Central DeWitt wrestling coach Matt Ohnemus has a lot to say about senior Keaton Zeimet.
Zeimet didn’t get a championship at the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) State Wrestling meet this past weekend, losing to eventual Class 2A 120-pound champion McKinley Robbins — but that didn’t deter him from wrestling his best the rest of the weekend.
“That hurt real bad that night,” Ohnemus said of Zeimet’s loss to Robbins. “He was hurting as bad as I’ve seen him. You’ve got a senior who’s devoted his life — one of the best to ever do it. I think he realized he wasn’t going to quite reach that ultimate goal. The last three years, he’s coming back and getting third. I come in the next morning, he’s up, he’s ready to go, he’s got his stuff packed and I said something to the effect of, ‘What do you think, should we do this one more time?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, why don’t we.’
“I knew right then, ‘Oh, he’s going to go kick some butt.’ That boy, he’s 6-1 on Saturday mornings. When it comes to that day — some guys, they’re just happy to be there, happy to be on the podium — not him. He goes and closes. Him getting to close it out that way, pinning a kid in 35 seconds and then wrestling a kid that was a runner up last year that, they had kind of a tight match early and I would say dominated that match from beginning to end, I think gave him the closure to feel like he had done what he needed to do and feel good about the career he had. The kinds of thing he did to our record book and the way he elevated the program, that’s going to be around for a long time, and how great is it we have him to come through and raise that bar for future generations.”
Zeimet defeated Jaiden Moore in the third-place match by decision (11-5), finishing the season 39-3.
“It’s a great experience and I’ve had a great coaching staff and teammates helping me get that path,” Zeimet said. “Hopefully the next generation of Saber wrestlers can continue that tradition of going to state and placing.”
“It was tough coming back because obviously it’s a big loss — I’ve always wanted to be in the finals and get first, but I knew I had to come back and compete to the best of my ability the next day. I’m not going to have my last senior matches be ruined by one match — you’ve always got to keep looking for the next best opportunity and that’s what I did.”
Zeimet finished his Saber wrestling career with 163 wins and 113 pins.
“Looking back at my career, that was really fun and it was a great experience,” Zeimet said. “Wrestling in general has been really influential on my life for the better.”
For the Camanche wrestling team, junior Eric Kinkaid defeated Decorah’s Jackson Rolfs in the Class 2A 145-pound third-place match (decision 4-2).
“It was amazing,” Bussa said. “I had a great season, put all the hard work in and it all turned out how I wanted it to. My goal was to make it to state and once I made it, I wanted to place obviously — it would have been nice to get top three, but things don’t work out sometimes.
“It was great, especially going in with a bunch of teammates really helped out with the pressure and you had someone to talk to about situations and help you through matches.”
Senior Jaxon Bussa defeated Independence’s Kaden Kremer (decision 4-2) in the Class 2A 106-pound fifth-place match. Logan Waltz defeated Osage’s Colin Muller (fall 1:06) in the Class 2A 170-pound eighth-place match.
“Some good quality wrestling,” Camanche coach Brent Carstensen said. “This is that time of year where all of your emotions are still trying to unwind because you have some disappointments and you’ve got so many successes that sometimes, you’ve got to wait for the disappointments to relax so you can fully enjoy the success.
“I know we had a lot of success out there. Eric competed and gave a chance at the state finals. Jaxon had his situation where the doors opened up and there was a path to the finals, and we just weren’t able to break through into that. When he looks back and sees what he accomplished this year and all his years, I still think he’s got a lot to be proud of. Logan, to be able to put him on the podium and enjoy that Grand March is such an awesome experience. I’m so glad he gutted out two wins down there in Des Moines and he totally deserves to be able to stand proud and always have that as a memory.”
Also for Camanche, senior Cade Everson lost to West Delaware’s Cael Meyer in the 2A 182-pound bracket.
Central DeWitt freshman Royce Butt lost to Bondurant-Farrar’s Dalton Rowe in the 2A 113 bracket.
Butt was the second freshman to qualify to state for the Sabers — Zeimet was the first.
“Man, he has so much to be excited for,” Ohnemus said of Butt. “It’s exciting for the Sabers because the future’s bright and he’s going to be a really important part of that — there’s no doubt in my mind that Royce Butt is back out there next year with a podium picture and a medal around his neck because he is a real tough kid, hard-nosed physical kid. That type of wrestling is going to serve him well as he continues to grow, mature and move on.”