Girls wrestling: Luedtke signs with Wartburg

Apr. 3—OTTUMWA — The first Ottumwa female wrestler to qualify for multiple Iowa High School boys state wrestling tournaments.

The first Ottumwa wrestler to win an Iowa Girls High School State Wrestling Tournament title.

Now, Jasmine Luedtke is officially the first member of the Ottumwa High School girls wrestling to program to sign with a collegiate program. The two-time 106-pound IGHSAU state wrestling champion made it official on Monday morning, signing her name on a letter of intent with Wartburg College.

"It's just relieving. There's no more pressure about the decision," Luedtke said. "It was a tough decision. I wanted to make sure that I chose the right school, so I took my time with it."

Being a two-time state champion with over 100 career wins, many coming wrestling for the Ottumwa High School boys team as both a freshman and a sophomore, there was no question as to whether Luedtke would be a valued commodity for a collegiate program. Ultimately, the NCAA Division III school in Waverly stood out to Luedtke as the program to join.

"I was choosing between Wartburg and another school. It was a long process to make my final decision," Luedtke said. "I got to hang out with the girls by ourselves. I liked the campus. It was amazing. It just felt right to me."

Ottumwa head girls wrestling coach Isaiah Cox is no stranger to the process that Luedtke has gone through, having signed his letter of intent to wrestle at Iowa Lakes after back in 2016 after becoming the all-time winningest wrestler as on the OHS boys' team while qualifying and placing twice at state. Having coached Luedtke two a pair of state championships and 71 consecutive wins as part of the Ottumwa girls high school wrestling program, Cox sees plenty of traits that can allow Luedtke to make a smooth transition into collegiate wrestling.

"The work ethic is the biggest thing I see from her that gives her a chance to be successful at the next level," Cox said. "The way she works, the way she grinds to get better, is one of the first things I noticed when came back as a coach. She'll leave our practice and go on to another practice while she's also competing in cross-country or track. That's the type of work ethic you can't teach someone. You've got to have that within you. There will be days where you're tired and may not want to do it, but those are the days you have to go do it and push through just like you have to when you're fighting to win a big match."

Luedtke has won her fair share of big matches. As a freshman at Ottumwa, Luedtke became the fourth female qualifier in the Iowa High School boys state wrestling tournament scoring her 28th win of that season with a 6-4 win over Fort Madison freshman Henry Wiseman scoring the decisive reversal with 21 seconds left in the 106-pound Class 3A district semifinal.

After losing to fifth-ranked Iowa City High freshman Kael Kurtz, Luedtke officially booked her first trip to state by pinning Iowa City West freshman Braden Doyle 29 seconds into the second period. One year later, Luedtke joined former Ottumwa wrestling Megan Black in becoming the first female wrestler to qualify twice for the boys state wrestling tournament earning another tough 3A district semifinal win, 3-2, over Burlington freshman Braxton Hutchinson even after moving up to 113 pounds.

Even over the past two years, competing in the first two seasons of sanctioned Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union wrestling, Luedtke has been tested in her pursuit of history. After scoring seven consecutive postseason pins as a junior, Luedtke became one of the first sanctioned IGHSAU state wrestling champions with a 4-1 win over Vinton-Shellsburg junior Bree Swenson in the 110-pound finals.

This past February, Luedtke secured her second straight state title winning 8-1 in the 110-pound finals over Osage junior Gable Hemann. Getting into that match, however, required a 3-1 semifinal win over Cedar Falls sophomore Lauren Whitt scoring a decisive reversal 36 seconds into overtime in one of her greatest threats to her perfect 71-0 record in sanctioned high school girls wrestling.

"Everything I've experienced has prepared me so much to wrestle against college athletes," Luedtke said. "It's helped my technique. Being able to wrestle the boys helped me to improve. I was thrown in to compete with the boys in high school and I had to adapt to have success. It will kind of be same thing wrestling in college."

While Luedtke's skill and ability to wrestle collegiately has never been in question, the opportunities for Luedtke to sign with a women's wrestling program were during her underclassmen years at Ottumwa. The rapid growth of the sport, which has included the sanctioning of girls high school wrestling, has led to a rise in several new women's college wrestling programs including Wartburg's which wrapped up its inaugural season of competition finishing 20th in the NCWWC National Championships last month.

"I always had the hope that I'd be able to go on and wrestle in college, but it wasn't a sure thing because there were not a lot of schools that offered women's wrestling," Luedtke said. "It was kind of up in the air until recently. The sport has just gotten bigger and bigger. I think there are going to be even more colleges that are going to be offering women's wrestling in the future."

With those added opportunities and the school's first female state champion signing to wrestle in college, Cox is hopeful that Luedtke will continue to serve as the inspiration for more girls to join the Bulldog program moving forward. Delilah Subsin and Maravilha 'Wonder' Vedina both joined Luedtke as state qualifiers this past season for the Ottumwa girls with more hopefully to come in the upcoming seasons.

"Jasmine has done the things she's supposed to do and she's set that tone for our program," Cox said. "She's done it the right way. She has girls that want to be just like her. That's what you want. When you're starting a program, you need that front-runner, someone that's been out there and done the work to show their progress."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.