Breaking Down the Class 3A State Wrestling Meet


Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Wrestlers

Area Qualifiers/Opening Round Opponents

106 – No. 4 Grant O’Dell (25-6) Soph., West High vs. Blake Gioimo (21-16) Fr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

113 – No. 6 Ethan Wood-Finley (24-2) Sr., City High vs. Cooper Hanson (22-15) Soph., Southeast Polk

120 – No. 6 Garrett Bormann (29-10) Sr., City High vs. No. 2 Austin Kegley (33-4) Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

120 – Parker McBride (13-6) Soph., West High vs. No. 7 Peyton Westin (34-13) Soph., North Scott

126 – Sam Stevens (20-6) Sr., Clear Creek Amana vs. Jackson Barth (20-6) Sr., Cedar Falls

126 – Reese Hayden (20-11) Sr., City High vs. No. 5 Grant Harbour (28-4) Jr., Norwalk

132 – No. 1 Hunter Garvin (29-3) Soph., West High vs. Samuel Gisaya (13-9) Sr., Linn-Mar

132 – Kael Scranton (38-9) Soph., Clear Creek Amana vs. No. 2 Brock Espalin (28-1) Sr., Des Moines East  

145 – No. 5 Graham Gambrall (32-5) Jr., West High vs. Peter Erickson (24-12) Jr., Johnston

152 – No. 10 Reece Caven (23-1) Sr., City High vs. No. 2 Cody Anderson (40-3) Sr., Waukee

160 – No. 2 Ben Kueter (20-0) Fr., City High vs. Cade Schmidt (18-6) Jr., Norwalk

170 – No. 4 Ashton Barker (26-5) Jr., West High vs. Deveyon Montgomery (14-5) Sr., Southeast Polk

182 – No. 2 Will Hoeft (19-1) Sr., West High vs. Caleb Watson (34-15) Sr., Indianola

195 – Anu Dokun (15-17) Sr., West High vs. No. 4 Miles Berg (46-4) Sr., Indianola

220 – Jason Lemus (29-7) Sr., City High vs. Ramiro Gomez-Buentell (21-11) Sr. Des Moines Lincoln

Returning State Champions

Current Weight/Wrestler/2019 Championship Weight

113 – Trever Anderson, Ankeny, Soph., (106)

120 – Drake Ayala, Fort Dodge, Jr., (113)

126 – Carson Taylor, Fort Dodge, Sr., (120)

138 – Caleb Rathjen, Ankeny, Jr., (126)

152 – Eli Loyd, Pleasant Valley, Sr., (138)

195 – Gabe Christenson, Southeast Polk, Sr., (195)

Cullan Schriever, Mason City Sr., (17-18)*

Undefeated Wrestlers

106 – Ryder Block (38-0) Fr., Waverly-Shell Rock

106 – Nathaneal Jesuroga (32-0) Fr., Southeast Polk

120 – Drake Ayala (41-0) Jr., Fort Dodge

126 – Cullan Schriever (12-0) Sr., Mason City

145 – Cayden Langreck (5-0) Soph., Waverly-Shell Rock

160 – Ben Kueter (20-0) Fr., City High

160 – Caleb Helgeson (31-0) Jr., Johnston

170 – Logan Neils (39-0) Sr., Ankeny Centennial

285 – Griffin Liddle (15-0) Jr., Bettendorf

First Round Match to Watch

A year ago Sam Stevens went 1-2 in his state meet debut.

In his return to Wells Fargo arena a first-round win would be a big step in the Clear Creek Amana senior ending his career on the medal podium.

Stevens (20-6) faces Cedar Falls senior Jackson Barth (20-6) in the 126-pound opening round on Thursday morning.

Barth is making his state meet debut after defeating No. 10 Connor Kelley of Waukee in the district final.

Stevens missed more than a month with an injury but returned in time to post an impressive performance at the district meet claiming a district title with two first-period pins.

Who To Watch

A year after coming up a win shy of a state title West High sophomore Hunter Garvin is headed back to Wells Fargo Arena focused on finishing the job.

Garvin finished runner-up at 120 pounds in his prep debut season falling to Carson Taylor of Fort Dodge in the title match.

As impressive as he was as a freshman Garvin has been even more dominant during his sophomore season.

Top-ranked Garvin (29-3) enters the state meet riding a 10-match winning streak with all 10 wins coming via fall and 25 of his 29 victories this season have been by pin.

Garvin earned the second seed in the 132-pound bracket and could face No. 7 Trevon Wells (23-4) of Dallas Center-Grimes in the quarterfinals with fourth-ranked Joel Jesuroga (31-5) of Southeast Polk a likely semifinal foe.

Top-seeded Waverly-Shell Rock sophomore Aiden Riggins (29-2) was third at 103 last season and is the favorite to emerge from the top side of the bracket.

Weight Class to Watch

One of only two weight classes in Class 3A with a pair of undefeated wrestlers the 160-pound bracket should be among the most exciting to monitor over the entire three-day tournament.

Second-ranked City High freshman Ben Kueter (20-0) joins top-ranked Johnston junior Caleb Helgeson (31-0) as unbeaten wrestlers in the 160-pound bracket and the two could put their unbeaten records on the line against one another in what would be one of the most anticipated semifinals in all of Class 3A.

Kueter missed the first month of the season due to a broken leg sustained during football season but wasted little time establishing himself as a legitimate state title contender.

The freshman holds a win over third-ranked Linn-Mar freshman Tate Naaktgeboren (33-2) and has had only four of his 20 matches go the distance this season.

Kueter will face a challenging road in his state meet debut with a possible quarterfinal matchup with sixth-ranked Jake Matthaidess (24-4) or North Scott standing in the way of a semifinal matchup with Helgeson.

Helgeson was fifth at 132 pounds a year ago and has excelled after making the jump to 160.

The top-seed at 160 pounds, Helgeson owns seven wins over ranked opponents in the earned the 160-pound field including an 8-3 decision over third-ranked Nick Bonanno of Indianola.

Bonanno and Naaktgeboren are the favorites to emerge from the bottom half of the bracket.

The Teams

District Champions (State Qualifiers)

Southeast Polk (13); Fort Dodge (11); Waverly-Shell Rock (10); Bettendorf (10); Norwalk (9); Linn-Mar (8); West High (7); West Des Moines Valley (6)

2019 Top 5 Team Finishers – 1. Waverly Shell-Rock 157; 2. Southeast Polk 123; 3. Fort Dodge 105; 4. Ankeny Centennial 86; 5. Waukee 75

Last 5 Team Champs

2019 – Waverly Shell-Rock

2018 – Fort Dodge

2017 – Southeast Polk

2016 – Southeast Polk

2015 – Southeast Polk

2014 – Bettendorf

What to Watch in the Team Race

West High hasn’t finished in the in top four at the state meet since placing third in 2012 but the Trojans are capable of snapping that streak this season.

The Trojans enter the state meet on a roll following team titles at the Mississippi Valley Conference and District meets and will look to add to their late season surge in Des Moines.

West High placed in the top four at the 3A meet every year from 2001 to 2012 winning two titles and adding five runner-up finishes during that stretch.

This year’s West High squad likely won’t reach those levels but has more than enough firepower to contend for a return to the top four.

Five of its seven qualifiers are ranked in the top five of their respective weights led by top-ranked 132-pound sophomore Hunter Garvin and second-ranked senior 182-pounder Will Hoeft (19-1).

West High should have no problem improving on its 15th place finish and 46.5 team points from a year ago.

Expect familiar faces to battle for the top spot with defending state champion and top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock the favorite and second-ranked Southeast Polk and its 13 qualifiers the top challenger.

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