Previewing the State Championship Matches Featuring Your Prep Sports Athletes
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – After four days of wrestling it all comes down to this.
The state championship matchups are set in every bracket with gold medals up for grabs in the final session of the four-day state meet beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Four Your Prep Sports area athletes will compete for the top spot on the podium on Saturday evening.
Here is a look at all four title matches featuring area
Alexander Pierce (West High) vs. Tyler Harper (Norwalk)
Pierce will look to put the finishing touches on what has been an outstanding freshman season by giving West High a state champion for the fourth consecutive season and seventh time in the last eight years.
Second-seeded Pierce (41-2) has been impressive in his state meet debut posting a 11-4 win over sixth seed Cale Vandermark of Ankeny Centennial in the semifinals.
Fourth-seeded Harper (29-5) pulled one of the bigger upsets in 3A in the semifinals with a pin of top-ranked Carter Pearson of Southeast Polk in 18 seconds.
Four of the five losses for Harper this season came to Pearson, all by pin, before the Norwalk junior returned the favor in the semifinals.
Pierce brings a 24-match winning streak into the finals and hasn’t lost since his only loss this season to in-state competition against Pearson on December 17.
Cale Seaton (City High) vs. Jabari Hinson (Ames)
After back-to-back third-place finishes the past two seasons Seaton will be making his state championship debut in the 126-pound title match on Saturday against a first-time qualifier in Hinson.
Seaton has shown no ill affects of an injury sustained in January that sidelined him for two weeks outscoring opponents 32-8 in three state-meet wins allowing points on only escapes.
Top-seeded Seaton won the only regular season meeting with Hinson 4-3 in the finals of the Jack Mendenhall Invitational on January 7.
Fourth-seeded Hinson (44-3) defeated sixth-seed John King of Waukee Northwest 5-1 in the quarterfinals and downed seventh-seed Maximus Riggins of Waverly-Shell Rock 3-1 in sudden victory in the semifinals.
The only other loss for Hinson to an instate opponent came against second-ranked Cody Trevino of Bettendorf.
Gabe Arnold (City High) vs. Tate Naaktgeboren (Linn-Mar)
Perhaps the most anticipated matchup in the 3A title slate is at 182 where Iowa recruit Gabe Arnold and Iowa State recruit Tate Naaktgeboren meet for the fourth time this season.
Top-ranked Arnold (40-0) has won each of the previous three matches against Naaktgeboren, all by decision including 3-2 win in a tiebreaker in the most recent meeting at the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament.
Arnold won the first meeting with Naaktgeboren 8-3 and the second 3-1.
A transfer from Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania, Arnold has been dominant in his first Iowa state tournament appearance with two pins and a tech fall to reach the finals.
Naaktgeboren (33-3) is making his fourth state finals appearance, is a two-time defending state champion and has a 122-8 career record.
He was runner-up to City High three-time champion Ben Kueter at 160 pounds as a freshman before winning titles at 160 in 2020 and 170 last season.
Naaktgeboren has pinned his way to the 182-pound final, needing just 3:19 to pin third-seed Sam Zindel of Johnston in the semifinals.
Ben Kueter (City High) vs. Joseph Lewis (Dubuque Hempstead)
Kueter will look to etch his name in history on Saturday night as he attempts to become the 32nd four-time state champion in state history and just the sixth wrestler to do it with an unblemished record.
Kueter won titles at 160 pounds as a freshman, 195 as a sophomore and 220 last season and enters his final match as a prep with an unblemished 110-0 career mark.
The top-seed at 220 pounds Kueter (38-0) has pinned his way to the championship match needing just two minutes and 19 seconds of mat time to post three pins.
Kueter is 3-0 against second-ranked Lewis (44-3) this season, handing the second-seeded Dubuque Hempstead senior all three of his losses.
The wins for Kueter over Lewis this season are an 18-2 tech fall, a second-period pin and a 15-0 tech fall in the most recent meeting in the championship match at the MVC meet last month.
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