Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – In Cory Connell’s nine seasons leading the City High wrestling program four freshmen have qualified for the state tournament.
Three of those freshmen qualifiers were competing this week at the Wells Fargo Arena as Cale Seaton, Kael Kurtz and Carsen Newton all made their state meet debuts.
The other freshman qualifier under Connell, top-ranked Ben Kueter will go for his second consecutive state title on Saturday night.
That is just a lengthy way of point out there is plenty of young talent returning for the Little Hawks next season.
“We are going to be really good,” Seaton said. “We are a good team and we all make each other.”
Last season it was Kueter who burst onto the scene at the state meet as a freshman winning the 160-pound title.
This week Seaton and Kurtz followed suit, each picking up medals in their first state meet appearances.
“Between Kael and Cale they work so hard,” Connell said. “It is so fun to watch them compete in the wrestling room and how hard they work they deserve everything they get because they’ve worked hard for this.”
Seaton was especially impressive in his state meet debut going 5-1 with a pair of wins over ranked opponents on his way to a third-place finish at 113 pounds.
Kurtz added a seventh-place finish at 106 pounds for City High as the Little Hawks pushed up to 11th in the Class 3A teams standings with 46.5 points entering the finals that get underway Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
“I wanted to win it but when I lost I knew I had to come back and get the next best thing,” Seaton said. “I came back and got third and that’s what I wanted after I lost.”
Seaton (16-2) fell to top-ranked and unbeaten Nathanael Jesuroga of Southeast Polk 19-8 in the quarterfinals.
That 19-8 major decision for Jesuroga was the only match to go the distance for the Southeast Polk sophomore before the 113-pound title match.
It also served as a learning experience for Seaton.
“I learned a lot from that match,” Seaton said. “I have to learn to hand fight at his level, I wasn’t there and there is a lot of things to work on. This was a big year, it was a really good experience and something I get a good chance to build off of.”
Seaton responded to the loss to Jesuroga with four consecutive consolation wins including a 15-11 victory over No. 7 Nate Bierma of West Des Moines Valley and an 8-2 victory over second-ranked Kaden Karns of Waterloo West.
“I could see in his eyes that he was hurting after the quarterfinal,” Connell said. “We talked and you could see him flip that switch and refocus and he wanted to finish in third place. I felt like every match here he has gotten better.”
Kurtz went 3-2 earning a seventh-place finish with a 9-1 win over Ben Hansen of Ankeny.
Newton went 0-2 at 120 pounds along with sophomore Ryan Ott who dropped two matches at 145 pounds.
Marty a Two-time Medalist
For the second consecutive season Solon junior Gage Marty is leaving Wells Fargo arena with a medal.
Marty followed up a seventh-place finish at 195 pounds last season by placing sixth at 220 pounds.
Tenth-ranked Marty (35-11) won back-to-back consolation matches over No. 7 Jordan Anderson of Emmetsburg and No. 9 Easton Fleshman of West Lyon following a 4-2 quarterfinal loss to third-ranked Crew Howard of Clarinda.
Marty dropped a 6-3 decision to fourth-ranked Conner Murty of East Marshall in the consolation semifinals and was pinned by No. 5 Treyton Burnikel in sudden victory in the fifth-place match.
Regina’s Udell Picks Up First Medal
In his second consecutive trip to state Regina junior Aidan Udell collected his first medal.
Udell (25-6) finished fourth in Class 1A at 170 pounds falling to eighth-ranked Max Kohl of Lisbon in the third-place match.
“He just really found a way to weather the storm and keep going,” Regina coach Zach Ries said. Udell won three consecutive consolation matches over Kaden Jacobsen of Central Springs, No. 10 Carson Hartz and No. 3 Cael McLaren of Council Bluffs St. Albert.
Udell joins his older brother Rowan who finished fifth at 195-pounds last season as a state medalist.
“It’s mentally tough,” Ries said of winning consolation matches. “Coach Beaver has been great talking to the kids about it because he did it three times and you have to let it fly and keep fighting to stay alive. You have to find a way to keep going and if you do that your body will take over.”