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West Delaware’s Cam Geuther never won in junior high, but now he’s a state wrestling finalist
Class 2A boys’ state wrestling: Hawks are 3rd in the team race, 1 1/2 in front of Mount Vernon
DES MOINES — Cam Geuther’s victory was emotional.
Everyone from Greeley to Ryan in the West Delaware school district seemed to be on hand to celebrate the senior heavyweight.
He received a bearhug from a coach in his corner. Then, teammate Logan Peyton greeted him matside followed by assistant coach Mitch Peyton intercepting him as the flock of Hawks fans cheered from a nearby section.
Will Ward smiled at the front of the tunnel that also included a long line of congratulatory teammates and coaches.
“There was a lot that went into that match,” Geuther said. “I didn’t get it last year. It feels really good.”
A familiar foe has led to unfamiliar territory. Top-seeded Geuther topped Independence’s No. 4 Korver Hupke for the third time this season to reach the finals of the Class 2A boys’ state wrestling tournament Friday at Wells Fargo Arena. His win propelled West Delaware into third in the team race with 81 1/2 points, 1 1/2 more than fourth-place Mount Vernon.
Geuther, who placed sixth last year, scored an escape and added a takedown in the final to seal a 3-0 decision.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Geuther said. “That one is big for me. The next one is bigger.”
One of the reasons so many were thrilled with his finals berth is the progress he has made. He is no longer the kid who routinely got pinned. He didn’t win a match in junior high and said he only won 10 as a freshman. He didn’t get to wrestle as a sophomore, weighing about 340 pounds, beyond the highest allowance.
Now, he has a chance to capture a state title.
“My sophomore summer I did freestyle and Greco-Roman all summer,” Geuther said. “I just got better. I keep getting better. That one feels good.”
Former Hawks state champion and teammate Wyatt Voelker has made a huge impact on Geuther. The two trained together and Voelker even sent him a calming text before the match. Voelker also was expected to visit him Friday night.
“I give a lot of my success to him,” Geuther said of Voelker. “He’s done a lot for me, driving me to Big Game (Wrestling Club) every night in the summer.
“He texted me before my match. He said I don’t care about what happens, you’re still my boy. It’s not all about winning, but that one is good.”
Geuther has been the epitome of the “Earning It” slogan on the Hawks’ practice shirts. Teammates, coaches and fans recognized his effort and shared in the excitement.
“Once he set his mind to being a great wrestler he put in the time and earned it,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “He isn’t done yet. His best is yet to come. I was very proud of him.”
The semifinal marked the fourth meeting between Geuther and Hupke. They actually faced off three times in five days. Geuther won in the regular-season dual and regional dual, while Hupke won the Wamac Conference final. Geuther said he has a lot of respect for Hupke and the Independence coaches.
“It was a little nerve-wracking coming into that one,” Geuther said. “It’s hard to beat somebody three times, but I knew if I wrestled tough that it would come down to who is better.”
Mount Vernon freshman Jase Jaspers advances
Like Geuther, Mount Vernon’s Jase Jaspers received a loud ovation from his home crowd, answering with a fist pump to the crowd in the second level after his 5-1 win over Dubuque Wahlert’s Jerren Gille in the 126 semifinal.
“It was amazing,” Jaspers said. “I know a ton of people came down here to Des Moines to support me and my teammates. I know pretty much the whole town is rooting for us.
“That was really special right there. That was one of the highs in life.”
Jaspers (41-4) showed poise, controlling his bout with Gille. He seemed to settle in and get stronger as the match progressed, scoring takedowns in the final two periods for a 5-1 decision.
“That’s kind of me,” Jaspers said. “I don’t start off too great, but as the match goes on I tire a lot of people down and get to my offense and I feel like if I can get to my offense anytime in the match it’s pretty hard to beat me.”
Jaspers opened the season with an eye-opening loss. He realized he needed to work harder than he did at the AAU level. He met the challenge. Mount Vernon Coach Vance Light realized Jaspers’ title potential when he beat highly-ranked guys after Christmas.
“He’s not scared,” Light said. “He’ll go out and do things. He’s comfortable in every position. He can get away, he’s good on his feet, he can ride and it makes him kind of dangerous.”
Jaspers joined elite company, becoming the second Mustang freshman to reach the state finals and the first since Greg Randall won four championships from 1979-82. Even though it was well before he was born, he considered it meaningful.
“That’s a very special moment,” Jaspers said. “He’s one of the greats in Mount Vernon. He’s one of the greats ever. It’s big for me to join him there.”
Cooper Sanders gets another shot
Vinton-Shellsburg’s Cooper Sanders is no stranger to the state finals. As a sophomore, he was a runner-up in Utah and was a runner-up for the Vikings at 145 last season. He has one more shot to take that final step.
“I worked pretty hard to get here,” Sanders said. “So, I’m expecting big things.”
Sanders (46-1) won by forfeit and advanced to the semifinals with a shutout. He beat Osage’s Chase Thomas, 9-2, to reach the 152 final, which his brother, Gabe, won a year ago.
“I think I’ve been working a lot harder, preseason especially,” Sanders said. “Putting in work when most guys don’t. I think that’s what got me here.”
Union duo moves on
Union Community’s Jace Hedeman returned to the state finals. After winning at 106 last year, the sophomore has a shot at the 113-pound title. He outlasted Nevada’s Kaden Weber, 7-5, in the semifinal.
“I love pain,” Hedeman said. “Pain is fun. Being tired is fun. I’m comfortable getting tired, so I’m prepared to win there.”
Hedeman (47-0) has the potential to be a four-time champion and Saturday night is the next step in that quest. He will face Atlantic’s third-seeded Aiden Smith.
“It’s the goal to repeat,” Hedeman said. “Got to go after the next match and win it.”
He has company this time. Brayden Bohnsack (45-5) pinned his way to the 106 finals, decking Hampton-Dumont-CAL’s Jayson Stevens in 5:18. The win provided a jolt to Hedeman, who was watching on deck.
“I love it,” Hedeman said. “I’m proud of that kid. We busted our butts this year. I’m proud to see him in the finals.
“That was nasty. That’s how we wrestle at Union. We finish the whole six minutes.”