PINDOX PROFILE: Brant O’Shea; Keokuk HS ‘17/DC Elite/UBASA WC
It’s taken me way too long to do one of these for a wrestler out of Keokuk. Keokuk is a local team for me and since I began wrestling as a 6 year old, I’ve encountered/witnessed countless scrappy wrestlers from Keokuk and have gotten to know several of them. They have ALWAYS treated my family with the utmost respect. Never one negative experience with any of them. Their wrestling community is dedicated, loyal to their wrestling community, selfless and they sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve.
So back in the days when my brothers Shea and Brennan were in youth wrestling, Mediapolis had themselves a SQUAD. Along with my bros, there was Steve Holloway, Adam Drain, Drew Foster, Mason and Drew Buster, Blake Beckman, Cody McNeil, Brad Conley, Cole and Luke Erickson, Ethan Timmerman, Taylor Zippe, Brady Broders, etc. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but yeah we were stacked and every year, we were in contention of winning the youth state team title at AAU State and did so a couple-few times. The Mepo squad was so deep that we were able to compete with some of the super clubs that had just begun forming at the time like High Altitude, Young Guns, Legends Of Gold, UBASA, Porcelli, etc. before they started splitting the teams into divisions. There were only two other “school-teams” that were able to do that consistently back then…Fort Dodge and Alburnett. When they split them into divisions, I believe the divisions they were split into were the “bigger schools/super clubs” and the “smaller community wrestling clubs.” Fort Dodge went with the bigger schools, which paved the way for several annual Mediapolis vs. Alburnett showdowns for the team title at AAU State every year. Both teams just stacked, top to bottom. And what was crazy was that as good as Alburnett and Mepo were back then, there was another smaller school squad that made rounds in Iowa seemingly every week other than the state tournament and was every bit as good as Mepo and Alburnett. It was the “West Hancock Wrestling Club” and they didn’t wrestle at the Iowa State Tournament, for they were located in Illinois, right across the bridge from Keokuk. I don’t know how or when that club began, but whatever the case, they sent a team that could give all the Iowa teams a run for their money. We saw them literally everywhere besides state. If there was a local tourney in SE Iowa, West Hancock was sending a plethora of buzz-saws. They had guys like Brendan and Cam Sadeghi, Ashton Meyers, Brett Hammell, Connor Artman, Will and Jack Lucie, etc. All hammers. All of them seemed to have rivalries with at least one guy from our squad as well. The first time I ever saw Brant O’Shea was at the Morning Sun Youth Wrestling tourney when he was a 4th grader and while I believe he is a longtime Keokuk kid, he was part of that West Hancock crew as well for that particular tournament. A lot of the Keokuk and West Hancock club kids/coaches seemed to work together back then.
If you would have told me back then that West Hancock would ultimately go on to only have moderate success when that crop of kids hit HS, I would have called you crazy. But that’s what happened. They did have some shining achievements such as the Lucie brothers doing awesome in HS as well as Brett Hammell having some great moments for them as well (I believe), but it wasn’t what all of us all thought things would be for them. We thought they would end up being perennial Illinois state wrestling team champions and to this day I think they would have, had it not been for a few factors that caused a split with the club team. A couple guys, like Connor Artman were actually really good at basketball, so I believe some played that when they had to choose. Ashton Meyers wrestled 2-3 years at Quincy Notre Dame before finishing at Keokuk. Some of them split and wrestled for Keokuk when they got to be in 7th grade or so. I believe O’Shea was always Keokuk, for I know his father, Jamie wrestled there in his day, but Sadeghi, Ashton Meyers, Brett Hammell, etc. all at least had 1-2 HS seasons in Keokuk. Add in a few other guys like O’Shea, Tyler Bitting, Eli Riddle, Jacob Briscoe, Dakota Shaw, Garrett Nelson, etc. and those guys sent out a pretty feisty, underrated crew! Some of their guys wrestled in budding super clubs at the time, like DC Elite and UBASA, but even if they did that, most of them were involved in the Keokuk Youth Wrestling Club, which is a club that has been in place and has consistently produced great wrestlers thanks to the volunteer help from some of the wrestling world’s more under-acknowledged coaches such as Scott Wilsey who has coached several HS state champs/placers dating back to his time coaching the Burlington Youth Club, Dave Sadeghi, the Riddle’s, the Rose’s, former Keokuk state qualifier, Paul Johnson (great guy), etc. (My sincere apologies if I forgot someone). Keokuk wrestling means the world to several families in that community and they’ve literally dedicated their time, money and effort to preserve the consistently respectable thing they’ve had going on there for decades now. So when Brant O’Shea and some other guys did as well as they did at the HS level, I couldn’t have been happier for them. A very deserving crew and it was about time Brant was given the credit he deserved.
When guys like O’Shea, Meyers, Hammell, Sadeghi, etc. started making their way into the Iowa youth state tournaments, I used to always get a kick out of how lightly the people who hadn’t heard of them before would prepare for them. I remember standing by the wall charts the first year Cam Sadeghi went to the Iowa AAU State tourney as an 8th grader and celebrating because he had to face this “unknown” kid, which would presumably be an easy win. I remember standing back and smirking while thinking, “well, this kid’s picnic he has planned is about to be invaded viciously by a polar bear… poor guy.” And thats what happened, for Sadeghi got 2nd at AAU his one year there. I’d seen those reactions from a few kids over the years when they were unfamiliar with the Keokuk guy they were set to face. O’Shea was one of them. For O’Shea, it seemed like it took wayyy too long for him to be given the credit or acknowledgement he deserved from people across the state. I mean, it seemed like he placed at state at least 5-6 times since he was a Pee-Wee and in the toughest brackets… Yet it took forever for a lot of kids/fans to know who he was. One would assume that kids wouldn’t have “shocked” expressions when they took the mat with him and realized that he was taller than Wilt Chamberlain, somehow weighing 90 lbs and age 12… He was a top guy for a decade at that point and everyone should have known how good he was, not just SE Iowans (which he was very well-known here). A lot of kids didn’t seem to get the memo though and it always brought a smile to my face watching O’Shea’s opponents go from appearing confident before the match to forming expressions of sheer terror when they came to the realization that this O’Shea kid they hadn’t heard of was twice as tall as they were and strong, to boot. He was fun to watch. He used that leverage he had like a boss! And he was methodical and dominated quietly… All business. He wasn’t cocky, wasn’t there to make friends or cause trouble, wasn’t there to be flashy, wasn’t there to embarrass an inferior opponent, wasn’t there to hang out under the bleachers, etc. He just simply showed up, listened to his coaches, followed the game plan, took care of business and won and did so respectfully. Win or lose, he was always respectful. All class, no flash and that could be why he and other talented Keokuk guys tended to fly under the radar at times.
Brant also came off as very coachable. I can’t count how many times I saw Brant sitting and listening to his coaches who were preparing him for a match while his opponent was off messing around. He was a great example for the other kids and ironically, my dad would use him as an example when lecturing my brother Brennan when he would have a practice where he flashed an attitude. It was not uncommon for me to hear my dad yelping in the truck on the way home from practice, “boys! You need to LISTEN and ABSORB what your coaches tell you to do and show some respect! Like Brant O’Shea! Watch how he acts in practice and take notes!” Comes off as an over-bearing perfectionist father, but he was right…
Brant was fun to watch. He used that leverage he had like a boss! And he dominated quietly… He wasn’t cocky in the slightest… He just simply showed up, took care of business and won. And he did so with respect. Win or lose, he was always respectful.
Ok so here are some random notes about Brant O’Shea:
* HS Head Coach was Tom Rose. Brant credited him with helping him with one-on-one technique. He credited Asst. Coach Ryan Helenthal with motivating him and making him feel as if he belonged there with anyone, no matter who it was.
* Brant wrestled for the clubs; UBASA, Purler Wrestling Academy and DC Elite.
* Brant has a younger brother named Tate O’Shea who was a state placer almost every year at the youth level and was a state qualifier last year as a Sophomore at 2A 126, in which he made the blood round. Watch out for him!
* Brant was a 3X State Qualifier/2X State Placer/1X State Runner-Up. He made the blood round as a Sophomore at 3A 113, placed 5th as a Junior at 3A 126 and was 2nd as a Senior at 2A 132. He was beaten in a close match by Matt Robertson from Assumption in the finals that year, which was the year that Robertson officially put things together and CAUGHT FIRE on his way to winning the state championship that year. Oddly enough, I remember Brant Pinning Robertson fairly quickly at youth state a few years before.
* Brant finished with a career record of 152-15.
* Brant lost only 4 times in his final two years of HS and 3 out of 4 of those losses were to state champions (Robertson, Triston Lara and Bradan Birt) and the other loss was to a guy who placed 3rd (Nolan Hromidko).
*Brant was named the 2017 All-Hawkeye Wrestler of The Year which is an award given to who the local coaches voted as the best SE Iowa wrestler. My family couldn’t have been happier for him. Brant was not a kid who wrestled for the attention, but it was nice to see him being acknowledged for being as good as he was. It was a long time coming.
*Brant and my brother Brennan were longtime rivals who were eventually practice partners in HS for DC Elite and those two helped each other out a TON. Most certainly one of Brennan’s best ever competitors/practice partners. Brennan may not be where he is if it weren’t for guys like Brant O’Shea pushing him in practice.
* Brant succeeded at both 3A and 2A. For those of you who like to compare classes, Brant placed 5th as a Junior in a deep 3A 126 bracket and 2nd as a Senior in an equally deep 2A 132 lb. bracket and beat equally impressive wrestlers in doing so both years.
* Brant defeated at least 4 state champions when he was in HS. They were: Collin Lewis (North Scott), Bradan Birt (Western Dubuque), Ryan Steffen (Cresco) and Brock Henderson (North Linn).
* When Brant made the finals as a Senior, this made him Keokuk’s 6th State finalist in program history. The other 5 being: Nabeel Yehyawi, Tameen Yehyawi, Julian Feikert, Kyle Beaird and Ryan Helenthal. Helenthal is Keokuk’s one state champion in program history although they obviously came very, very close with other guys.
* Brant did not wrestle after HS. He decided to call it a career (and a fantastic one) after his Senior season.
2016 3A 126
1 Triston Lara (Jr.) Fort Dodge
2 Nathan Lendt (So.) SE Polk
3 Nolan Hromidko (Sr.) CR Kennedy
4 Jake Watters (Jr.) WDM Dowling
5 Brant OShea (Jr.) Keokuk
6 Will Foreman (So.) CR Washington
7 Matt Robertson (So.) Pleasant Valley
8 Gabe Kjeldgaard (So.) CB Lewis Central
2017 2A 132
1 Matt Robertson (Jr.) Davenport Assumption
2 Brant Oshea (Sr.) Keokuk
3 Brayden Curry (Sr.) Sgt Bluff Luton
4 Gable Sieperda (Jr.) CLGLR
5 Ryan Steffen (Jr.) Crestwood
6 Noah Fye (Jr.) New Hampton
7 Jarrett Miller (Jr.) Ballard
8 Alex Hanna (Jr.) EBF