I hadn’t met Hayden prior to doing this, but remember reading about him, with him being a fellow Southeast Iowa . He actually went back and forth with my first cousin, Jonathan Swafford. Also, after getting to know him a bit, we found out that his old roommate was in the same band as my brother, Justin…which is The Sapwoods.
Being a Southeast Iowan, I love some of his answers, for I tend to agree with them. He comes from one of Southeast Iowa’s best programs as well as one of Southeast Iowa’s best eras.
What school did you wrestle for?
I wrestled for L-M in elementary through my freshman year and was JV behind Caleb Bashore who was a stud. He placed at least twice. Then I transferred to Columbus Junction.
What year did you graduate?
I was pretty bad honestly. I made it to AAU state 4 times but always came up just short.
My biggest rival was Tony Simon from Highland. I could never beat that kid. I beat him one time 11-6 in I believe 6th grade. We probably wrestled 30 times. Almost every tournament I went to in SE Iowa I pretty much knew I was gonna get second at best.
What was your record in HS?
If we include JV I believe I was 71-13. 51-11 if we don’t include it. I quit during my Jr year.
How did you place at state every year?
I only qualified my sophomore year. I won my first match against Tim Neegard from Rock Valley and then wrestled Joe Colon in the Quarters. In the placing match I wrestle Marcus Breeden from Maquaketa and lost 5-4 on a late takedown after a questionable call. He was a though kid. Placed 6th twice I believe.
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Just my entire youth experience in general. I was never very talented. I could’ve been a lot better than I was. Things finally clicked when I was a freshman and I think I would’ve been a SQ of not for being behind a hammer.How would you describe your wrestling style? I hate to say it, but lazy. On my feet I would try to rope opponents into a carry and the on top an arm lever was my best weapon. It basically took me to state. I was terrible on bottom. My wins usually either ended in a pin or at least a major. If I lost I would usually get pinned. I don’t think I was ever teched.
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
I didn’t really have a rival I went back and fourth with multiple times. There was a kid from Wapello, Arturo Jilpas, who was the strongest 103 I ever wrestled by far. He pinned me the first time we wrestled my sophomore year, but I beat him I think 9-3 at conference. He had me struggling to stay off my back the entire third period. Also John Swafford (😡). I pinned him in a dual but he pinned me at the Highland tournament. Never got to wrestle him again unfortunately.
Who was your most influential coach?
Plein hands down. God, I hated that guy at the time. But I couldn’t have ever asked for a better coach and mentor.
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
That’s a though one. I could go with an obvious one but being king of biased I would put Seth Noble into that conversation. If not for a tough loss in the semis his freshman year and the finals his junior, he had a legit shot at being a 4x champ. Jimmy Waters is another one that I don’t think gets mentioned enough.
Oof. Im ashamed to say it but…Daton Fix.
Sebolt vs McCaffery
Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
Joe Colon and Ivan Wolfensperger. Those two were absolutely relentless. Brandon helgeson is another one. He never won it but I believe he placed 3rd twice and was an absolute hammer. His only obstacle was Colon and Wolfensperger. Another one is Ryan Mango. He was from Missouri but I wrestled him at Ft Madison one year and he bumped up to 98 from 84 and dominated. He only beat me like 3-0 but I was never even close to scoring.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
Did you wrestle after high school?
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
Lol if the opportunity happened to arise, maybe. I’d have to take a week or 2 off work in advance to recover though.
Brode Hills. I grew up wrestling with him at practice and at tournaments and he always whooped my a**, but he was always humble about it. He was a good kid to have in the room and he’s still a really good dude.