Crestwood's Carter Fousek secures 4th state wrestling title; Burlington-Notre Dame wins 1st team championship
The Class 2A state wrestling championships experienced a lot of firsts this year.
Burlington-Notre Dame won the team title, the first in school history. The Nikes beat regular 2A mainstays Osage and West Delaware to win, scoring 109 points to edge the Green Devils by a half-point.
The Nikes had just one state champ all-time before this week, then had two win titles on Saturday night: Blaine Frazier (132) and CJ Walrath (182). Frazier, a senior, won a title after taking second twice. Walrath, a junior, stormed to his first title and scored a major decision in his finals match to help Burlington-Notre Dame clinch the team title.
Carter Fousek, a future Iowa State wrestler, became the first Crestwood wrestler to win four consecutive state wrestling titles. He beat South Tama County’s Logan Arp, 7-1, to win at 138 pounds. He is the 31st four-time state wrestling champion in state history. He and New London’s Marcel Lopez both joined the four-timer club on Saturday.
Gabe Sanders became the first wrestler from Vinton-Shellsburg to win state, muscling his way to gold at 152 pounds. He went 25-0 this season, capped by a 5-3 finals win over Clarion-Goldfield-Dows’ Garrett Seaba, which came after a 3-2 semifinal win over Osage’s Chase Thomas, which came after a pair of pins in the first two rounds.
The Class 2A state finals also had some first-time-in-a-long-time vibes about them.
Jaiden Moore became Benton’s first state champ in 37 years. He beat Glenwood’s Matthew Beem, 5-4, to win at 126, scoring a takedown at the end of the first and a reversal in the second. Moore is also just Benton’s fifth state wrestling champ all-time.
Eric Kinkaid became Camanche’s first state champ in 35 years, beating Gabe’s brother, Cooper, 5-2 in the finals at 145. Three months ago, Kinkaid broke his leg playing football. Now he, too, is just the fifth Camanche wrestler to win a state championship.
Atlantic-CAM’s Kadin Stutzman is also the fifth wrestling state champ all-time for his school, but the third to win since 2014. He won at 170 on Saturday night, downing Bishop Heelan’s Ethan DeLeon, 2-1, on a stall point with 18 seconds left in the match.
Easton Fleshman capped the night with a 2-1 win over Solon’s Gage Marty at 285, a match won on Fleshman’s rideout in the tiebreaker overtime. Fleshman is just the second West Lyon wrestler to ever win a state wrestling title, joining Drew Bouwman, who won at 160 in 1997.
Those first-time-in-a-long-time stories are always fun, but like any high school sporting event, there are usually repeat performances.
Take Osage, for example, the team race runner-ups for the 13th time in school history, which is also a state record. But this second-place finish was new in that it was the closest margin of defeat the Green Devils have ever faced (they lost by one point in 1945; they’ve lost by 10 points or fewer seven times now).
Still, two Green Devil wrestlers were crowned state champs — giving Osage 57 state wrestling champs all-time, which is now the fifth-most by a single school in state history — and they, too, carried the vibe of the night with them.
Nick Fox, a two-time runner-up, finally broke through and won a state title on Saturday, downing Hampton-Dumont-CAL’s Carl Barkema, 7-2, in the finals at 160 pounds. Fox, just a junior, was one of Iowa’s age-level stars this summer. He finished 53-3 this year.
Barrett Muller, a first-time state qualifier, stormed to a state title from the 5-seed at 220. He won 9-2 in the first round, by fall in the quarterfinals, by 5-3 in sudden-victory in the semifinals, then by fall again in the finals.
Here’s another example: Wyatt Voelker won his second state title at 195. The Northern Iowa-bound senior capped a perfect season by outscoring his opponents 60-22. He was the hot knife this week. Everybody else was the butter. He’s just the second West Delaware wrestler to win multiple state titles (Adam Reth won two, in 2012-13).
One more: Roland-Story’s Kade Blume also won his second state title. He rallied from down 3-0 and 4-2 to beat Albia’s Carter Anderson 7-4 at 113. He locked up a cradle in the final minute for a takedown and three back points. He is now a two-time state champion, only a sophomore, and Roland-Story’s first multiple-time state champ.
Two more guys who were looking for repeat performances were Webster City’s Cam Phetxoumpone and Greene County’s Kale Petersen, who clashed in the finals at 120 pounds.
It was billed as perhaps the match of the night in 2A, the only finals bout featuring two previous state champions. Phetxoumphone won each of the last two years while Petersen won a 1A title for West Fork last season. Petersen ultimately scored four takedowns to win, 8-5, including two in the third period to build his lead.
One final wrestler who will likely take aim at a repeat performance soon is Jace Hedeman, the talented 106-pounder from Union who polished off a perfect freshman campaign with a 7-3 win over Burlington-Notre Dame’s Carter West in the very first final of the night. Hedeman scored three takedowns, two of which came in the third period.
Hedeman went 46-0 this season and won state as a freshman. He was one of just three freshman across all three classes to make Saturday night’s finals, and one of two that won (the other: Bettendorf’s TJ Koester, at 106 in Class 3A).
On a night when two seniors both won their fourth state titles, it seems fitting that two more freshman take the first steps toward that same goal. It wouldn’t be a first, or even a first-time-in-a-long-time kind of thing. But time will tell if Hedeman can follow in Fousek’s footsteps and reach that rare air.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.