CAMANCHE — The Camanche wrestling team’s four state qualifiers are ready for this weekend.
“I know they can all get wins,” Indians coach Brent Carstensen said. “They should all have enough confidence to know they deserve to be out there and good things are going to happen. I’ve got high hopes for this and it should be a great weekend.”
Camanche’s Jaxon Bussa (106 pounds), Eric Kinkaid (145), Logan Waltz (170) and Cade Everson (182) will all hit the mats at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the IHSAA State Meet, beginning Thursday.
For Bussa — who is ranked No. 8 in his weight class — it’s a year of redemption as he narrowly missed out on the state meet last season.
“I’ve finally had all the hard work pay off, that’s for sure,” Bussa said. “I’m very excited, especially because I’ve been putting in all the hard work and I fell short last year, so it felt good to make it this year.”
Last year, Bussa lost to No. 1-ranked Derek Bass from Davenport Assumption and didn’t get a wrestleback, ending his season. Should Bussa, a senior now, win his first round matchup against West Delaware’s Brayden Maury, he could end up facing Bass in the second round if Bass also wins his first-round matchup.
Bussa said he needs to get the first match out of the way.
“Get the nervousness out of me, because it’s definitely going to be there,” Bussa said. “Once I get that first match out of the way and feel like I’m used to being here now, I won’t be as scared to wrestle. I just need to be myself.”
If he wins his first two matches, it will give Bussa 100-career wins.
He’s hoping for that and more.
“That’d be great,” Bussa said. “It’d be amazing.”
Kinkaid, who is ranked No. 3 in his weight class, wants to make it to the top this weekend.
“The goal’s obviously the top,” Kinkaid said. “That’s where I want to be, that’s what I’m working for and I think I can do it.”
Kinkaid will face Creston’s Keaton Street in the first round and if he’s able to win that, will go on to face the winner of Bishop Heelan’s Ethan DeLeon and Sheldon S. Obrien’s Cason Johannes. Kinkaid finished seventh at last year’s state meet in the 132-pound weight class.
“It’s not all mental, but a huge part of it is,” Kinkaid said. “You’ve just got to have a good mindset, a good warm-up, make sure you have it your head that you can win that match, you can get to the next round and that’s a big part of it I’m going to focus on.”
Everson, who uses wrestling mainly as a way of keeping in shape for football, said while he’s not overly concerned about where he finishes, he said the state meet is one of the highlights of each year.
“That’s the part of the year I look forward to the most,” Everson said. “State’s the most fun — we go to the mall, play games every night and I love watching all the wrestling there, too.”
Everson, ranked No. 5, said he’s capable of a top-three finish in what will be his final state meet. Everson beat No.4-ranked Cael Meyer from West Delaware in his district championship match, but Meyer ended up getting the No. 3 seed at state, while Everson got the No. 4 seed. However, Everson said he lucked out and got the more favorable draw.
“This last Saturday, (Meyer) beat me earlier in the year 9-5 and everyone was telling me, ‘There’s no way that kid should be beating you or taking you down that many times in a match,’” Everson said. “I knew that in my head, too. I just had to get it in my head so I went out there and I beat him this time.”
If Everson makes it to the semifinals, he has a chance of wrestling Union’s Adam Ahrendsen, who is ranked No. 1 at 182 in 2A. Ahrendsen defeated Everson last season, but if history has shown anything, it’s that Everson has only improved with time.
“I’ve become a lot stronger mentally,” Everson said. “I’m a lot tougher now. My conditioning has gotten a lot better. I can go three periods pretty easily now and I’m just a lot more competitive and I just go out there, do what I do — no fear.”
Waltz will face undefeated Jared Voss (34-0) from West Delaware in his first round matchup. He’s excited to go out and compete this weekend.
“It feels great to have a senior year end with going to state,” Waltz said. “I’m pretty excited. I’m shooting for just trying to get a couple wins because my road doesn’t look too clear — it’s not easy necessarily. I want to maybe place, but get a few wins, at least.”