116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VAN HORNE — Benton Community’s Jaiden Moore broke free from the chains in his own mind.
The Bobcats’ top-ranked 126-pound senior has always possessed a high-powered offense, but at times in the past would wrestle conservatively against better opponents. Something he said cost him, occasionally.
“The biggest thing is probably mindset,” Moore said. “Last year, I’d wrestle a good kid and I’d try to win a close match. Kind of limit myself.
“This year, I’ve been trying to score as much as I can ... I’ve really opened up every match this year.”
Moore will begin his postseason trek Saturday, looking to earn his third state medal and his first championship as sectional tournaments take place for Class 1A and 2A programs across the state.
Benton will host Columbus Community, Fairfield, Mid-Prairie, Mount Vernon and Williamsburg. The top two individuals advance to next week’s district tournament, while the top two teams qualify for the regional duals Tuesday.
Moore placed fourth last season at 120 and was a 1A state runner-up for Don Bosco in 2020. He has compiled a 34-0 record this season. Moore has dominated foes, recording 17 pins, seven technical falls and four major decisions.
“Jaiden has really made some improvements,” Benton Coach Jake Voss said. “He’s bumped up a weight, becoming stronger. His wrestling is at another level. He has really dedicated a lot of time to it.”
His only two victories by decision came against Don Bosco’s 1A fifth-ranked Kyler Knaack and Linn-Mar’s 3A No. 4 Brayden Parke. In both of those matches, he scored eight points.
“I’ve always been pretty quick and had a big arsenal, but I’ve never exploited it the whole time,” Moore said. “Just putting my foot down on the gas the whole time has been my mentality. Some of the guys I’ve wrestled have tried to keep it close but I can go into the third period and open it up. I know in the third I still have the gas. I can turn it up another level.”
Moore received advice from his high school coaches and Immortal Athletic club coaches on his mental approach. He isn’t settling for winning close matches. Focus is on his own wrestling and capitalizing on opportunities to distance himself from opponents, instead of concentrating on opponents’ strengths.
“That’s when he’s really hard to beat,” Voss said. “He has really good offense and when he commits to it he is tough.”
The results are enough evidence, but his assault on two school records provide more proof. As Moore teched his way through the Wamac bracket, he broke Benton’s single-season records for takedowns and match points in a season. The previous records of 148 takedowns and 392 match points were set by Ben Miller in 2001.
Moore has 152 takedowns and 433 points.
“It was a goal of mine,” Moore said. “I’m pushing myself every match. I knew I was getting something out of them, getting the opportunity to get a lot of different takedowns and moves. It was just pretty cool, too.”
The goal is to return to the finals on Saturday night in Des Moines, later this month taking that one final step to the top of the podium. All of the hard work, dedication and sweat over the last four years have led to one last push, which starts in his home gym.
“It’s been a big motivator,” said Moore, who will continue his wrestling career at Coe. “Obviously, losing on Saturday night stunk, but it was also a great experience for me. I knew coming off that year I’d be back there and getting the win at some point.”
“I’ve been pretty focused on it,” Moore said. “I think being there once I’ll be a lot more calm and confident going into that match. I think the experience will play a big role.”
Independence, Solon and West Delaware also host 2A sectionals Saturday.
In Class 1A, third-ranked Lisbon will compete in a sectional at English Valleys in North English. The Lions and Bears are joined by Highland, Iowa City Regina, Lone Tree, Louisa-Muscatine, WACO and Wapello.
Sigourney-Keota, MFL MarMac, BGM and Starmont also host 1A sectionals.