Prep Wrestling

Ben Hoeger lifts Cedar Rapids Kennedy wrestling to thrilling 1-point win over Linn-Mar

Hoeger's 12-11 decision in the final match at 132 turned a 2-point deficit into a Cougars' victory

Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Ben Hoeger (left) wrestles in a 132-pound match at a high school wrestling meet earlier this seas
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Ben Hoeger (left) wrestles in a 132-pound match at a high school wrestling meet earlier this season. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — With Cedar Rapids Kennedy trailing by two points heading into its final match, it was only fitting that Ben Hoeger stepped onto the mat.

On Senior Night, the four-year varsity wrestler was tasked with lifting his team to victory and keeping its undefeated conference record intact.

Is there any place Hoeger would rather be than to have his team’s outcome riding on his shoulders?

“No, not at all,” Hoeger said after his 12-11 decision over Sam Gisaya in the 132-pound match gave Kennedy a thrilling 31-30 victory over Linn-Mar in a Mississippi Valley Conference prep wrestling dual meet Thursday night at Kennedy High School. “Coaches really trained me, trained everyone in the room to be put in that position. So it didn’t matter what part of the lineup that ended up at. I am thankful that it was me and I could come out for my team.”

The match featured wild swings of momentum after Hoeger built an 8-2 lead. Late in both the second and third periods, Gisaya put Hoeger on his back and appeared to be on the verge of a meet-winning pin, but Hoeger wriggled free both times.

“Just repetitions,” Hoeger said. “Being in the room. Being with the good guys. I spar with (Kennedy senior) Dylan Falck. He gets me prepared for that all the time. Just a matter of awareness."

Kennedy (9-1, 6-0 MVC) received pivotal performances throughout its lineup. Falck at 145, senior Ethan Sullivan at 190 and sophomore Jonah Hallum combined for four crucial bonus points. Sophomore Gunnar Sparks recorded his first dual meet win with a decision at 120, and fellow sophomore Collin Flannagan pinned Abass Kemokai – who is ranked in the top 10 at 152 – in the 160-pound match.

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“This gives us a lot of confidence,” Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said. “Because we have got the conference meet coming up. We want a chance to hopefully repeat from last year. And then going into districts. … Some of the guys that maybe came out on top tonight, maybe they will help us with seeds for districts.”

The loss was the first in the MVC this season for Linn-Mar (11-10, 4-1).

 

Prep wrestling

AT CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 31, Linn-Mar 30

138 — Reece Seery (LM) dec. Ashtin Falck (CRK), 7-5

145 — Dylan Falck (CRK) maj. dec. Kain Wempen (LM), 18-4

152 — Hikaru Carolin (LM) dec. Divion Ocheltree (CRK), 11-8

160 — Collin Flannagan (CRK) pinned Abass Kemokai (LM), 3:15.

170 — Tate Naaktgeboren (LM) pinned Alex Koch (CRK), 5:44.

182 — Ryan Plummer (LM) dec. Jay Oostendorp (CRK), 9-6.

195 — Ethan Sullivan (CRK) maj. dec. Roark Martin (LM), 15-6.

220 — Luke Gaffney (LM) dec. Gavin Bascom (CRK), 5-2.

285 — Cleo Gehrls (LM) pinned Ethan Winsor (CRK), 0:42.

106 — Cael Long (CRK) won by forfeit.

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113 — Jonah Hallam (CRK) tech. fall Marwan Al-Tall (LM), 16-0.

120 – Gunner Sparks (CRK) dec. Caden Senters (LM), 7-3.

126 — Bryce Parke (LM) pinned Jacob McLeod (CRK), 3:35.

132 — Ben Hoeger (CRK) dec. Samuel Gisaya (LM), 12-11

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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