Gold medal or NFL? Ben Kueter from Iowa will go for both (2023)

IOWA CITY, Iowa —Bena Cutteraalmost every day he gets the same question from friends, family acquaintances and members of the media. Needless to say, it doesn't annoy him. Whether that motivates him is another story.

Kueter, who stands at 6 feet 4 inches and weighs 225 pounds, is a four-star defenseman from Iowa City High who signed withIowaplay football. He also won the junior wrestling world title in 2022, being one of only six Americans to do so before graduating from high school. Kueter will also be fighting in Iowa.


In 2028, the Summer Olympic Games will be held in Los Angeles. It's not hard to believe that Kueter could represent the United States and possibly win gold. This spring, it's also not far-fetched to think that Kueter could have been chosen by oneNFLClub.

Gold medal or NFL?

"I think if he was going to give you an answer today, he would have told both of you," said Iowa City High coach Mitch Moore.

"I was joking with (three-time NCAA champion) Spencer Lee," said Kueter, "and he said, 'You've got to win two national titles before you stay in football. When you win two national titles you can go play football and do whatever you want.

“It's exciting. But who knows in four or five years? Anything could happen".

Kueter's condition was a topic of conversation among Iowa City sports fans long before he joined the Hawkeyes. Before Kueter was offered a dual-sport scholarship, his name came up during an impromptu conversation at the grocery store between Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable.

"I asked Dan Gable 2 maybe half a year ago if you could do both?" Ferentz said. "It was stupid. Because Dan looked at me and said, 'Why not?' He can do whatever he wants. So I guess until we know otherwise, we're going to work with that premise. My ultimate goal is just for him to be really happy and for everything to go his way."

Kueter could go almost anywhere if he gave up football or wrestling.Minnesotathey were the first school to offer him a football scholarship when he ran over 21 mph with the ball as a junior. This helped him earn a spot in the Under Armor All-America Game.

Seven Iowans have gone through high school undefeated: Dan Gable, Jeff Kerber, Dan Knight, Jeff McGinness, Eric Juergens, John Meeks, and now Ben

— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton)February 19, 2023

As a wrestler, Kueter is second to none. He is one of seven wrestlers in Iowa history to end his high school career undefeated with four titles. He finished 111–0, with 105 games ending in fall or technical failure. This year he had a record of 39-0 with 34 pins, three technical falls and two falls.

Almost all Iowa football players play multiple sports. Kueter was also a high-profile baseball player and track and field athlete at Iowa City High. But recently only Kueter iBrody'ego Brechtachose two sports in Iowa. Brecht, a third-team All-American with a wide receiver, lasted two football seasons before returning to baseball full-time in the spring. But Brecht's baseball skills overshadowed his football skills. Kueter's trajectory is less clear, however.

"I really can't say I had any idea how Brody's case would go, how his path would go," Ferentz said. “It's probably the same with Ben. These are obviously two different sports, but Brody has abilities that are unusual in his sport. I'm not an expert on wrestling, but people who know about it think that (Kuter has) a huge advantage there too. I don't think any of us are in a hurry to make a decision. I don't think Ben does either. We'll take care of it day by day, week by week."

Iowa's football and wrestling programs have a solid working relationship. Gable has served as the honorary captain of the team at Iowa football games many times, with players filling the wrestling duo spots. All of Ferentz's sons wrestled at Iowa City High, including offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, who regularly attends several sold-out wrestling matches in Iowa.

There is no tug of war about Kueter's services. From the beginning, wrestling coach Tom Brands and the football staff worked together to bring Kueter in a mutually beneficial manner.

"We're going to work with football and find out what's best for him," Brands said.

"You can probably imagine how the conversation went when we (Brands) initially said, 'Hey, how are we going to work this out?' football recruiting director Tyler Barnes said. "Brands just told us to do it."


Kueter wanted to finish school early and start training with the Iowa soccer team in January. But the football and wrestling staffs immediately rejected the idea.

"They tell me, 'No, you have to fight and win your fourth state title,'" said Kueter. "I was ready to end it. I was ready to go ahead and dip my toes into, I guess, the college scene and get ready for it. But they were adamant that I stay and finish high school."

Gold medal or NFL? Ben Kueter from Iowa will go for both (1)

Ben Kueter finished his high school wrestling career with a record of 111-0 and four state titles. (Scott Dochterman /Athlete)

Soccer player Kueter

Among the largest high schools in Iowa, Iowa City High boasts one of the most important football traditions. The Little Hawks have won seven state titles and won four in the past 30 seasons. However, district changes and recruiting trends saw the once-proud program collapse with four straight seasons with two wins.

Midway through his high school career, Kueter turned his focus to wrestling. Iowa City High then hired Moore and the program was revived. That was Kueter's way of thinking.

"When Coach Moore came along, I really started learning to play football," said Kueter. "Just two years I've been coached by a really good line coach - Todd McGhghy - and coach Moore, so it's exciting. I'm not even close to where I should be or where I could be."

On the field, Kueter was a tackler. In his last two seasons, he finished with 199 tackles, including 64 for turnovers and 18 1/2 sacks. He also totaled 665 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022 as a runner and receiver, and caught 24 passing yards for 369 yards and nine points in 2021. As a junior, Kueter helped lead Iowa City High to the state semifinals with 41 bouts for a loss. He was a two-time statewide defense attorney and set the tone for the show. The Little Hawks have had 10 wins this year - two more than the previous four seasons combined.

"I don't think you can really quantify the impact it had on our program," Moore said. “It just starts with his attitude and wanting to be great at everything he does. Everyone sees the match days, everyone sees the prizes and the final score. I think people in this community were lucky enough to see that special part of him every day, and that was his attention to detail."

Kueter: 🎩➕1️⃣

Little Hawks wiped out Davenport West's kickoff ‼️

𝗗𝗔𝗩 𝗪𝗘𝗦𝗧 6#TSTL|#iahsfb

— City High Football (@CityHighFB)October 15, 2022

In Iowa, Kueter has the potential to chart depth as a true freshman. The Hawkeyes have two starters on the inside line:Jaya Higginsaand relocation of VirginiaNick Jackson. With a frame and silhouette similar to the former All-AmericanJack CampbellKueter has the natural skills to contribute to special teams. He also has speed, which he showed in the Iowa City High medley sprint relay portion this year at Drake Relays.


"They can do a few things with it," said Moore. "He can run. He has excellent ball skills. He catches the ball well and then has wisdom with it. All special players have wisdom, and Ben certainly has it."

While Kueter was attending spring training in Iowa, linebacker coach Seth Wallace ran past him and said, "I can't wait to bite your ass when you get here."

"I'm excited to be a part of this," said Kueter.

Kueter wrestler

More than statistics, what sets Kueter apart from his peers is the way he responds to challenges.

Iowa City High wrestling coach Cory Connell often invites younger applicants to practice with his wrestlers. When Kueter was in the eighth grade, he matched two seniors in the state rankings, including one who finished 5th. Kueter won both by technical fall.

"I thought, 'Wow, this kid is the real deal,'" said Connell. "I knew he was good, but I didn't realize how good he really was."

As a freshman, Kueter missed half of the wrestling campaign after breaking his ankle during football season. He still qualified for the state. In the semi-finals, he faced an undefeated wrestler weighing 160 kg. Kueter won the game 6-3 and won the championship 4-3.

Kueter attributes the injury to a push while he was away from home.

"It made me hungry and wanting to compete," he said, "because I couldn't compete for most of the season."

Prospective Hawkeye football player and wrestler Ben Kueter (Iowa City High) reached the quarterfinals with 12 seconds - the ninth fastest drop in Iowa High School State Championship history.

Watch LIVE on

— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling)February 17, 2023

As a sophomore, Kueter only wrestled in 10 matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but nevertheless became a champion. He spent most of his time training with Gable, and the variety of these workouts helped Kueter deal with unusual situations on the mat.


"The best thing about it was that I couldn't wait to see what training would be like when I was with him," said Kueter. “There are days when I run in the mountains, ride a bike, on the mat, lift weights, go to the sauna and exercise. It was great because wrestling is really, really unexpected."

In the last two seasons, Kueter had a record of 76-0 with 54 falls and 13 technical falls. Only one of his matches had no bonus points.

Between the junior and senior seasons, Kueter competed for the U.S. 97 kg team at the world championships. In the semifinals, he beat Georgia's Luka Koutsua 8-0 in 30 seconds. Then his training with Gable began. Instead of panicking, Kueter countered one move at a time. He scored with a takedown and a spin. He eventually won 17:14. In the gold medal match, Kueter defeated his opponent, Rifat Gidak of Turkey, 10-2 before winning in the fall to claim the world title.

“The ability to deal with adversity really came from those workouts,” said Kueter.

Benjamin Kueter DOMINATES the World Finals! 🇺🇸🥇 Pins Rifat Gidak as the second world champion of the day.#UWW #WrestleSofia

— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling)August 16, 2022

Doing both in Iowa

The challenges for Kueter have intensified this summer. He joins the weightlifting and conditioning team in Iowa at 6 a.m. four days a week. He takes lessons at noon and then has wrestling practice at 3:00. The soccer program requires him to weigh 240 pounds, which is no problem for a heavyweight wrestler.

"He doesn't expect it to be a challenge," said Connell. “He manages his time very well, stays where he is and then moves on to the next thing. If there's anyone who can do it, they can do it."

Mental strain is something Kueter dealt with in high school. After his performance at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, he traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to compete in the World Team Trials that evening. So his stay in Iowa so far is torture he recognizes, and his coaches should appreciate that. Unlike Brecht with baseball, football and wrestling have overlapping eras. Collegiate supporters often have shoulder or ankle problems, which can lead to rehab problems.

"At this point, it's going to be, 'Are you going to screw up your central nervous system, thinking and mental health? Moore said. “Now again I think Ben is as elitist in this part as no one else. Physically he is an absolute gem, but I think he has an elite mentality.

Iowa's wrestling and football staff understand the challenges and limitations. Kueter is an honor student who follows his natural talents. The time will come when he will choose a certain direction. When this happens, there will be no bitterness, only support. It's a relief for Kueter.

"I actually talked to Brian Ferentz and his biggest thing - same thing with wrestling and same thing (with) coach Ferentz - was that they wanted me to be a hawk," Kueter said. "They didn't care at all that I only play football. I wasn't ready - and still am not ready - to give up one. It's okay with that.

"If the time comes and I have to make a decision, hopefully a few years will pass and I'll be a little more mature and come to terms with the sport. They don't want me to think it's a failure if I don't play two sports my entire career. I am Hawk. And that's all."

(top photo: Scott Dochterman /Athlete)


Gold medal or NFL? Ben Kueter from Iowa will go for both? ›

A gold medal or the NFL? “I guess if he had to give you an answer today, he'll tell you both,” Iowa City High coach Mitch Moore said. “I was joking with (three-time NCAA champion) Spencer Lee,” Kueter said, “and he was like, 'You've got to win a couple national titles before you just stick to football.

Is Ben Kueter going to wrestle in college? ›

Ben Kueter will wrestle and play football at the University of Iowa. Needing points to end his final match just prior to the five-minute mark and move to 111-0 for his career, the 6-foot-2 future Hawkeye was aware of the moment and had what it took to end it, just as he's had throughout his entire tenure at City High.

Did Ben Kueter win? ›

Kueter, Iowa City High's incredibly talented senior athlete, accomplished many things on Saturday night. He became Iowa's 32nd four-time state wrestling champion. He became the seventh Iowa wrestler to finish with a perfect four-year record, with his final tally at 111-0. This was all largely expected, of course.

What weight class is Ben Kueter? ›

Ben Kueter will either be an All-American football player, at any of those positions, a world-class heavyweight wrestler, or both.

Is it possible to play football and wrestle in college? ›

Wrestling and football have been linked, going way back in time. On the high school and youth levels, many football players also wrestled. In some instances, there are college athletes who competed in both football and wrestling, much more in the earlier years, but it is still going on.

Who is the Iowa football recruit wrestler? ›

Iowa just landed a massive recruit in the 2024 class. The top-ranked wrestler in 2024, Angelo Ferrari, announced his commitment to the Iowa Hawkeyes on FloWrestling. He chose Iowa over Rutgers and Virginia Tech.

Who is the 4 time state champion of Iowa? ›

City High's Ben Kueter completes perfect prep career, becomes Iowa's 32nd 4-time state champ. DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - In his final trip to Wells Fargo Arena, City High's Ben Kueter knew what was on the line. “No, I don't feel any pressure,” Kueter said following his first match. “It's just wrestling.

What is Ben Kueter ranked? ›

In football, Kueter is a four-star prospect with an On3 Consensus Rating of 90.50 in the final 2023 rankings. An Under Armour All-American, he committed to the Hawkeyes in September of 2021, choosing Iowa over offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, and Missouri.

What was Ben Kueter wrestling record? ›

Ben Kueter of Iowa City, Iowa was an undefeated four-time Iowa state champion for Iowa City High School. He became Iowa's 32nd four-time state wrestling champion, and the seventh Iowa wrestler to finish with a perfect record, compiling a 111-0 career record.

How many 4 time state wrestling champions are there in Iowa? ›

Photos of Iowa's 32 four-time state wrestling champions.

Where will Ben Kueter go to college? ›

Kueter, who stands 6 feet 4 and weighs 225 pounds, is a four-star linebacker from Iowa City High who signed with Iowa to play football. He also won the junior world wrestling title in 2022, one of only six Americans to do so before his senior year of high school. Kueter will wrestle at Iowa, too.

How many weight classes are there in Iowa High School wrestling? ›

Wrestling: Three classes.

Does wrestling actually help with football? ›

As in football, just a few inches of difference in the position of your hands, feet or hips on the wrestling mat can make all the difference. Wrestling helps athletes enhance their leverage, flexibility, quickness, power and balance in ways that directly translate to football.

Can a 30 year old wrestle in college? ›

Military service, injuries and other exceptions may be made. According to the NCAA, there is no set age limit for any athletes. However, Division I athletes are required to enroll in school one calendar year after high school graduation and then have just five years to complete a typical four-year degree.

Can you be a 2 sport athlete in college? ›

Put simply, there are no general National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) restrictions to prevent you from participating in more than one form of college athletics at the same school.

Who is the famous actor that is also a current wrestler? ›

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

It is safe to say Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson changed the game for professional wrestlers looking to foster a career in acting, as he is far and away the most successful wrestler in Hollywood.

Did Real Woods graduate from Stanford? ›

Woods graduated from Montini in 2018, then from Stanford last spring, and ultimately arrived here, wrestling for the Iowa Hawkeyes. After receiving a world-class education, he is now one of the main draws on one of college wrestling's powerhouse programs.

Who is Bray Wyatt wrestling for now? ›

Windham Lawrence Rotunda (born May 23, 1987) is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Bray Wyatt.

Has Iowa ever won a Big Ten championship? ›

Hawkeye football: Iowa has won 11 Big Ten championships and played in 29 bowl games, including a victory in the 2010 Orange Bowl.

Has Iowa ever won a championship? ›

National championships

Iowa has been selected national champion five times by NCAA-designated major selectors, in 1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, and 1960. Iowa claims one national championship in 1958.

Has Iowa State ever won a national championship in any sport? ›

Has Iowa State Ever Won a National Championship? No, the Iowa State Cyclones have never won an NCAA Basketball National Championship in March Madness. In fact, Iowa State has never made the finals across 21 tournament appearances.

Where is Gabe Arnold from? ›

Arnold, a Georgia native, suffered as a result. He took losses he normally wouldn't have. He struggled with injuries. He suffered mentally.

What is the largest wrestling in history? ›

The May Day Stadium hosted Collision in Korea, a two-day supercard co-promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, from April 28–29, 1995. With a combined crowd of 320,000, it is the highest attended wrestling event of all-time.

Who has wrestled the most in AEW? ›

Jon Moxley

Was Eddie Guerrero the best wrestler? ›

Eddie was born to be a major star in the pro wrestling world as he was brought up under the wings of his father Gory Guerrero. Eddie had many demons to battle as he dealt with struggles and addiction. This did not stop Eddie from working hard and becoming one of the greatest wrestlers in WWE history.

What is the biggest wrestling tournament in the US? ›

FARGO, N.D. –– The combined USMC Junior and 16U Nationals, hosted in Fargo, N.D., is the largest wrestling tournament in the world. In 2022, the event got even bigger and better. In 2019, the competition reached record numbers at 5,374 athletes.

Who has the most wrestling state championships? ›

There have been 55 different programs that have won State team championships. Wisconsin Rapids has the most titles with 21.

How many girls are wrestling in Iowa? ›

As of Sunday afternoon, a total of 2,386 Iowa girls were registered and eligible to wrestle this season, according to stats kept by Trackwrestling.

What is an All American in wrestling? ›

Athletes who win in the first round, second and third round automatically earn All-American honors, the distinction given to the top eight performers in the tournament.

Is Spencer Lee going to the Olympics? ›

Spencer Lee will officially remain in Iowa City through the next two Olympic cycles. The 3X NCAA champion has signed a deal that will keep him at the Hawkeye Wrestling Club through the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. The next step in this process will be competing at the US Open in Las Vegas next week.

How can I watch US Open wrestling 2023? ›

How to Watch: 2023 US Open Wrestling Championships
  1. STREAMING: Watch the 2023 US Open Wrestling Championships on FloWrestling. ...
  2. On Your TV: Now Available on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast & Apple TV.
  3. Cast: Cast to your smart TV including Vizio, Samsung and LG TVs.
  4. On The Go: Download the FloSports app on iOS or Android.
Jan 4, 2023

What is the heaviest you can be in high school wrestling? ›

The wrestler is eligible to compete in the 132 lb. class, but not lower. He must weigh more that 126 pounds. The scales at the competition site are the "official" scales.

What is the weight class for New Jersey high school wrestling? ›

High school

99 lbs (in the state of New York;) 98 lbs (in the state of Montana;) 105 lbs (in place of the 103 lbs weight class) in Montana. 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, and 215 lbs (in place of 145, 152, 160, 170, 195, and 220 lbs weight classes) in New Jersey.

Are the Iowa High School wrestling finals on TV? ›

For TV viewing, semifinals will be broadcast on IHSSN's Cable Network and the finals on IHSSN's Broadcast Network.

Where is Ben Keuter going to college? ›

Kueter, who plans to compete in both football and wrestling in college at Iowa, won his previous three matches at state by fall this year. He finishes his high school career at City High with state titles at 160 pounds in 2020, 195 pounds in 2021, and 220 pounds in 2022 and 2023.

Where is Ryder Block going to college? ›

Ryder Block's favorite high school memory is winning a state title each year it was available during his career. Ryder plans on attending the University of Iowa to wrestle next fall. “My most valuable experience was wrestling,” Ryder said.

Why did Spencer Lee withdraw? ›

“He gave it his best shot. He's physically unable to continue at this time. He just physically cannot wrestle. Now it's time for him to step away, to get 100-percent physically healthy so he can chase his dreams of making the Olympic team.

Where did KB wrestle in college? ›

KB (Kyle Bauer) wrestled at Kent State.

Where is Cody Chittum from? ›

Cody Chittum, a Tennessee native and Junior national champ, informed the Des Moines Register that he's flipped his commitment from Iowa to Iowa State. He plans to officially sign with the Cyclones on Tuesday afternoon. "I really like how they run their program," Chittum said in a phone call with the Register.

What rank is Anthony Ferrari in wrestling? ›

Anthony Ferrari committed to the Hawkeyes in March. He was rated the No. 23 overall prospect in the 2022 senior class by MatScouts and originally committed to Oklahoma State where he was projected to wrestle at 157 or 165 pounds. Ferrari never officially enrolled or joined the Cowboy program.

What Iowa wrestler transferred to Iowa State? ›

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State has signed Clarion transfer Will Feldkamp, a 2023 All-American at 184 pounds, head coach Kevin Dresser announced Friday. Feldkamp brings big-move and bonus-point potential with him to Ames.

What happened to Spencer Lee US Open 2023? ›

Spencer Lee's return to the freestyle world didn't last long as he earned a quick, 26-second tech fall over Darrion Harris. Spencer earned a takedown in about 4 seconds and transitioned immediately to 3 turns on top. Lee then closed the match out with a takedown to complete the 10-0 tech.

Where is the Spencer Lee band from? ›

Born and raised in Fort Scott, Kansas into a musical family, Spencer Lee was always destined to pursue a career in music, with both of his parents having attended college on vocal scholarships.

What college wrestler turned MMA? ›

NCAA champion to MMA champion
Wrestler, schoolNCAA titleMMA reign
Kevin Randleman, Ohio State1993UFC, 1999-2000
Brock Lesnar, Minnesota2000UFC, 2008-2010
Johny Hendricks, Oklahoma State2005, 2006UFC, 2014
Ben Askren, Missouri2006, 2007Bellator, 2010-2013
5 more rows
Apr 2, 2019

Who did Ed Ruth lose to in college? ›

Ruth only suffered two losses: one by injury default to Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAAs, after which Ruth famously battled back on an injured leg for third, and one to Maryland's Mike Letts, in a much less famous finals match at the 2010 Nittany Lion Open.

Why is Bo Nickal so popular? ›

Because of the elite athlete that he is, the immense one-to-one competition experience he has, and most importantly, the world-class wrestler that he is, it all makes Bo the top prospect in all of MMA.


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