Photo by Amber Seaton
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – West High used the state’s biggest stage to make a big-time statement on Saturday at the Class 3A wrestling tournament.
Three Trojans won state titles Saturday night as West High announced it was ready to reemerge as one of the premier big-school programs in the state.
Hunter Garvin, Graham Gambrall and Will Hoeft all won titles on Saturday West High posted its best team finish since 2012, finishing fourth in 3A with 99.5 points.
“Oh it’s huge for our program at West High,” Hoeft said. “I think that was a big statement going 3-for-3 in the finals.”
State meet statements were a regular occurrence for West High when it placed in the top four every season from 2001 to 2012.
It had been seven seasons since the Trojans had a week like the one they capped off on Saturday.
West High won its final nine matches in the winners’ bracket over the final two days, put four wrestlers in the top three and had five of its seven qualifiers leave with medals.
“It means a lot to all of us,” Hoeft said. “We wanted to do it for each other. We’re a family and we wanted to end it the right way.”
On a week when West High reasserted itself as one of the power programs in the state it seemed only fitting that it was its senior leader that applied the final touch.
Hoeft (23-1) used a late escape to earn a 5-4 win over sixth-ranked Taner Harvey of Boone in the 182-pound title match.
“It’s really cool to be a part of the up and coming of this program again and being one of the guys that led the way,” Hoeft said. “More than anything to have two of my friends on top of that podium with me means the world to me.”
The title for Hoeft came after he was forced to injury default his final two matches in a sixth-place finish at the state meet last season and 366 days after he had surgery to repair a torn ACL.
On Saturday Hoeft capped a senior season in which he went unbeaten against in-state competition.
“You see the feeling he had last year leaving this tournament and we saw how he rehabbed and got back to work,” West High coach Nate Moore said. “All that hard work paid off.”
During a particularly rough day during his rehab Hoeft took out his phone and typed a note that he immediately set as his background.
It said – ‘2020 state champ’.
“When I was riding that bike during rehab it was hard to keep focused on the big picture,” Hoeft said. “I had that on my phone just to get through the tough days.”
Hoeft is headed to Harvard to wrestle next season but the other four West High medalists all return next season. The list of returning medalists includes junior Ashton Barker who won five straight consolation matches to place third at 170-pounds and sophomore 106-pounder Grant O'Dell who was sixth on Saturday.
Two of those medalist will be returning state champs after Garvin and Gambrall earn their first titles to kick off the Saturday night show by the Trojans.
After finishing runner-up at 120 pounds last season as a freshman Garvin (33-3) won the 132-pound title 8-1 over Aiden Riggins (32-3) of Waverly-Shell Rock.
“It’s been a dream since last year,” Garvin said. “I didn’t accomplish it my freshman year and now that I got it, it feels amazing.”
Top-ranked Garvin scored a takedown 40 seconds in and added two more takedowns and a reversal in the 8-1 win over No. 3 Riggins.
“Last year I let myself have a bad mindset with that and this year I got a takedown and I just kept going,” Garvin said. “I felt good. I knew I was in control.”
Gambrall (36-5) won the 145-pound title with his third win over a top-four opponent in two days.
After downing three-time state finalist Ben Monroe and top-ranked Deven Strief on Friday Gambrall won a 10-5 decision over Sam Kallem (36-4) of Ankeny in the title match.
“I looked at the bracket when it came out and you have to take it one match at a time but it’s hard not to look forward,” Gambrall said. “I’m glad I won it the way I did though, I beat the guys I needed to beat.”
Team scores (Top 10; area teams) – 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 181; 2. Southeast Polk 141; 3. Fort Dodge 122.5; 4. West High 99.5; 5. Linn-Mar 92; 6. Bettendorf 81; 7. Ankeny 78; 8. Johnston 66.5; 9. Waukee 57.5; 10. West Des Moines Valley 55; 16. City High 39
106 – Dustin Bohren (Bettendorf) dec. Grant O’Dell (West High) 3-1
106 – Owen Helgeson (Johnston) dec. Grant O’Dell (West High) 12-5
132 – Hunter Garvin dec. Aiden Riggins (Waverly-Shell Rock) 8-1
145 – Graham Gambrall (West High) dec. Sam Kallem (Ankeny) 7-5
182 – Will Hoeft (West High) dec. Taner Harvey 5-4
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