Rader repeats as medalist at 120

DES MOINES – JD Rader wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels in the bowels of Wells Fargo Arena Saturday afternoon as he caught his breath following a whirlwind three-day sprint through the Class 1A 120-pound bracket at the state wrestling tournament.

But he wasn’t throwing a temper tantrum either – something not everyone in a singlet could say.

The truth is, the sixth-ranked South Hamilton sophomore was caught in limbo, somewhere in the invisible middle.

With state championship aspirations when the tournament began on Thursday, Rader (36-7) settled for a seventh-place medal and capped his five-match stretch with a 4-2 decision over No. 9-ranked Brad Kerkhoff (44-8) of Audubon.

He was sixth in 2012 at 113, and for now he’ll accept being a two-time state medalist.

“I’m happy with it, but I’m not satisfied,” Rader, who owns a career record of 74-12, said. “It’s been a good season and I’m pleased with how I wrestled minus my first match (a 5-3 loss to No. 10 Jared Coyle of Maquoketa Valley on Thursday), and I’ll be back next year.”

Rader snapped off takedowns in the first and second periods to build a lead, and then was content to let Kerkhoff ride on top throughout the third period.

“I definitely felt in control,” Rader said. “In the third period I didn’t feel the urge to give that extra push to get out, but I never felt like I was in trouble.”

Rader guaranteed himself a medal with an 8-4 win over fourth-ranked Gable Verschoor (44-6) of Woodbury Central in Friday’s consolation second round. A pair of third-period takedowns by Rader broke a 3-3 tie.

“I felt good going into that match and just stayed confident throughout it,” Rader said afterwards.

No. 5-ranked Jeren Glosser (44-5) of Eddyville-Blakesburg/Fremont overpowered Rader in the consolation quarterfinals and earned the fall in 41 seconds.

Glosser went on to place fourth following a 6-5 loss to top-ranked Kyler Kiner of Ogden in the consolation finals. Coyle wound up with the sixth-place medal.

Rader says he’ll continue to build off what he’s already accomplished and learned, and his head coach Dan Brodie says mental strength will be key in the buildup to next winter.

“As with any wrestler, the biggest thing is mental,” Brodie said. “You can’t have any doubts … you have to tell yourself you’re going to win a state championship. I think in some of those matches we just didn’t have that and once you have a little doubt creep in you get tentative. So he’s just got to keep improving all the time.”

Top-ranked Alburnett clinched the team title – the school’s first traditional state championship – during Saturday’s consolation round. The Pirates, who also won the state dual crown on Wednesday, were third in 2012.