JD: Just Dominate

JEWELL – JD Rader just looks like a wrestler, from the way he carries himself to the way he stares down opponents in the moments before he shakes hands and goes to war.

He’s not big on talk either – another trait most talented grapplers possess. He’d rather just do.

The next three days are why he trains, cuts weight and mends whatever bumps and bruises come his way.

It’s time to go to work.

Rader (33-5), a South Hamilton sophomore, will begin his quest for a second state medal this morning when the traditional state tournament gets underway at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines at 9 a.m. The sixth-ranked (Class 1A) 120-pounder will hear his named called at approximately 9:20 a.m.

“I’m excited; not too nervous,” Rader, who owns a career record of 71-10, said. “I was a rookie last year and I didn’t really know what to expect, but this year I know my schedule and it’s much easier to plan.”

Rader will open up with one of the more intriguing matches in his bracket against 10th-ranked Jared Coyle (41-6), a junior from Maquoketa Valley. Coyle – a three-time state qualifier with a career mark of 103-31 – is 2-4 in two state appearances, while Rader went 3-3 last year en route to a sixth-place medal at 113 pounds.

Rader and Coyle have never met; Rader says he knows next to nothing about what to expect from Coyle and that’s just fine with him.

“I don’t really care. I’m just going to go out and wrestle my style and do my thing,” he said.

A trip to Saturday’s state finals is what Rader is after, but he knows it won’t be easy. All 10 ranked individuals at 120 made the cut; four reside on Rader’s half of the bracket, including second-ranked Carter Happel of Lisbon, one of the most talented freshmen in the state.

The top half of the bracket includes No. 1-ranked junior Kyler Kiner of Ogden, who handed Rader two of his losses in back-to-back weekends at sectionals and districts.

“My whole bracket is pretty stacked this year. There aren’t a whole lot of gimmes,” Rader said. “It’s definitely going to be a grind and a struggle, but I’m looking forward to it. I want to be on the top of the podium.”

Rader and Hawks’ head coach Dan Brodie traveled to Des Moines Wednesday afternoon and spent time at the state duals, simply soaking up the atmosphere. Brodie says it’s his job now to get Rader ready for the hoopla.

“JD has been down this road before. This is his second rodeo at the state tournament, so he does a pretty good job of staying calm,” Brodie said. “My job is to get him fired up and remind him of how dominant he can be.”

Brodie knows how important this opening round is, and he expects Coyle to test his talented grappler.

“(Coyle) is going to be a very competitive first match, but I think if JD has his head screwed on straight he should be OK,” Brodie said. “Every single match from here on out has to be looked at as a do or die situation.”

A win would send Rader into Friday’s quarterfinals against the winner of the match between Harley Janssen (35-9) of Manson-Northwest Webster and Jake Hunerdosse (37-6) of Southeast Warren. A first-round loss would force Rader to wrestle again Thursday morning against the loser of the Janssen-Hunerdosse bout.