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The Grittiest Camel In The Caravan | UFC FIGHT PASS

A Born And Bred Iowa Brawler, Hagen Heistand Is Excited To Bring A Little Bit Of Grit To The Campbell Wrestling Team

Hagen Heistand is poised to introduce the SoCon to the Iowa wrestling style.

To the untrained eye, wrestling is wrestling, but anybody with a true appreciation for the sport knows the PTSD that comes with hearing the words, “He’s an Iowa kid.” The hand fighting that borderlines Bas Rutten palm strikes, as dominant mentally as physically and a whole lot of grit. There may be more finesse than other places but, as we all know, the deepest waters are found in Iowa.

“My style is aggressive,” Heistand explained. “I’m just ready. I want to score as many points as I can, I want to break you mentally. There’s other guys that just want to hold on and try to win by a point or two. Not technically stalling, they’re not aggressive, they’re defensive. They wait to counter attack.”

Heistand is such an Iowa wrestler that he discriminates against other Iowa wrestlers. Hailing from what he deems “The good side of Iowa,” the western half of the state affectionately referred to him as one of the most notoriously gritty wrestlers in the storied team’s recent memory.

“In high school, everybody called me the High School Austin DeSanto where I was from,” Heistand laughed. “I wrestle a lot like DeSanto.”

As capable as Heistand is of running up the scoreboard, being born with “the Iowa gene” of making a match as miserable as possible every second of every period gives him an edge over wrestlers who are used to “by the book” matches. If your opponent has ever apologized for an accidental clash of heads or borderline palm strikes, a match with Heistand isn’t for you.

“I’m a really tough kid,” Heistand said. “I’ve always been tough. I just like to put people on their face and beat the crap out of them and that’s what I do. I’ve always been taught by my original coach back home how to hand fight my whole life because it’s really important in college. So, I developed really good in college because I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

A college wrestler may have a hard time stepping into the room and wrestling Heistand’s style without sacrificing some roughness penalties. According to Heistand, it’d be just as hard to master the sport as it would be to master his art of keeping roughness inside the lines.

“My snap downs are really good,” Heistand said. “I can just drop people on their face. You watch any of my matches, guaranteed I drop a dude on their face a couple of times in all of them and I just know they’re going to come swinging back hard as crap and I’m just going to do it again and they’re going to get even more mad. I’m just really calm in there because I know I don’t need to hit somebody - I can just drop them with a snap down.”

It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the way Heistand sees it, if you leave the gym mad at him, it’s because you couldn’t hang. His matches have gotten chippy a time or two, but like a great one has said before him, “if you can’t beat me on the mat, I doubt you can do much to me in the parking lot, either.”

“it does make me proud because it’s in my roots,” Heistand explained. “That’s where I’m from. That’s what Iowa is known for - just being gritty, tough and just brawlers, in general. That’s what I do. I’m proud of it. Proud of what I do. I’d love to wrestle a guy that’s more finesse than hand-fighting. I know I can probably break him mentally more than that other guy that’s more of a brawler. We’re not fun to wrestle. Even if you do beat us, you just never want to wrestle us again.”

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