In the 2019 Iowa State Wrestling Championships, Mid-Prairie’s Isaac Boucher, then a junior, lost his first match, but fought back to claim sixth place in the Class 2A, 195-pound weight class.
Having that experience though did not make his nerves lessen going into his return appearance to the state championships Feb. 20 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“My nerves are a little bit more this year than last year,” said Boucher. “I know I have to come back here and at least get sixth and improve myself. Last year I was a nobody and worked my way up through the ranks.”
This season, the senior had a bit of a target on his back after being ranked second in the state at one point during the year. Despite that, Boucher still tallied 42 victories compared to just six defeats coming into the 2020 Iowa State Wrestling Championships. He qualified for his second-straight state tournament after a second-place performance at the Class 2A-District 4 tournament in Center Point Feb. 15.
Boucher’s success stems from his early struggles at the start of his high school career.
“In 2018 we had nobody (at state) and here comes Isaac Boucher and he wants to be the next guy in,” said Mid-Prairie head coach Justin Garvey. “He stepped up and been a team leader. He came in as a freshman and barely made the varsity lineup and went to being a state-place winner. He’s a leader for us right now.”
Boucher took his nerves and experience into his first bout Thursday afternoon against Zavion McMurran of Estherville-Lincoln Central. Boucher used three first-period takedowns in taking a 7-3 lead after two minutes. Boucher started the second period with another takedown. After being taken down himself later, he used a reversal to gain an edge and took an 11-6 lead into the final period. Boucher did not allow his opponent to get back into the match in the third period and earned a fall win with 21 seconds remaining to move on to Friday’s action.
“He went out and got after his offense, got after his match, wrestled his match all the way through and just looked real solid today,” said Garvey.
Sure Boucher has become physically stronger throughout his four years in a Golden Hawks uniform, but he says he has grown mentally strong throughout his tenure. Mid-Prairie has faced a lot of adversity in recent years. Boucher’s teammate, Colton Allen, passed away in June and nearly a year ago, Allen’s cousin, Blake Haman passed away.
“There are a lot worse things that can happen than losing a match,” said Boucher. “Just going out there and giving it you’re all is all that matters.”
Boucher took his Thursday win into a Friday quarterfinal against Gabe Hemsted of Carlisle. Boucher became victim of a takedown early in the match and was pinned 55 seconds into the bout.
Later in the day, Boucher met Gage Marty of Solon to stay in the tournament. Boucher was again taken down early and fell in a pin at 1:08.
Boucher did not wind up on the podium this time around at state, but there is little doubt on the positive effect he had on the Mid-Prairie wrestling program.