116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — It just took a visit to Iowa City High and a nudge in the right direction.
Now, he’s here. And he’s “loving” it.
University of Iowa signee Gabe Arnold moved 890 miles from Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pa., to Iowa City for his senior year of high school.
A visit to Iowa City and an interaction with City High senior and fellow future Hawkeye Ben Kueter had something to do with it.
“He’s one of the main reasons I’m here now,” said Arnold, who won the 182-pound class at Saturday’s Dan Gable Donnybrook inside Xtream Arena. “I came up for the Iowa-Wisconsin dual last year. Wrestled in that, and he was like ‘Hey, you should come see my high school.’ I’m like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ll go look at your school with you. Why not?’ At this point in time, there’s no way I’m leaving Sem.
“I go and visit the school. I love Coach (Cory) Connell. I love the brand-new wrestling room that’s two years old. I’m like, ‘This place is pretty nice.’”
Arnold added that he’s been friends with Kueter since eighth grade after wrestling him in a tournament in New Jersey.
“I ended up winning, it’s kind of like my claim to fame,” Arnold said with a chuckle. “It’s kind of our little joke.”
Arnold isn’t the first Wyoming Seminary wrestler to commit to Iowa and make the move to Iowa City early. Kolby Franklin, a freshman at Iowa, moved from eastern Pennsylvania to City High for his final high school semester last year.
“I kind of followed in his (Franklin’s) footsteps a little bit, I guess you could say,” Arnold said. “He’s like family to me. I’ve known him since my freshman year at Sem.”
Arnold had been living in the dorms at Wyoming Seminary the past three years while his parents, Phil and Liz, resided in Kennesaw, Ga.
As a family, the Arnolds decided if he was moving, they were all moving together.
“We made the decision to move up here,” Arnold said. “We were like, well, this isn’t just going to be a ‘me’ thing. It’s got to be a family thing. It’s my senior year and I didn’t really want to come up here by myself. I knew my family was going to come with me.”
At Wyoming Seminary, Arnold was a two-time national prep champion.
“(Sem) was a little bit different,” Arnold said. “I mainly went there for wrestling. They’re the No. 1 school in the nation for wrestling.”
After a bit of a turbulent junior year, Arnold became open to the idea of an early move to Iowa City.
“I ended up getting injured halfway through the year,” Arnold said. “I completely displaced my meniscus, so I had to get surgery. Then, my head coach left. I thought I was going to stick it through with him, but junior year didn’t really go as planned and I already committed to the University of Iowa.
“It was just a rough year overall. My parents kind of felt like, maybe this is God trying to tell us something. So yeah, now I’m here.”
As for how he’s enjoyed the move thus far …
“Things have been pretty great,” Arnold said. “City High’s been great. Loving the school. Loving the practices. Love the coaches. Love the guys on the team. There’s really no bad at all right now.”
Health-wise, Arnold said he’s “120 percent.”
Arnold is ranked 12th pound-for-pound nationally by Flowrestling. He is fourth at 182 nationally.
He visited Penn State, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Maryland and North Carolina before landing on Iowa.
“I think when I weighed out all the other schools and I weighed out University Iowa, it was a no-brainer,” Arnold said. “It’ll be great to wrestle in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and put on that plain, old black singlet. Just to be in front of those crazy, crazy fans. That’s what excites me.
“I absolutely loved my visit here. The coaches are some of the realist, most God-fearing men I think I’ve ever met in my life. It’s really cool just to be a part of that, and be a part of this dynasty we’re going to have with now with the best recruiting class this year.”