City High Boys Wrestlers Place 11th in the Semi-finals at the 2021 State Wrestling Tournament

City High’s Boys Wrestling team places 11th in the 2021 State Wrestling Tournament with Sophomore Ben Kueter becoming State Champion

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Amy Seaton

Cale Seaton ’24 competes at the State Wrestling Tournament.

Emily Martinez, Culture Editor

City High boys wrestlers Ben Kueter ‘23, Kael Kurtz ‘24, Cale Seaton ‘24, Newton, and Ryan Ott ‘23 have qualified for this year’s Iowa State Wrestling Tournament. The state duals were held February 17 and the traditional tournaments ran through February 18-20 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“With the lack of practices and competitions this year I really didn’t know what to expect from some of our younger wrestlers,” Cory Connell, the City High boys wrestling coach, said.

Seaton won three consecutive consultation matches in the 113-pound category and finished 3rd against Amine Murkiza. Kurtz at 106 pounds finished 7th. Overall, the team placed 11th with Ben Kueter as State Champion in the semi-finals.

“I prepared just like any other year. I’m happy [about] how I did but there is more to get next year,” Seaton said. “I got my eyes set on a state title next year.”

Kueter went up against Jake Walker from Waverly-Shell Rock and won with a score of 5-0, winning the class 3A 195-pound championship match Saturday night. 

“I’m proud of Ben Kueter for [recieving] his 2nd State Championship, I’m proud of how Cale Seaton only lost to the [number one] ranked wrestler and beat the [number two and number four] nationally ranked wrestlers]. I’m [also] proud that Kael Kurtz got on the podium as a freshman,” Connell said.

Practices and competitions had to be altered throughout the season due to COVID-19, causing difficulties for some wrestlers and coaches.

“We had less than 50% of the practices we would’ve had in a normal year,” Connell said. “We usually have 15 weigh-ins and competitions before districts and this year we only have five weigh-ins and competitions. I just wish they would’ve had some of the high caliber and high-quality matches before State.”

Practices were delayed at the beginning of the season which set back some wrestlers in terms of preparation.

“I tried getting into the room as much as I could, and when I did I made sure that I had a partner willing to push me and work as hard as I did. The only thing I struggled with was getting a space to wrestle. For the first half of the season when we kept getting quarantined I had to wrestle on a small strip of the mat in my basement,” Kurtz said.

With the number of setbacks, coaches had to make up for the time in order to be prepared for district and state competitions.

“Once we were within two weeks of Districts we started doing workouts separately to make sure the team never had to stop because of [COVID-19]. We were doing about five to seven workouts a day each for one hour to make sure the entire team would never have to [quarantine],” Connell said.

Overall, wrestlers and coaches are optimistic for next year’s state tournaments.

“I am very proud of myself, but I know that I didn’t reach my goal,” Kurtz said. “I am very honored to have made it to state and placed as a freshman and I know I wrestled my hardest while I was there. I wouldn’t change much from this season, but I would’ve liked to get more competitive matches earlier in the season.”