Hawks 120-pounder JD Rader gets second crack at state glory
JEWELL – JD Rader, welcome back to Des Moines.
The South Hamilton sophomore 120-pound wrestler punched his second ticket to the traditional state tournament in as many years on Saturday with a runner-up finish at the Class 1A District 4 meet inside his home gymnasium.
Finishing anywhere but the top of the podium doesn’t exactly sit well with the sixth-ranked Rader, but Hawks’ head coach Dan Brodie said advancing is all that matters at this point.
“JD is excited. Getting back to the state tournament validates what he did last year (Rader placed sixth at 113), but he’s hungry,” Brodie said. “I thought he wrestled really well and looked good (on Saturday).”
Rader (33-5) opened his run with a decisive 10-1 major decision rout of Lincoln Boehmer of Lake Mills.
“JD never gave up the control in that match,” Brodie said. “He started a little slow, but then got comfortable and did his thing.”
Because there were only three wrestlers in the bracket, Rader was assured of a state spot prior to the gold-medal match.
But Rader was unable to pull the upset, as he dropped a 7-2 decision to top-ranked and unbeaten Kyler Kiner (36-0) of Ogden. Kiner was the state runner-up at 113 last winter.
The two wrestled to a 1-0 decision that went Kiner’s way at the sectional a week earlier, but on Saturday the Ogden junior went on the attack early.
“Kiner got a nice takedown early and I think that affected the rest of the match,” Brodie said. “We were always wrestling from behind, and Kiner is ranked No. 1 for a reason.”
South Hamilton junior heavyweight Josh Lutter (23-15) dropped a pair of matches by fall, first to second-ranked Chris Schleuger of West Hancock in 4:16, and then in 19 seconds to James Long of West Marshall in the consolation round.
Rader will begin his quest for a second state medal Thursday morning at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. He’ll face 10th-ranked Jared Coyle (41-6) of Maquoketa Valley in the first round.
“All 10 ranked wrestlers made it (to state at 120), so it’s going to be a good bracket,” Brodie said. “I think JD is set up pretty well and that’s all you can ask for.”