PLEASANT HILL — Creston’s own Jackson Kinsella is headed to the USA Marine Corps Cadet and Junior Nationals by way of four straight wins at the May, 5-6 Iowa USA Freestyle and Greco Championships at Southeast Polk High School.
Kinsella didn’t let a facial injury sustained during winter varsity wrestling for Creston/Orient-Macksburg slow him down from making a quick start as a freshman in track and field while competing in wrestling at the same time this spring.
“Well it’s been a hassle because I’ve missed track meets to go wrestle at tournaments,” Kinsella said. “But I told myself that it doesn’t matter if it’s the mat or the track I need to show up work hard and do all the extra I can. Because doing all the little things right will eventually add up.”
Wrestling in the cadet division at 182 pounds, the Creston FRECO Club member Kinsella wrestled five matches. He lost his first match by way of a touch fall to Team Valley’s Taner Harvey in 4:03 and then proceeded to win his next four matches.
But before he could grab the needed wins, Kinsella had to re-focus.
“I just told myself that it’s water under the bridge now and there’s nothing I can do it, but move on and learn from it. Then just take it one match at a time and do what I do best,” Kinsella said.
Kinsella entered the consolation bracket, where he defeated Samuel Matthiesen of Southeast Iowa Elite and won by fall in 0:59. He moved on to defeat Austin Geerts of NH/TV by fall in 1:52 and Raquem Saffold of Waterloo East for a 13-3 win by technical superiority.
In the match for third, Kinsella worked his way to a 10-0 technical superiority win over Justin Bradley of the Iron Rams.
Continued focus on the specifics of his craft has helped him to get better since the end of the winter season.
“I’ve been focusing a lot on my hand-fighting and my pace,” Kinsella said. “Other than that it was go out there do what I do and find a way to get the job done.”
At the state tournament, the top three placewinners earn a spot to nationals in Fargo, North Dakota. Kinsella will compete in freestyle which are held July 12-20.
“In Fargo, he will be wrestling against the best of the best in the nation, in his age division. This is a big stepping stone for any wrestler,” coach Jeff Sand said. “The phrase ‘summer wrestling brings winter champions’ is something all wrestlers who have higher goals should live by. Jackson has made time in his schedule, even while participating in varsity track and having various other obligations, to practice and compete all spring. Qualifying for Fargo allows him to go and train with the best wrestlers in the state, wrestle against the best in the nation, and take his confidence and wrestling mentality to the next level.”
Kinsella knows it will take some serious work to get to the point of competing well against the type of competition he will face in Fargo. He intends to wrestle plenty and condition. He will also head with Sand to Waukee to wrestle with top-flight wrestlers.
“I just need to show up to Fargo and believe I can beat the best,” Kinsella said. “I would also like to thank everyone who helped me get here.”