Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Following his first two wins at the state wrestling tournament Ben Kueter skipped any on-mat celebration instead sprinting away from the mat and back to the warmup area.
Then he sprinted some more.
Actual wind sprints up and down the bare hall ways of Wells Fargo arena until he was almost out of breath.
“I like to push myself even more,” Kueter explained. “Even if I’m tired I know other guys aren’t going to be sprinting like I am so I’m going to get better than him even after the match.”
That is the City High sophomore in a nutshell. Always want to do more to get better.
“He works hard and he works smart and he’s very coachable,” City High coach Cory Connell said. “He is always pushing to get better.”
Only after securing a second consecutive trip to the Class 3A state championship match with a 17-4 major decision over seventh-ranked Tanner Spyksma of Waukee on Friday night did Kueter take a break to celebrate.
A brief flex for the contingent of City High supporters in the stands was it from the Little Hawk’s top-ranked 195-pounder.
“It’s fun, it’s good stuff the fans love it and it shows I care,” Kueter said. “That was fun.”
Now it’s back to work which is what Kueter enjoys doing the most.
Kueter (10-0) will attempt to become the first back-to-back champion at City High since Kyle Anson in 2005 on Saturday evening when he faces third-ranked Jake Walker of Waverly-Shell Rock in the 3A title match at 6 p.m.
“I try to do more than anybody,” Kueter explained. “If I can do that it makes me feel more confident going into matches.”
A legendary work ethic combined with an intense drive to get better has quickly made Kueter into one of the must-watch wrestlers in the state.
He improved his career record to 34-0 with his semifinal win on Friday, his first win at state that didn’t come by fall.
“There were times where I worked out two times in a day and I didn’t feel like that was enough so I got up at 2 a.m. and went for a run,” Kueter said. “I knew nobody else would do that and I was getting better while everybody is sleeping.”
The work continues to show up for Kueter on the mat.
He collected six takedowns in his semifinal win over Spyksma who scored all four points on escapes.
“I felt good on my feet and I wanted to keep the match there because I feel like I’m the best wrestler in the nation on my fee and if I believe that, that’s all that matters,” Kueter said. “I wanted to keep the match on my feet, I know I can turn anybody and I felt confident on bottom but I wanted to keep it on my feet.”
A state champ as a freshman last season at 160 pounds Kueter has been even more dominant this season at 195 pounds.
Kueter has 10 takedowns in three matches at the state tournament and hasn’t allowed a point that didn’t come on an escape.
“He has gotten stronger, he’s gotten quicker and he’s just kept getting better,” Connell said. “It’s hard to pin point one place where I think he’s gotten better he’s always trying to improve.”
A pair of City High freshmen secured the first medals of their careers on Friday as Kael Kurtz went 1-1 in consolation matches at 106 pounds following a quarterfinal loss.
Kurtz with wrestle sixth-ranked Ben Hansen of Ankeny in the seventh-place match on Saturday.
Cale Seaton won back-to-back consolation matches following a quarterfinal loss to top-ranked Nathanael Jesuroga of Southeast Polk and will face second-ranked Waterloo West senior Kaden Karns in the consolation semifinals.
Class 3A State Wrestling Tournament
At Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines
Team scores (Top 10; area teams) – 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 134.5; 2. Waukee 126; 3. Southeast Polk 99; 4. Bettendorf 81.5; 5. Ankeny 77.5; 6. Fort Dodge 74.5; 7. Linn-Mar 67; 8. West High 61; 9. North Scott 50; 10. Johnston 48
126 – Thurman Christensen (Waukee) dec. Grant O’Dell (West High) 6-2
138 – Hunter Garvin (West High) pinned Carter Martinson (Southeast Polk) 3:43
152 – Aiden Riggins (West High) dec. Graham Gambrall (West High) 4-3
170 – Mikey Griffith (Des Moines Lincoln) dec. Ashton Barker (West High) 8-4
195 – Ben Kueter (City High) major dec. Tanner Spyksma (Waukee) 17-4
Third Round Consolation
106 – Khyler Carstarphen (West Des Moines Dowling) dec. Kael Kurtz (City High) 4-2
113 – Cale Seaton (City High) dec. Corbin Grace (Ottumwa) 6-1
Saturday’s Championship Matches
138 – No. 1 Hunter Garvin (15-0) Jr., West High vs. No. 7 Dylan Whitt (14-2) Jr., Cedar Falls
195 – No. 1 Ben Kueter (10-0) Soph., City High vs. No. 3 Jake Walker (23-4) Soph., Waverly-Shell Rock