CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Ben Hoeger has made big strides from a year ago.
He’s stronger, more mature and not cutting as much weight. None of that matters as much as the effort he has put in to get better.
“I’ve been working hard,” Hoeger said. “I’ve been working with coaches on all the things I’ve needed to work on. I definitely feel I’ve improved.”
Hoeger gave himself a tangible result of that progress Thursday night. Hoeger scored a takedown in sudden victory overtime to upend 10th-ranked Hans von Rabenau, helping the 14th-ranked Cougars beat No. 16 Iowa City West, 53-15 at Kennedy.
Last season, Hoeger was 17-17, losing to West’s von Rabenau the first period. Hoeger dropped the returning state medalist, 6-4 this time.
Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said Hoeger is often used as an example to teammates, demonstrating his work on the little and less glamorous aspects that have made a big impact.
“I’m happy for him that he’s doing things the right way,” Hynek said. “He’s starting to see the rewards of some of his work.”
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Hoeger fell into an early hole surrendering the first two takedowns and trailing 4-1 after one. He answered with an escape and takedown in the second to tie it. Hoeger remained confident despite the deficit.
“He never quits,” Hynek said. “He’s a mentally tough kid.”
Hoeger rode von Rabenau the entire third period, forcing the extra frame. He wasn’t hoping for overtime, he wanted to score from on top, which has been a strength.
“I didn’t plan to ride him out,” Hoeger said. “I was just trying to get the turn.”
He wasted little time, relying on a pass-by to set up the decisive score.
“I was able to hit it on him early. That’s what I was trying to set up.”
The Cougars (8-3) won 10 weight classes, receiving five forfeits. Cael Knox (195) and Ty Pfiffner (120) added pins. Top-ranked 170-pounder Ben Sarasin posted an 18-3 technical fall over No. 8 Ashton Stumpf.
West (4-7) actually took four of the nine contested weights. Will Hoeft (182) and heavyweight Guy Snow beat ranked foes. Hoeft scored a takedown in overtime to beat No. 10 Cade Parker, 6-4. Snow scored the only takedown in a 3-2 decision over No. 8 Josh Vis.
West’s two-time state champion and top-ranked Nelson Brands dominated Kale Crawford, building a double-digit lead before a pin in 2:27 at 160.
Both teams continue competition Saturday. Before that, Hoeger will build on his success by resorting to the same approach that helped get the win.
“I’m going to watch the video of my match,” Hoeger said. “I’m going to come in to practice and work on what I need to. Just focus on improving.”
AT C.R. KENNEDY
C.R. Kennedy 53, Iowa City West 15
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
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182 pounds — Will Hoeft (ICW) dec. Cade Parker, 6-4 SV (2,1); 195 — Cael Knox (CRK) pinned Marco Avalos, :32 (1,0); 220 — Cam Jones (CRK) won by forfeit; Hwt. — Guy Snow (ICW) dec. Josh Vis, 3-2 (1,0); 106 — Jake McLeod (CRK) won by forfeit; 113 — Ben Hoeger (CRK) dec. Hans von Rabenau, 6-4 SV (2,2); 120 — Ty Pfiffner (CRK) pinned Elijah Bruss, :39 (1,0); 126 — Cam Shaver (CRK) won by forfeit; 132 — Dylan Falck (CRK) dec. Graham Gambrall, 8-5 (2,2); 138 — Collin Leavy (ICW) dec. Nate Trotter, 7-3 (3,0); 145 — Noah Cunningham (CRK) won by forfeit; 152 — Jay Oostendorp (CRK) won by forfeit; 160 — Nelson Brands (ICW) pinned Kale Crawford, 2:27 (5,0); 170 — Ben Sarasin (CRK) tech. fall Ashton Stumpf, 18-3 (5,0).
Takedowns — I.C. West 15, C.R. Kennedy 12. Reversals — I.C. West 0, C.R. Kennedy 0. Escapes — I.C. West 8, C.R. Kennedy 15. Nearfall points — I.C. West 5, C.R. Kennedy 13. Penalty points (awarded) — I.C. West 0, C.R. Kennedy 0. Total match points — I.C. West 43, C.R. Kennedy 52.
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