Photos Courtesy of Cam Kramer
Jack Gaukel left Wells Fargo Arena three years in a row with the bitter taste of a runner-up finish.
This year, however, Gaukel came out with his hand raised as the 2A 152-pound champion.
The senior from Sergeant Bluff-Luton left it all on the mat. He secured the win with a 10-2 major decision over Winterset’s Tyler Brown.
Unlike past years of anxiousness and nerves prior to his matches, Gaukel felt relaxed and went into each match with a “let’s just wrestle” mindset.
“The last three years, I would say that I was extremely anxious to get out there and anxious to start the match. But, this year it was very strange. The whole day, I was super relaxed and calm and, and not really stressing out about too much of anything,” Gaukel said. “Then, five minutes before my match, I started to get just more and more excited and just kind of ready to go. I put on the best performance that I possibly could.”
How did Gaukel reach a point of just trusting his craft? He credits his coaches and the Lord.
“They didn’t put any pressure on any match whether it was the duel in the beginning of the year or, you know, a bigger matchup that I had in January or you know, whether it was the state finals, they just basically preached to me to go wrestle offensively and do my thing. Just let it fly and wrestle free,” Gaukel said. “That was the same message every single match, every single practice. I think looking back that made a huge difference because it just basically cleared my mind of everything else.”
Gaukel will close that chapter and prepare to start his new one. He committed to Iowa State in November of 2020.
The decision to join Kevin Dresser came easy for Gaukel when considering his options.
It became clear when he walked into a practice and saw firsthand the culture this program offered.
“I felt at home the whole time that I got to be there. Meeting Coach Dresser, he’s a very, very straight shooter. He’s gonna tell you exactly what he feels and I really like that about him. Coach Metcalf is definitely a guy that I looked up to when I was little. I mean, when I was eight years old, he was kind of at that his high point and he was definitely a guy that I wanted to wrestle like and compete like so it was really cool meeting him,” Gaukel said. “It also felt like I could go up to anybody and have a conversation immediately. You know, it was unlike other programs. I would say that was the big selling point.”