116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — With a name like Rowdy, he was destined to be a wrestler.
The name fits Alburnett freshman Rowdy Neighbor well as a competitor. It also occasionally describes his temperament off the mat. Plus, it’s a solid icebreaker.
“It’s good to start a conversation,” Neighbor said. “I’d say it matches my personality. My parents hit it spot on.”
Neighbor was rough, wild and dominant, capturing the 106-pound title of the J-Hawk Invitational Saturday at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Pleasant Valley crowned four champions to win the team title with 242 1/2 points, topping runner-up Dubuque Hempstead by 40 1/2.
In a championship match named by wrestling gods (Rowdy vs. Pins), Neighbor faced Dubuque Hempstead’s Mitchell Pins. Neighbor dominated throughout, scoring a first-period takedown, adding five nearfall points on two turns in the second and closed with one more takedown in the third for a 10-0 major decision,.
“It’s something we preach,” Alburnett Coach Clayton Rush said. “You put points up against somebody and that softens them up a little bit. Rowdy has a few opportunities to do that and he did.”
Rush said the final included Neighbor’s strengths. He converted a head to the inside single-leg attack. Neighbor showed his scrambling ability with a crotch-lift and rode hard with his legs.
“He’s put a lot of time in wrestling,” Rush said. “He knows his hips, where he’s at on the mat and match situations really well. He kept his head and stayed composed. He attacked and scored points.”
Neighbor reached the finals with a second-period pin over Evan Simpson and owns a 29-7 record. He was one of two Alburnett champions, joining 145-pounder Carson Klostermann. Gunnar Keeney (152) was also second for the Pirates.
“I felt I was there on the mat and in my head,” Neighbor said. “Everything clicked.”
Neighbor was joined by his brother, Brody, who was second at 132. Rush said he thought the name was “awesome” and that there are some similarities between the two siblings.
“Brody is more rowdy, but not as much anymore,” Rush said with a laugh. “Rowdy can be rowdy in a good way.”
Klostermann rolled through his bracket, throttling Forest City’s Hayden Hoffmeyer, 16-3, in the finals. He racked up four takedowns and six nearfall points. He recorded two pins in his first two matches. Klostermann is now 32-3 this season.
“He attacks with more of an edge,” Rush said of Klostermann. “He wants to rip your arms off and wants to get a wing (pinning maneuver). That developed before Christmas, continued through break and you’re still seeing that.”
Both are reaping the rewards of their training efforts. They have elevated their work in practice and transferred it into competition.
“Not that other guys haven’t been, but they’ve been focused on another level, working in areas they know they’re successful,” Rush said. “You can tell there’s a different level of focus.”
Rowdy has high aspirations. He said he wants the Pirates to reach the state duals and is determined to reach the state podium in Des Moines. Work begins again immediately.
“You’ve got to make it there first,” Rowdy said. “Step by step. Go back to practice and fix the flaws. ... Going to keep it rolling from there.
“I’m starting to climb. We need to peak at sectional, district and state.”
Iowa City High’s Ben Kueter produced another dominant performance. The Little Hawks’ two-time state champion and top-ranked 220-pounder was his typical buzz saw self. Kueter built a 17-3 lead over Muscatine’s Evan Franke before ending it with a pin in 2:21.
Kueter posted bookend falls Saturday, sandwiching a 21-6 semifinal win over Fort Madison’s Daniel Sokolik between them. He moved to 20-0 and captured the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award voted on by coaches.
Kueter became the first recipient of the award after it was named in honor of Wyatt Schultz, the late owner/editor of The Predicament and contributor to The Gazette’s “Pinning Combination” podcast.
The Little Hawks crowned three champions and placed fifth with 180 1/2 points. Cale Seaton and Kael Kurtz were dominant as well. Seaton also went pin, technical fall and pin, decking Fort Madison’s Logan Pennock in 2:58 of the 120 final. Kurtz cruised to a 20-5 technical fall over Pleasant Valley’s Duncan Harn for the 126 championship.
At C.R. Jefferson
Teams – 1. Pleasant Valley 242.5, 2. Dubuque Hempstead 202, 3. Cedar Falls 194, 4. Fort Madison 193.5, 5. Iowa City High 180.5, 6. Alburnett 172, 7. Muscatine 120, 8. Waterloo East 118.5, 9. Forest City 98, 10. Davenport North 73, 11. C.R. Jefferson 68.
106 pounds – Rowdy Neighbor (A) major dec. Mitch Pins (DH), 10-0; 113 – Jeffery West (DN) pinned Mitchell Murphy, 2:51; 120 – Cale Seaton (ICH) pinned Logan Pennock (FM), 2:58; 126 – Kael Kurtz (ICH) tech. fall Duncan Harn (PV), 20-5; 132 – Kellen Moore (FC) dec. Brody Neighbor, 5-3; 138 – Jack Miller (PV) dec. Henry Koehn (CF), 2-1; 145 – Carson Klostermann (A) major dec. Hayden Hoffmeyer (FC), 16-3; 152 – Dylan Whitt (CF) major dec. Gunnar Keeney (A), 19-7; 160 – Teague Smith (FM) pinned Josiah Schaetzle (DH), 2:59; 170 – Caden McDermott (PV) dec. Eli Sallis (WE), 5-3; 182 – Rusty VanWetzinga (PV) pinned Lawrence Taylor III (WE), 4:48; 195 – Drew M. Campbell (CF) dec. Isaac Thacher (FM), 6-4 SV; 220 – Ben Kueter (ICH) pinned Evan Franke (Mus), 2:21; Hwt. – Luke Vonderhaar (PV) pinned Jeremiah Timmons-Henderson (DN), 1:03.
Outstanding wrestler – Kueter (ICH)
Gorrarian Award (Most pins in least time) – Vonderhaar (PV), 3 pins in 2:20.