-time champion Carter Fousek of Crestwood. Gavin Bridgewater led 2-1 late but lost by fall to Barrett Muller of Osage, which finished second to West Burlington Notre Dame by just half a point (109 to 108.5). Gage Marty of Solon wrestled Easton Fleshman of West Lyon to a 1-1 tie in regulation, but eventually fell 2-1 in a tiebreaker.
Class 2A finals
106: Jace Hedeman (Union Community) dec. Carter West (Burlington Notre Dame), 7-3
113: Kade Blume (Roland-Story) dec. Carter Anderson (Albia), 7-4
120: Kale Petersen (Greene County) dec. Camron Phetxoumphone (Webster City), 8-5
126: Jaiden Moore (Benton Community) dec. Matthew Beem (Glenwood), 5-4
132: Blaine Frazier (Burlington Notre Dame) dec. McKinley Robbins (Greene County), 5-3
138: Carter Fousek (Crestwood) dec. Logan Arp (South Tama), 7-1
145: Eric Kinkaid (Camanche) dec. Cooper Sanders (Vinton-Shellsburg), 5-2
152: Gabe Sanders (Vinton-Shellsburg) dec. Garrett Seaba (Clarion CGD), 5-3
160: Nicholas Fox (Osage) dec. Carl Barkema (Hampton-Dumont-CAL), 7-2
170: Kadin Stutzman (Atlantic-CAM) dec. Ethan DeLeon (Sioux City Heelan), 2-1
182: CJ Walrath (Burlington Notre Dame) major dec. Fernando Villaescusa (Gilbert), 12-4
195: Wyatt Voelker (West Delaware) major dec. CJ Carter (Glenwood), 19-7
220: Barrett Muller (Osage) pinned Gavin Bridgewater (South Tama), 3:06
Hwt.: Easton Fleshman (West Lyon) won in TB-1 over Gage Marty (Solon), 2-1
Class 2A team scores
1. Burlington Notre Dame 109
2. Osage 108.5
3. West Delaware 80.5
4. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 79
5. Vinton-Shellsburg 75
6. Webster City 73
7. Union Community 58
8. Glenwood 55
9. Atlantic-CAM 48
10. Greene County 47.5