BGM’s LJ Henkle is shown in the school’s wrestling room just before his first trip to the state wrestling meet in Des Moines. LJ, who has been wrestling since he was in kindergarten, finished one match short of reaching the podium.
By J.O. Parker
BGM’s LJ Henkle, a senior, wrestled his heart out, finishing one match short of reaching the podium at the 2022 Iowa State Wrestling Tourney.
“He held his own and wrestled some big dudes,” said LJ’s mom, Erin. “He definitely ended his senior year of wrestling with a bang. We’re so very grateful for his amazing coaches, as well as everyone who has cheered him on over the years.”
At state, LJ wrestled in the 285-pound weight class. He finished the regular season with a 16-13 record and second place finishes at both sectionals and districts to advance to state.
When asked what he enjoys about wrestling, LJ said the mental and physical aspects of the sport.
“I don’t like to give up on something I’ve spent my life on bettering myself,” LJ said.
He has been wrestling since kindergarten.
LJ said his goal heading into state was to take what he has learned through the years and leave it on the mat.
He said competing at state is a special feeling and honor.
“This sport beats you up mentality and physically,” he said. “You keep pushing forward.”
“It’s kind of bitter sweet,” said BGM Wrestling Coach Wyatt Bauman. “LJ was in the freshman class my first year as head coach. To see that time and effort payoff is a victory for me as a coach because I live through my athletes and I want to see them succeed on and off the mat.”
“I want to leave my name somewhere in the wrestling room,” LJ said as he looked around the gym at the many wrestling accolades earned by those before him.