HUDSON — Idle time doesn’t sit well with Wes Geisler.
Whether it’s helping out on the family farm, summer construction work, advanced classes or athletics, the Hudson senior is constantly on the move. Geisler’s schedule this past semester included full days that began with a 7 a.m. college course, followed by school, wresting practice, farm chores and homework that typically lasted until 9:30 p.m.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a student-athlete who has responsibilities at home and still maintains the grades that he has, and the competitive edge that he has on the mat,” Hudson wrestling coach Wayne Haskovec said. “He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached.”
Strong, driven and efficient, Hudson’s 195-pounder is undefeated this season. He has ended 21 of his 24 contested matches with falls — including 19 in the first period.
“I think his domination comes from his work ethic,” Haskovec said. “He’s so gifted in his strength that he’s been real successful being able to turn kids. He’s just so physical. Not many times in a season do they see this type of kid with this type of strength.”
Perhaps the most surprising part of Geisler’s dominance is the fact that he’s in just his second full season of high school competition.
After competing as a junior high athlete, Geisler decided not to go out for a winter sport until midway through his sophomore year.
“My freshman year when I didn’t go out for wrestling it got a little monotonous with the extra time,” Geisler recalls. “Although I did have extra time, I didn’t know how much time it (wrestling) would take. I’d usually spend Saturdays outside working with my dad. I knew high school wrestling would take away Saturdays.”
Geisler says Hudson’s two most recent state champions, Luke Huber and Taylan Entriken, played a role in driving him to believe that he could find success in the sport, as well. His dad, Mike, assured him that he could get by on tournament Saturdays.
“He enjoys wrestling,” Wes said of his father’s influence. “That was his one sport in high school and he comes to most of the meets that are close.
“He likes it more as a mental sport, and he knows that if you push yourself hard it will get you a lot of success.”
Wrestling up a weight class, Geisler finished third in sectionals during his abbreviated introduction to high school competition. Then — in his first full season at the high school level — Geisler worked his way onto the state podium with a seventh-place finish that capped a 47-6 junior campaign.
One of the highlights from last winter’s state debut was the opportunity to warm up Entriken prior to Saturday night’s championship session.
“That was pretty surreal,” Geisler recalled. “Down in the room beforehand with all the potential state champions, I got to be around that and feel the buzz.
“Taylan, he was very humble, hard work ethic, never got too high or too low. When I warmed up with him before the state championship, he was quiet and focused.”
A successful three-sport athlete — excelling during a Hudson state soccer run and leading the Pirates’ defense in tackles en route to the state football finals this past fall — Geisler has a unique summer routine.
Rather than strength built in the weight room, Geisler has embraced hard manual labor within his family’s construction business. Working for Geisler Builders has given Wes an appreciation for the type of drive it takes to be successful.
“I’m the younger guy on the job site, usually, so I get the more physical jobs rather than the mental jobs most times,” Wes said. “That really helps my endurance and strength. ... I don’t really do the weightlifting as much as other people here at Hudson, but I can still keep up with everyone.”
Added Haskovec, “He’s out doing the old school lifting and different types of chores. It’s reminiscent of 20, 30 years ago. We don’t see kids like this anymore.”
A throwback athlete, Giesler also credits the strength of his practice partners — ranked 220-pounder Cam Fulcher and heavyweight Dawson Ellingson — as contributors to his success.
Constantly watching other matches and learning a sport he’s quickly embraced, The Predicament’s No. 4-ranked Geisler is among a strong group of 195-pound contenders in Class 1A. The list includes Tanner Sloan of Alburnett, a 2016 state champion at 170 pounds, and last year’s 195-pound runner-up, Hunter Hagen of West Hancock.
“He’s as good as anyone in his weight,” Haskovec said. “He’s become one of those kids that you wish every underclassman could watch because he leads by example, does whatever you ask him. ... I can tell future generations this kid only wrestled for 2 1/2 years varsity and look what he achieved.”