City High Senior Wood-Finley Leads Three Little Hawks Into 3A Quarterfinals


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

DES MOINES – It was just another day at the office for City High senior Ethan Wood-Finley on Thursday at the Class 3A state wrestling meet.

For first time qualifiers Jason Lemus and Ben Kueter it was the first day on the job.

All three City High wrestlers put in solid work on Thursday picking up opening round wins.

Wood-Finley advanced to the state quarterfinals for the third consecutive season while Lemus and Kueter won their state meet debuts as City High sent half of its six wrestlers to Friday morning’s quarterfinal round at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“I wanted to lead by example and go out and get the win and hopefully my teammates would follow me,” Wood-Finley said. “I’ve tried to be a leader for those first-time guys.”
Wood-Finley (25-2) needed just 1:22 to pin Southeast Polk sophomore Cooper Hanson in the opening round at 113 pounds.

It was the third straight opening-round pin for Wood-Finley who was a semifinalist two years ago at 106 pounds and reached the 106-pound quarterfinals last season.

“This is his third time being here, he knows what to expect and he knows what he wants and he’s working to go get it,” City High coach Cory Connell said. “I think he’s confident right now and I’m confident in him.”

As a senior Wood-Finley has been a leader in the wrestling room for the City High all season.

As the only one of Little Hawk’s six state qualifiers with state experience Wood-Finley has ramped up his leadership in the days following the district meet.

“After districts last week I told everyone to eat right, sleep right, do all the stuff that you can control,” Wood-Finley said. “I told them just get everything feeling good going in.”

In Thursday’s opening round Wood-Finley turned a quick takedown into a first-period fall against Hanson.

Sixth-ranked Wood-Finley faces a stiff challenge in the quarterfinals with second-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock junior Bailey Roybal (36-1).

“Something that I have learned is no one is unbeatable,” Wood-Finley said. “You are going to be able to pull off upsets. You might be thinking you are going to wrestle someone but upsets happen and you have to be ready to wrestle anyone.”

Wood-Finley isn’t a big talker, electing instead to lead by example.

On Thursday his first-period pin set the tone for Kueter and Lemus who earned wins in their first time on the state meet mats.

“I call him the silent assassin because he doesn’t talk much but he’s a leader by example,” Connell said. “He does a good job of getting in there working hard and doing what he’s supposed to do. He didn’t have a lot of words for the guys this week but the few he had they listened to.”

Kueter (21-0) scored a pair of takedowns in the opening 90 seconds of a 9-4 win over Cade Schmidt of Norwalk in the 160-pound opening round.

The second-ranked Kueter allowed points only on escapes in the 9-4 win.

“It’s a big crowd and it’s my first time here so I felt a little different going into the match,” Kueter said. “Getting the first one out of the way is good and feeling a little more confident going into the next one.”

Kueter, who will face sixth-ranked Jake Matthiadess (25-4) of North Scott in the quarterfinals on Friday, is leaning on his senior roommate for the weekend in his first trip to state.

“I’m actually rooming with Ethan and I talked to him a little bit last night about it,” Kueter said. “He said the biggest thing is staying calm and collected.”

Kueter was calm throughout his opening-round match, adding a takedown in each of the final two periods to remain unbeaten on the season.

“I was excited and I wanted to win and when you are out there you want to perform to your best and do everything possible but you also don’t want to do stupid things,” Kueter said. “I feel like he was just waiting for me to make a mistake.”

Lemus (30-7) gave City High three quarterfinalists with an 8-2 win over Des Moines Lincoln senior Ramiro Gomez-Buentell in the 220-pound opening round.

“It was pretty exciting, it lived up to the standard I was expecting with all the lights on you and just you out there,” Lemus said. “I was a little nervous going out there but once I got a feel for everything it was just wrestling.”

Lemus will face fifth-ranked C.J. Stillman (34-6) of West Des Moines Valley in the 3A quarterfinals that begin at 9 a.m. on Friday.

I loved that he got that last takedown, scored some more points, widened that gap and made a one-point lead a three-point lead,” Connell said of Lemus. “He put that nail in the coffin instead of letting it go down to the end.”

Class 3A State Meet

At Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines

Team scores (Top 10; area teams) – 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 33; 2. Southeast Polk 32; 3. Fort Dodge 27; 4. Linn-Mar 23.5; 5. Johnston 22; 6. Bettendorf 21; 7. North Scott 19.5; 8. Norwalk 19; 9. West High 17.5; 10. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 17; 16. City High 11; 27. Clear Creek Amana 5

Opening Round (City High Wrestlers Only)

113 – Ethan Wood-Finley (City High) pinned Cooper Hanson (Southeast Polk) 1:22

120 – Austin Kegley (CR Prairie) pinned Garrett Bormann (City High) 1:42

126 – Grant Harbour (Norwalk) pinned Reese Hayden (City High) 1:43

152 – Cody Anderson (Waukee) major dec. Reece Caven (City High) 9-0

160 – Ben Kueter (City High) dec. Cade Schmidt (Norwalk) 9-4

220 – Jason Lemus (City High) dec. Ramiro Gomez-Buentell (Des Moines Lincoln) 8-2

First Round Consolation  (City High Wrestlers Only)

120 – Jackson Bresson (Ankeny Centennial) pinned Garrett Bormann 4:52

126 – Cael Bredar (North Scott) pinned Reese Hayden (City High) 1:46

152 – Reece Caven (City High) pinned Sam Zindel (Johnston) 2:40

Friday’s Quarterfinal Matches

113 – No. 6 Ethan Wood-Finley (25-2) Sr., City High vs. No. 2 Bailey Roybal (36-1) Jr., Waverly-Shell Rock

160 – No. 2 Ben Kueter (21-1) Fr., City High vs. No. 6 Jake Matthiadess (25-4) Sr., North Scott

220 – Jason Lemus (30-7) Sr., City High vs. No. 5 C.J. Stillman (34-6) Sr., West Des Moines Valley  

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