FD's Teske becomes Iowa's 26th four-time champion
DES MOINES — Danny Teske can’t pinpoint exactly when he first realized his son, Brody, was going to be something special.
He just remembers the hard work and effort Brody and his other Fort Dodge teammates put in year after year.
Here last night at Wells Fargo Arena, the inevitable coronation took place as Brody Teske joined an elite group of wrestlers in Iowa History with his fourth state championship.
Just 25 wrestlers had won four state titles before this year. That number grew by two on Saturday.
Teske, 39-1 this year and 177-1 for his Dodger career, was joined in the four-timers club by Underwood’s Alex Thomsen. Teske and Thomsen handed each other their only prep losses, both happening earlier this year.
Just before their respective matches on Saturday, Teske and Thomsen shook hands on the mat.
Just five wrestlers have ever finished with four state titles and an unbeaten career mark. The last four-time state champion was Carter Happel of Lisbon in 2016.
Teske went 43-0 as a freshman and won a state title at 106. He was 43-0 as a sophomore and a champion at 113. Last year, he finished 49-0 and won a title at 120.
Next year, he’ll take his talents to Penn State and wrestle for Cael Sanderson, who finished his college career unbeaten at Iowa State.
In Saturday’s championship match at 126, Teske dominated Kaleb Olejniczak of Perry, scoring a fall in 1:49. He was given a standing ovation by the sold-out crowd then jumped into the stands and hugged his parents, Danny and Wendy.
“This season has had its up and downs,” Teske said after his match. “There have been some bumps along the way that people don’t see. It’s been a heck of a ride. This is a dream come true. It’s just a surreal feeling.
“To be a part of that group is an honor and a blessing. I’ve been lucky enough to compete at a high level for four years. But it wasn’t just me out there. It was God, my family, my coaches and my teammates in my corner.”
Danny Teske said the seeds of this success started a long time ago for the entire senior class.
“You know, all these (Dodger) kids started when they were so little,” he said. “They just did what they needed to do. They went out and got better. They were doing it in the summer. They were doing it on their own. They were just getting better all the time.”
FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson called it “an honor” to coach Teske.
“It’s been a pleasure and it’s been easy. He’s a very self-motivated young man. He’s the epitome of a kid that works to get better.
“He’s always had a growth mindset and wanted to get better.”
Teske became the first ever Fort Dodge three-time state champion last year with his title at 120 pounds.
“When Brody was in 8th grade he decided to quit baseball,” said Danny Teske. “He told me he wanted to be a four-time state wrestling champion. I told him he had to go get the first one.
“When he won the first time, he texted me and said ‘one down.’ Last year he texted me and said ‘one more to go.'”
Even though he’ll leave as the most decorated individual in Dodger wrestling history, Brody Teske is a team player through and through. After earning his fourth trip to the finals Friday, Teske hung around the mats to watch Drew Bennett earn his first trip to the finals.
Just a few minutes later, he was consoling teammate Damond Lockner, who had dropped a consolation match.
“These seniors get it,” said Danny Teske. “Last year (after Brody won a title, but the team finished second) we were walking back to the hotel and no one was really celebrating. They really wanted to get this one (team championship).”
Thompson said despite his confidence on the mat, Teske has dealt with his fair share of pressure, especially as the wins added up.
“It really came after his first title. There was the pressure to win a second. Then when he won his second, people started talking about being a four-timer,” the coach said. “This year, there was so much going around on social media with him and Thomsen wrestling. He just kept himself grounded.”
Now, Teske heads to State College and the next set of challenges. In typical fashion, he was ready to get back to work just minutes after his match.
“There are a lot of wrestlers out there getting better. I’ll sit on this one for a while then get back to work,” he said.