Gambrall Scores Late Takedown in Quarterfinal Upset of Three-time Finalist Monroe


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

DES MOINES – Graham Gambrall had a two-pronged approach to his quarterfinal matchup at the Class 3A stat wrestling meet on Thursday.

Stick with fourth-ranked Ben Monroe of Ankeny Centennial early, then outlast the three-time state finalist late.

By his own admission Gambrall wasn’t perfect in the first phase of his plan but the West High junior was flawless in his execution late.

Gambrall (34-5) scored a late takedown and rode out Monroe for the final 21 seconds to secure a 7-6 win and a spot in the 3A semifinals on Friday night.

“That was my game plan, stay in it first period,” Gambrall said. “I’m going to get points eventually.”

Gambrall trailed for nearly the entire match. Until it mattered most.

He scored a takedown with 28 seconds left to take his first lead and never let Monroe escape to secure the third state medal of his carer.

Gambrall will face top-ranked Deven Strief (43-3) of North Scott in the 3A semifinals on Friday evening. Strief won a 10-4 decision over No. 7 Tanner Higgins of Council Bluffs Lewis Central in the quarterfinals.

“It means a lot, I am still looking for a couple spots up but it means a lot,” Gambrall said. “It means a lot for our team.”

The late-match success was no fluke for fifth-ranked Gambrall who prides himself on his conditioning.

“It must be really scary to wrestle who can go six minutes, anybody can wrestle two minutes,” Gambrall said. “I like being able to go the whole match. Even if I’m down by big points I’m going to come at you.”

Gambrall credits part of his high level of conditioning to being a multi-sport athlete.

Along with wrestling Gambrall is a part of West High’s defending state runner-up soccer team.

It’s not a common combination of sports but Gambrall, who started his soccer career in the Iowa City Kickers program, says the conditioning required in both sports makes them compatible.

“Right off of wrestling I go to soccer and I can play 90 minutes, I love soccer it’s fun and its great for wrestling,” Gambrall said. “When you are doing sprints, the people who don’t do multiple sports you can tell. Me playing soccer and wrestling definitely helps in both.”

Seeing Gambrall with energy late in a match was no surprise to teammates who marvel at Gambrall’s stamina.

“We told him last night we knew that was going to happen,” West High senior Will Hoeft said. “He has crazy conditioning.”

The win by Gambrall was part of an impressive quarterfinal round for West High that saw the Trojans send three wrestlers to the semifinals.

Top-ranked Hunter Garvin (31-3) pinned No. 7 Trevon Wells of Dallas Center-Grimes in 3:07 to reach the 132-pound semifinals.

Second-ranked Will Hoeft (21-1) scored the final six points after allowing an early takedown to No. 5 Destin Schroder (27-3) of Newton, advancing to the 182-pound semifinals with a 6-2 win.

“I was down 2-1 in that first period and I was never even worried because I knew the second and third period I was going to pour it on,” Hoeft said. “I think our practices have been really efficient and we get exactly what we need.”

City High freshman standout Ben Kueter (22-0) advanced to the 160-pound semifinals with an impressive 8-0 major decision over sixth-ranked Jake Matthaidess of North Scott.

Kueter will face top-ranked Caleb Helgeson of Johnston (33-0) in the semifinals.

Class 3A State Meet

At Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines

Team scores (Top 10; area teams) – 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 82.5; 2. Southeast Polk 69; 3. Fort Dodge 63; 4. Linn-Mar 53; 5. Bettendorf 46; 6. West High 40.5; 7. Norwalk 40; 8. Ankeny 37; 9. Johnston 36.5; 10. Waukee 32.5; 16. City High 19

Quarterfinal Round (Area Wrestlers Only)

106 – Brandon O’Brien (Linn-Mar) dec. Grant O’Dell (West High) 8-3

113 – Bailey Roybal (City High) pinned Ethan Wood-Finley (City High) 3:42

132 – Hunter Garvin (West High) pinned Trevon Wells (Dallas Center-Grimes) 3:07

145 – Graham Gambrall (West High) dec. Ben Monroe (Ankeny Centennial) 7-6

160 – Ben Kueter (City High) major dec. Jake Matthaidess (North Scott) 8-0

182 – Will Hoeft (West High) dec. Destin Schroder (Newton) 6-2

220 – C.J. Stillman (West Des Moines Valley) dec. Jason Lemus (City High) 3-2

Second Round Consolation

106 – Grant O’Dell (West High) pinned Case Cauthron (Spencer) 1:37  

113 – Ethan Wood-Finley (City High) dec. Trace Gephart (North Scott) 8-2

120 – Kaden Karns (Waterloo West) pinned Parker McBride (West High) 5:00

126 – Thomas Edwards (Johnston) pinned Sam Stevens (Clear Creek Amana) 3:43

132 – Keaton Moret (Norwalk) major dec. Kael Scranton (Clear Creek Amana) 12-4

152 – Camden Baarda (Southeast Polk) pinned Reece Caven (City High) 2:52  

170 – Ashton Barker (West High) dec. Zach Needham (Dallas Center-Grimes) 10-6

220 – Kalob Runyon (Southeast Polk) major Jason Lemus (City High) 15-4

Friday’s 3A Semifinal Matches

132 – No. 1 Hunter Garvin (31-3) Soph., West High vs. No. 4 Joel Jesuroga (33-5) Soph., Southeast Polk

145 – No. 5 Graham Gambrall (34-5) Jr., West High vs. No. 1 Deven Strief (43-3) Jr., North Scott

160 – No. 2 Ben Kueter (22-0) Fr., City High vs. No. 1 Caleb Helgeson (33-0) Jr., Johnston

182 – No. 2 Will Hoeft (20-1) Sr., West High vs. No. 3 Blake Underwood (39-4) Sr., West Des Moines Valley

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