Knights crown two state wrestling champions
Bohnsack, Hedeman top the podium
Union wrestlers Brayden Bohnsack and Jace Hedeman both earned spots at the top of the Class 2A medal podium during last week’s boys state wrestling tournament in Des Moines with Bohnsack taking first in the 106 pound bracket and returning champion Hedeman again taking first in the 113 pound bracket.
Both sophomore wrestlers were seeded No. 1 and kicked off their tournament action with a bye on Wednesday. Later in the afternoon, Bohnsack defeated No. 17 Austin Hansen of Estherville Lincoln Central by fall (2:49), while Hedeman took No. 16 Kael Cook of Notre Dame-Burlington Catholic also by fall (5:53) to round out the first day.
On Thursday both wrestlers secured spots in the semifinals. Bohnsack won by major decision 10-1 over No. 8 Nico Venturi of Bishop Heelen Catholic, while Hedeman did the exact same – winning by major decision 10-1 over No. 8 Jacob Zabka of Algona.
During Friday’s semifinal round, Bohnsack won with a late pin over No. 12 Jayson Stevens of Hampton-Dumont-CAL in 5:18, while Hedeman won by decision 7-5 over No. 4 Kaden Weber of Nevada – wins that set both wrestlers up for championship appearances Saturday night in the Well.
In the finals, Bohnsack beat No. 2 seed Carter West of Notre Dame-Burlington Catholic 2-0, while Hedeman bested No. 3 seed Aiden Smith of Atlantic for the championship – winning by decision 6-1 and ending his sophomore high school season undefeated.
“It feels great [to win a state championship],” Hedeman told the media gaggle immediately following his title match Saturday night. “We had a little slogan, this past week – dog on the bone. … Kill or be killed, that’s our [motto].”
Hedeman was asked how it felt to have his teammate win his first state title moments ahead of his own championship match, to which Hedeman responded, “It’s amazing. There [was] so much momentum going into me now. He deserves that.”
When asked if he was chasing four state titles now that he has two down, Hedeman said, “You gotta win three before you win four. … One at a time.”
During his own press interview, Bohnsack was asked to reflect on the “journey” of wrestling at the bottom weight of 106 pounds, with a reporter asking him, “Was it worth it?”
“I just won the state tournament, so, I mean, yeah,” Bohnsack replied somewhat incredulously but with a wide grin on his face. “Yeah. Yes, [it was worth it]. … Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamed of wrestling here.”
Union’s Caleb Olson also qualified for the state tournament this year and was seeded sixth at 145 pounds. After taking a loss in the quarterfinals on Thursday, he worked his way through the backside to finish seventh with a pin over No. 12 Brent Dennhardt of Greene County.