Prep Wrestling

Linn-Mar's Tate Naaktgeboren caps challenging wrestling season with state title

Class 3A recap: West's Hunter Garvin and City High's Ben Kueter win 2nd championships

DES MOINES — For Tate Naaktgeboren, this has been a year in the making.

He waited and worked, assuring that he wouldn’t feel the same disappointment, even when adversity threw a couple bumps in the road.

Naaktgeboren was rewarded for his efforts, capturing the 160-pound title in the Class 3A state wrestling tournament Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena. He beat West Des Moines Valley’s Caleb Corbin, 3-1, to become Linn-Mar’s 14th titlist.

“It feels great,” Naaktgeboren said. “Everything I’ve been working for since (last) February, it feels amazing getting that back. It made it even sweeter this year.”

This season hasn’t been smooth. He had to overcome a late start due to virtual learning at the school. Then, in the midst of the season, he was quarantined. Naaktgeboren was undeterred during the stretch.

“My dad, very fortunate for him, he turned our basement into a wrestling facility,” said Naaktgeboren, who finished 15-0. “I was quarantined, but I was getting workouts in every day.

“I was quarantined but I was ready every day to come back. When I came back it was all gas and no breaks.”

Naaktgeboren blasted his way through the bracket to reach his second straight final. The top-ranked sophomore was powered by a first-period takedown.

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“I just kept moving,” Naaktgeboren said. “He’s stocky so I knew he was going to stay in good position the whole time and slow me down. I knew I had to get my attacks off and push the pace. I knew he couldn’t keep up with my pace.”

The work for next year will begin soon.

“I’ll talk to my family and hang out with them,” Naaktgeboren said. “Then it’s right back in it.”

Iowa City West’s Hunter Garvin (16-0) made his third state finals appearance. He dominated his way to title No. 2.

Garvin built a 14-1 lead before decking Cedar Falls’ Dylan Whitt in 5:10 for the 138 championship. After a bit of a self-diagnosed slow start, Garvin broke it open with five points in the second and seven in the third.

“I wiped the slate clean and knew I was the man,” Garvin said. “I knew I could go out there and get as many points as I wanted to. I felt good from there.”

Mostly reserved, Garvin released his excitement with a couple hops and a few flexes.

“I knew this was my last match,” Garvin said. “I have to go there and do as much as I can. Once I got the pin, I knew I won it (so) I had to show some emotion.”

Iowa City High freshman Ben Kueter matched Garvin with his second title. Kueter defeated Waverly-Shell Rock’s Jake Walker, 5-0, for the 195 title. He won at 160 last season.

“It’s unreal,” Kueter said. “It’s hard to describe. You never get used to it.”

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After a scoreless first, Kueter (13-0) scored three nearfall in the second. He added a reversal and ride out in the third.

“On top, I just knew I needed to keep the pressure on him,” Kueter said. “From our feet, I felt stronger. I was moving.”

Cedar Rapids Prairie sophomore Blake Gioimo reached the 106-pound finals in his second trip to state. He ran into Waukee’s top-seeded Carter Freeman, who notched five takedowns in a 12-4 major decision. The loss doesn’t overshadow how he navigated the lower bracket with four ranked wrestlers, beating the No. 5 and No. 8 wrestlers along the way.

“I think he had a hell of a tournament,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson said. “It says a lot about what he came through to get to the finals.”

Gioimo didn’t win a single match here a year ago and ended with a 21-18 record. He dedicated himself to make vast improvements. He finished 19-1 this season and Thompson expects more gains.

“This is going to drive him,” Thompson said. “He’s going to push. He’s got a goal to be a state champion and I see him doing that at Prairie.”

Linn-Mar and Iowa City West earned their second consecutive top-10 team finishes.

The Lions finished seventh with 87 points and five medalists. Senior Bryce Parke (132) placed third, improving last year’s fifth-place finish. Kane Naaktgeboren (120), Abass Kemokai (152) and 220-pounder Luke Gaffney each were fifth for Linn-Mar.

The Trojans were just one spot back, scoring 82 points. Graham Gambrall, a 2020 state champion and Oregon State signee, became a four-time medalist, getting fourth at 152. Ashton Barker placed third, while Grant O’Dell was sixth at 126.

Iowa City High freshman Cale Seaton (113) and 106-pounder Kael Kurtz placed third and seventh, respectively. All three medalists return for City High.

Cedar Rapids Xavier finished 16th with three medalists and 35 points. Christian Stanek was third at 145 and has a chance to become the program’s first four-time medalist next season. Seniors Ivan Thomas (170) and Ryan Volk (182) were fifth and sixth, respectively.

Western Dubuque had two medalists with fourth-place Sawyer Nauman at 195 and 182-pounder Evan Surface, who was eighth.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior Cael Knox closed his career on the podium. He finished seventh at 220.

Class 3A team scores

1. Waverly-Shell Rock 154.5

2. Waukee 146

3. Southeast Polk 143

4. Bettendorf 100.5

5. Ankeny 96.5

6. Fort Dodge 90.5

7. Linn-Mar 87

8. Iowa City West 82

9. North Scott 72

10. Johnston 56

Class 3A state finals

106: No. 1 Carter Freeman (Waukee) major dec. No. 3 Blake Gioimo (Cedar Rapids Prairie), 12-4

113: No. 1 Nathanael Jesuroga (Southeast Polk) dec. No. 4 Koufax Christensen (Waukee), 11-4

120: No. 1 Trevor Anderson (Ankeny) dec. No. 3 Chad Bellis (Dubuque Hempstead), 3-2

126: No. 2 Dustin Bohren (Bettendorf) major dec. No. 8 Thurman Christensen (Waukee), 10-2

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132: Drake Ayala (Fort Dodge) major dec. No. 1 Ryder Block (Waverly-Shell Rock), 11-3

138: No. 1 Hunter Garvin (Iowa City West) pinned No. 7 Dylan Whitt (Cedar Falls), 5:10

145: No. 1 Joel Jesuroga (Southeast Polk) dec. No. 3 Dreyzon Phillips (Fort Dodge), 6-1

152: No. 1 Aiden Riggins (Waverly-Shell Rock) dec. No. 2 Caleb Rathjen (Ankeny), 3-2

160: No. 1 Tate Naaktgeboren (Linn-Mar) dec. No. 2 Caleb Corbin (West Des Moines Valley), 3-1

170: No. 2 Caleb Helgeson (Johnston) dec. No. 1 Mickey Griffith (Des Moines Lincoln), 4-1

182: No. 1 McCrae Hagarty (Waverly-Shell Rock) dec. No. 2 Griffin Gammell (Waukee), 3-2

195: No. 1 Ben Kueter (Iowa City High) (10-0) dec. No. 3 Jake Walker (Waverly-Shell Rock), 5-0

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220: No. 1 Bradley Hill (Bettendorf) dec. No. 3 Luke Walker (Waverly-Shell Rock), 5-3

Hwt.: No. 2 Griffin Liddle (Bettendorf) dec. No. 1 Gabriel Greenlee (Ames), 3-1

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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