Camanche senior Eric Campie is definitely not the loudest in the room. He’s never going to be overcome with emotion. He’s not your celebratory type.
But he does win when he’s on the mat. That is for certain.
It hasn’t always been that way, though. When Campie started wrestling as a freshman at Camanche High School, he was an inexperienced kid in the 113 lb weight class.
“As a freshman I was super nervous and never had much confidence in myself,” Campie said. “It’s changed a lot over the years.”
Now, Campie stands tall and sturdy, and joins the 170 lb group on the mat. That transition from one weight class to another might be where some of his talents come now as a senior.
“His advantage is that he wrestles like a 113 pounder,” Camanche head coach Brent Carstensen said. “He’s very scrappy.”
It’s been a transition moving from weight class to weight class. Each year he saw a new slew of competition who brought different talents and approaches to each round. His quickness, though? He made sure he maintained it.
“Wrestlers, each year they got bulkier and stronger. It’s different wrestling styles,” Campie said. “Wrestling 113 is a lot different from wrestling 170.
“I’m quicker than most 170 pounders from being the lighter weight in my high school career.”
He garnered a little bit of that speed in football, too. He played wide receiver for the Indians, who had one of their best years in the last five. He broke multiple school records for receptions, using his foot speed to find the holes in the defense.
In fact, football is where he wants to devote his collegiate time as well. He has made no decisions on a college yet.
He has another focus first.
“I have to do better than last year,” Campie said. “And that means placing at state.”
Campie qualified for the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament as a junior and has his eyes set on a return trip.
“The atmosphere,” Campie said. “The achievement, it’s just a really cool experience to be a part of.”
His talented teammates help him, too. He wrestles with a varsity group that has regularly been placing in the top three at tournaments through the first half of the year. That includes multi-year state wrestler Baylor Crigger and athletes like Eric Kinkaid, Cade Everson and Ben Vogel.
“Eric gets to work out with Baylor every day and measure himself,” Coach Carstensen said. “He’s slumping a little right now but he has so much potential and ability that I think 2019 is going to be a breakout for him again.”
Even if he used to get nervous as a freshman, that’s not an issue now. He walks onto the mat to meet opponents with a quiet confidence, and everything from his takedowns to his pins are powerful.
“It’s experience,” Campie said. “Just the years of wrestling paired with slowly getting better.”
As his prep career winds down over the first few months of 2019, he’s looking forward to finishing it out on a high note. The podium at state is the goal.
Then it’s focusing on football in college, but that won’t be hard. He says that wrestling is what has prepared him for any sort of collegiate athletic career.
“Mentally it’s a very hard sport and it prepares me for any challenge,” Campie said. “Physically it makes me a better tackler from the takedowns and the low position. It forms good lineman and defensive players.”
For now, it’s all on the mat. He’s within reach of a medal out at state, and he has just one thing on his mind: “I just I have to win.”