Highland and Lone Tree end their wrestling seasons in Des Moines

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 2/21/24


The third week of February brought finality once again as the best high school wrestlers in the state converged at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the annual IHSAA State …

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Highland and Lone Tree end their wrestling seasons in Des Moines



The third week of February brought finality once again as the best high school wrestlers in the state converged at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the annual IHSAA State Wrestling Championships, a four-day event from Feb. 14-17. 

Serving as the finale of the wrestling season, Highland, and Lone Tree each had one wrestler compete at state. Representing the Huskies was senior Luke Guseman and representing the Lions was freshman Brock Nebergall. 

Lone Tree results 

For Nebergall, wrestling at 113 lbs, he had a chance to finish his freshman campaign at state and on day one he was matched up against Southwest Valley’s Brayden Maeder. 

Maeder took control in the first period, scoring seven points from two takedowns and a near fall. Nebergall scored one point from an escape but in the second period he was pinned by Maeder to lose by fall in 1:27. 

Hoping to rebound on day two after receiving a bye, Nebergall battled against Preston Province of West Sioux, Hawarden. 

In a similar fashion to his previous match, Nebergall found himself trailing by five after the first period thanks to two takedowns and a near fall. In the second Province won the round by one to go into the final period with a 9-3 lead. 

Nebergall had a chance to mount a come from behind victory, scoring two points from a near fall, but Province was able to avoid getting pinned. The match ended in Province’s favor, winning by 11-5 decision. 

“Brock’s performance this season was great, even though we may have fallen short on some matches, one thing I value is consistency and mental/physical preparation. Brock is one of the student athletes that encompasses all the great qualities of Lone Tree.  He’s a great student in the classroom and a leader on the mat,” Lone Tree coach Brent Nelson said. 

“One thing I have come to appreciate about Brock is his no ego or sense of entitlement attitude he brings to the mat. Brock has a quiet leadership style but it’s something myself and the team can see and appreciate.”

With this loss Nebergall’s season ended and he finished his freshman year with a 14-17 record. 

“With Brock’s success this year it’s revealed we’re on the right path at Lone Tree and creating a lot of momentum for the program in years to come,” coach Nelson said. 

The book closes on Lone Tree’s season, but they will go into next year with hard earned experience and with a group of wrestlers not afraid to put the work in to get better. 

“The team has had a lot of great experiences on the mat and in the practice room and are cultivating an environment for kids to be their best,” coach Nelson said about Lone Tree wrestling. 

“My mission at Lone Tree is to have the athletes have a lot of passion for the sport with a competitive nature. With the season ending they’re all excited for the next year and what’s to come!”

Highland Results 

Making his second straight appearance at state, the experienced Guseman, wrestling at 120 lbs, went through a whirlwind of matches during the four-day tourney and ultimately ended his senior season on the podium with a seventh-place finish. 

“I was really happy with the way that Luke competed at the state tournament.  He was very composed and calm all week and he stuck with the process,” Highland coach Nick Cole said.   

“The state tournament is incredibly tough and there’s very little room for error.  On top of that, you have to manage weight for four days, get good rest and try to prepare for the next day.  It’s very challenging but I thought Luke did a very good job of managing all of them areas of his preparation.”

Placing seventh was a one spot improvement for Guseman from last year’s state finish. 

Guseman began his final high school wrestling tournament with a victory over Southwest Iowa’s Gabe Johnson by 11-4 decision. 

In the quarterfinal round Guseman was defeated by Cael Morrow of Akron-Westfield by decision, 6-3. Morrow would later advance to the finals and place second overall. 

Now in the consolation bracket, Guseman avoided back-to-back losses by defeating Wilton’s Austin Etzel by fall in 3:26. 

Wrestling in his fourth match at state, Guseman was unable to string together back-to-back victories, losing by 7-5 decision to Dawson Jacobsen of Central Springs. 

“We lost a close match to the kid who was the defending champ and then lost another close match to a very tough competitor who ended up top four I believe. We were right in the mix with all of the top guys in that bracket,” coach Cole said.  

“Our losses were never through lack of an effort; we just made some positional mistakes that cost us and we needed to have a little bit more urgency in those losses.  Overall, I couldn’t have been more pleased with how Luke competed in his final state tournament.”  

This second loss of the tourney set up the final match of Guseman’s high school wrestling career, a 7th place match against Sam Egan of Sumner-Fredericksburg.   

 It was a closely contested contest, with Guseman leading Egan, 3-2, after two periods. In the third and final period Guseman gave up no points and scored four more points due to a takedown and a nearfall, leading to a victory by 7-2 decision to claim seventh place. 

Going 3-2 at state, Guseman ends the season with a 19-7 record. 

“Luke’s overall season probably wasn’t how we envisioned it or wanted it to go, but sometimes that’s how things play out and you have to accept what it is.  He had some time off the mat for an injury early in the season and then sickness went through our room later in the season and that held him out of a few matches,” coach Cole said.  

“When he was able to get some consistent training and get his mind right, he had a great final stretch to the season.  I think his decision to drop a weight class was a key factor to his success.  He went into the state tournament undefeated at 120lbs.  I hope Luke is satisfied with how his career went and he was a key part in our program over the last couple of years.  We wish him nothing but the best in the future and thank him for his time as a Husky.”

While state marks the end of Guseman’s high school wrestling career it does not mark the end of Guseman’s wrestling journey. 

Guseman will continue to battle it out on the mat after graduation, as he signed his letter of intent last November to wrestle at Iowa Lakes Community College.  

Highland will go into the offseason, determined to continue to evolve as a wrestling program.

“First thing that comes to mind is that we have to continue to get better and evolve as a wrestling team.  Wrestling is continuing to evolve, and kids are getting better every year.  We have to do the same or we will get left in the dust,” coach Cole said about takeaways he has from Highland’s wrestling season. 

“We lost a couple guys to injuries that didn’t get to finish out their seasons, and we had some seniors who maybe didn’t get what they wanted at the end of the season.  It’s always a bittersweet ending to every season, but we’ll continue to move forward.  I am proud of the kids, and I am proud of my coaching staff and this program, and the best is yet to come hopefully.  The offseason starts now!”