As the new guy in the wrestling room Kade Steuhm was expectedly tight-lipped.
Steuhm didn’t have much to say when he arrived at Solon prior to last season as a transfer from South Tama.
Instead, Steuhm let his actions do the talking.
“I’m not there to talk, I’m there to work,” Steuhm explained, motioning to the wrestling-room door. “I just like to be quiet and lead by example.”
Over the past two season Steuhm’s actions have said a mouthful.
The senior has gone 62-9 during his two seasons at Solon and takes a 38-4 record into the Class 2A state tournament that gets underway at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
STATE WRESTLING TOURNAMENT: Brackets
“He’s the hardest working kid in the room every day and he just does it quietly,” Solon coach TJ Bevans said. “Kade is a leader by example and that’s what has always been special about him.”
Moving, switching schools and meeting new teammates can all be hard.
For a guy that doesn’t like to talk much it can be even tougher.
For Steuhm the transition was almost seamless.
“It was a little nerve-racking at first,” Steuhm said. “Once I got to know everybody it was like I was meant to be here.”
It didn’t take long for Steuhm to be heard by his teammates, even if he wasn’t talking.
He went 24-5 last season at 138 pounds and made the first state-meet appearance of his career.
“He came in and just started working and we accepted him right away, he keeps his mouth shut and he goes to work,” senior heavyweight Logan Linderbaum said of Steuhm. “That’s the good thing about all of our seniors is we all bring something to the table in terms of leading the team and he’s a tough-nosed kid that just shuts his mouth and goes to work.”
Steuhm got pinned in his first match at state ever on his way to a disappointing 0-2 finish last season.
That 0-2 mark stuck with Steuhm and served as motivation for a guy already widely accepted as the team’s hardest worker.
“When I went 0-2 last year I was really disappointed,” Steuhm said. “This year I figured it was time to go to work and get something done.”
Steuhm lost two matches in the first week of his senior season and has been almost perfect since.
Ranked sixth in Class 2A at 145 pounds, Steuhm has only lost twice since Dec. 11 and brings a 14-match winning streak into his state-tournament opener against Adam Benzing (29-9) of Waukon.
“I just want to do the best I can,” Steuhm said. “I’d like to bring home some hardware.”
Steuhm is one of three ranked senior state qualifiers for the Spartans, along with No. 4 Louis Gnida at 126 and top-ranked Linderbaum at 285.
Gnida and Linderbaum both open with marque matches against ranked opponents.
Linderbaum (43-2) faces No. 8 Ethan Lape (27-2) of North Fayette Valley while Gnida (39-7) will wrestle top-ranked Ryan Leisure (43-1) of Clear Lake.
“Those two kids are going down there to win it so their draw shouldn’t matter, you have to wrestle everybody at some time,” Bevans said. “They both ended up with pretty tough draws to start but if you are there to win it you have to beat everybody.”
Both Linderbaum and Gnida are making their third consecutive appearances at the state meet.
Linderbaum placed fifth last year and both of his losses this season have come to Gabriel Rangle of Davenport Assumption, who is on the opposite side of the bracket.
“I’m just doing what I’ve been doing the whole year,” Linderbaum said. “I’m not going to change anything, I know what to expect, I know what it’s going to be like I’m just going to go wrestle hard.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
With weight, class, record and first-round opponent
126 – No. 4 Louis Gnida, Sr., (39-7) vs. No. 1 Ryan Leisure, Soph., Clear Lake (43-1).
138 – Cole Fritz, Jr., (37-12) vs. No. 2 Colby McIntire, Sr., Central Lyon, (25-3).
145 – No. 6 Kade Steuhm, Sr., (38-4) vs. Adam Benzing, Sr., Waukon (29-9).
152 – Graeson Dall, Soph., (37-15) vs. No. 6 Grant Sherman, Sr., Saydel (46-1).
160 – Trevor Nelson, Soph., (37-7) vs. No. 1 Chase Shiltz, Soph., Creston/O-M (27-0).
285 – No. 1 Logan Linderbaum, Sr., (43-2) vs. No. 8 Ethan Lape, Soph., North Fayette Valley (27-2).
138 – Joe Kelly, Fr., (42-9) vs. No. 5 Preston Dunn, Fr., Sergeant Bluff-Luton (39-3).
195 – No. 8 Bryce Esmoil, Fr., (39-5) vs. Nick Jacobs, Jr., Charles City (26-15).
113 – Duncan McCain, Soph., (45-3) vs. Carter Cox, Soph., Atlantic (42-8).
182 – No. 8 Cameron Tolander, Jr., (35-9) vs. No. 2 Joe Teague, Sr., Algona (38-1).
195 – Levi Duwa, Soph., (36-6) vs. No. 4 Izaak Shedenhelm, Jr., Denver-Tripoli (36-1).