116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Every good movie deserves a sequel.
The quality and popular ones result in a trilogy. Iowa City West’s Hunter Garvin, Iowa City High’s Ben Kueter and Linn-Mar’s Tate Naaktgeboren have never missed a chance to perform under the lights and in front of the cameras for the state wrestling tournament finals stage.
The trio have reached the state finals every year of their high school careers. All three dominated their ways to Class 3A championships Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Garvin and Kueter scored pins to become the 99th and 100th three-time state titlists, while Naaktgeboren posted a technical fall for his second straight. Interestingly, Kueter topped Naaktgeboren in the finals their freshman season.
Garvin became the second West wrestler to win at least three titles, joining four-timer Nick Moore.
“Man,” Garvin said. “Holy smokes. I’m pumped up.”
The adrenaline was pumping thanks to an explosive finish that led to an unusual fall against Southeast Polk’s Carter Martinson. One he didn’t know he recorded at first, but heard West Coach Nate Moore’s reaction. Garvin drove a double-leg through Martinson, putting him on his back and expecting him to bail from the hold for two points.
“I get into that position a lot of times in practice (and) in a match,” Garvin said. “I felt very comfortable there. I had no idea about a pin. I was just looking for a takedown. I was confused why I didn’t get a takedown and I just hear Nate yelling he’s pinned.
“I hear a pin. I was surprised when I got up. Then, I realized what happened. I got jacked up.”
Garvin is the Trojans’ third four-time finalist, joining the Moore brothers. He also earned titles at 138 and 132, finishing second at 120 as a freshman. He has devoted countless hours to training and it paid dividends, overcoming adversity, injury and even a pandemic.
“It takes everything you’ve got,” said Garvin, who credited his faith for his success. “You’ve got to push through everything.
“It’s all gas. No brakes.”
Kueter wasn’t tested in his attempt at a third crown. He opened the tournament with two technical falls and finished with two pins, decking West Des Moines Dowling’s Ralston Rumley in 1:13 of the 220 final. His dominance in competition is a product of his effort outside of it.
“That’s what I do Monday through Friday,” Kueter said. “I know I out-work everybody and that’s when I come out on Saturday night it looks that easy.”
Kueter improved to 37-0 this season, giving him a 72-0 career mark. He is in line to become the Little Hawks’ second unbeaten four-timer and first since Jeff McGinness completed the feat in 1993. The City High junior has his sights set on more immediate goals.
“It feels good,” Kueter said. “I’m excited and ready to go make a (Junior) world team.
“I have bigger stuff to win than this. This is a great tournament. I really enjoy it. It’s a great atmosphere. I’m really grateful to be a part of it.”
Naaktgeboren produced one of the most dominant finishes, beating his last two opponents by a combined 37-6. He only needed 3:21 for a 17-1 technical fall over Pleasant Valley’s Caden McDermott in the 170 final.
“Moves just flow together when I’m moving, getting my motion going, my shots, fakes, setups, and ties and not letting him slow me down,” Naaktgeboren said about his dynamic offensive output. “It was pretty easy this week, getting there.”
Naaktgeboren became just the third Linn-Mar wrestler to win multiple state titles, joining four-timer Jay Borschel and three-time titlist Matt McDonough. It is the school’s 15th overall state gold. He said he wanted to put on a show and delivered.
“I went out there (and) had fun with it,” Naaktgeboren said. “I know my crowd enjoyed it. I heard the roars, so I think I did a pretty good job.”
Father, son coach champions
West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss and his son, Benton Community Coach Jake Voss, became at least the second father-son combo to coach individual state champions in the same season.
“It was pretty remarkable,” Jeff said. “A coach gets a big sense of pride when you see your wrestlers giving back to the sport you love. When that coach is your own son that is special and fills me with pride.”
Glenwood’s Bob Dyer coached Kirk Artist to a 145-pound title in 2A, while his son, Matt, led Cody Koenig to a title at 152 in 1A.
The elder Voss was in the corner for 195-pounder Wyatt Voelker, who won his second straight state title. The younger Voss coached Jaiden Moore to the 126 title in his second finals appearance.
“It’s a pretty neat thing,” Jake said. “I love getting to share these experiences with my dad.”
Voelker helped the Hawks leapfrog Sergeant Bluff-Luton for third, handling Glenwood’s C.J. Carter, 19-7, in the finals. He finished as a three-time state medalist, finishing third as a sophomore and fourth his freshman year. Voelker also capped his career with 90 consecutive wins.
“Besides being a great wrestler, he is a great teammate,” Jeff said of the University of Northern Iowa commit. “He is constantly making the people around him better. He also is never satisfied with how good he currently is. He is a much better wrestler now than he was last year at this time. His best is yet to come.”
Moore became Benton’s fourth state champion and first since Terry Schmuecker won his second straight title in 1985. Moore capped a 41-0 season with a 5-4 decision over Matthew Beem, also of Glenwood.
Moore was a 1A runner-up at Don Bosco in 2020. He placed fourth with the Bobcats a year ago. He returned to the finals and climbed the last step before wrestling next year at Coe.
“He has really helped jumpstart our program,” Jake said. “Jaiden’s character and dedication are great examples of qualities we want to bring out in all of our wrestlers. He has provided leadership in leading by example, giving back to the sport, and being coachable as well as many other things.
“Jaiden’s story tells itself and is something a lot of wrestlers can look up to. We are excited to watch him compete in the future.”
Wild team races
The team races in Class 2A and 3A turned out to be razor-thin margins when the dust settled Saturday night. The two team champions were decided by a mere 3 ½ points.
Burlington Notre Dame captured its first traditional team state title, edging Osage by a half-point in 2A. The Nikes crowned two champions for 109 points, while Osage had two with 108.5. The margin of victory tied the record for tightest team race, matching the difference when Solon topped New Hampton, 96.5-96, for the 2A title in 2017.
The Nikes’ C.J. Walrath provided the deciding points, earning a 12-4 major decision over Gilbert’s Fernando Villaescusa for the 182 title and an extra team point. A takedown with just 26 seconds remaining and a ride out secure the major.
New London’s Marcel Lopez and Crestwood’s Carter Fousek became the 30th and 31st four-time state champions.
Lopez capped his 55-0 season with a 5-3 decision over Oakland Riverside’s Jace Rose for the 126-pound title in Class 1A. Lopez won titles at 120, 113 and 106 the last three seasons.
Fousek defeated South Tama’s Logan Arp, 7-1, in the 138-pound final in 2A. Fousek entered the season with titles at 126, 113 and 106.