Cougars Punch Their Ticket to The Well


Garrett Kubovec controls his opponent at a home meet. Photo provided by Jaelynn Hauschild.

Tyler Blattner, Writer

On Thursday, February 16 in a crowded Wells Fargo Arena the Iowa State Wrestling tournament was ready for the stage to be set. With wrestlers from all over the state, Kennedy High School was fortunate it to have sent four wrestlers to the tournament including Ben Sarasin jr., Garrett Kubovec sr., Sam Pape sr., and Cam Shaver jr.

Sarasin and Kubovec were the only wrestlers from Kennedy to make the podium. Sarasin placed 3rd and Kubovec placed 5th in their weight classes.

“Wrestling at state is always a really cool experience. It’s a lot different from a normal tournament considering how many people are in the stands watching you,” Kubovec said.

This is Kubovec’s second and final time qualifying for state and he finished his Kennedy career at The Well.

“I’m happy with the outcome to a certain degree. I really wanted to be able to come away with a state title, but I can’t be disappointed with where I ended up,” Kubovec said.

Kubovec spent lots of time and off-season’s preparing for his wrestling season making sure he could get the most out of his final season as a Cougar.

“This year, a lot of my success was due to having good practice partners and the coaches always pushing me,” Kubovec said. “Also with knowing it was my last year in high school I wanted to finish a strong career.”

Wrestling has been something for Kubovec that was introduced at an early age and picked up quickly.

“I wrestle because my dad did too and he kind of got me started in the whole thing. He’s the reason I picked up the sport,” Kubovec said.

Kubovec hasn’t decided if he wants to wrestle or play football after high school but he is currently being recruited for both.

“My college plans are to continue one of my two sports, and major in biology, in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant,” Kubovec said.

For Kubovec, wrestling isn’t something he was automatically good at but it took many hours of practice and lots of coaching.

“Coach LeClere played a big role in my entire career,” Kubovec said. “He started coaching me when I was little and all throughout high school, he is a huge reason I got to where I did.”

Kubovec and Sarasin were partners at practice which allowed them both to be successful. Sarasin has qualified for state every year he has been in high school.

“Wrestling at the state tournament is always a really cool experience. This is my third year now wrestling at Wells Fargo Arena and stepping out on the mats there still gives me goosebumps,” Sarasin said.

This season Sarasin had hopes of reaching a state title but he remains unsatisfied after placing 3rd.

“Coming into the season I had one goal, win a state title. Unfortunately, I lost in the semifinal and had to take the backside of the bracket the next morning. I ended up taking third and the best placement I’ve had at a state tournament but I left Des Moines that weekend with a feeling of utter disappointment,” Sarasin said.

As of right now Sarasin is undecided of his plans for college but wants to make sure he gets a strong education. But hopes he will get to wrestle after high school because it is such a big part of his life and identity.

“My goal remains the same for next season,” Sarasin said. “If I continue to train hard I’ll certainly have a great chance for taking home a state title.”