Big Ten

Ben Kueter Taking Break From Iowa Football To Concentrate On Wrestling

Ben Kueter Taking Break From Iowa Football To Concentrate On Wrestling

Two-sport athlete Ben Kueter announced Monday he'll take a 10-month break from the Iowa football program to focus on his wrestling goals.

Jun 4, 2024 by Andy Hamilton
1,033. What We Learned From U20s & U23s

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Ben Kueter is putting his football career on hold and going all-in on wrestling until next spring. 

Iowa’s freshman heavyweight announced Monday that he’s transitioning into a full-time wrestling role while pursuing a second U20 World title and an NCAA championship. 

“To meet these goals will require my full attention for the next 10 months, but this is not the end of my football career,” Kueter wrote on social media. “I will start back up in spring ball.” 

Kueter won the 125-kilogram freestyle title Saturday at the U20 World Team Trials, sweeping Jimmy Mullen in the best-of-three final series. The tournament title sets him up to compete Sept. 7 at the U20 World Championships in Spain. That’s the same day of the Iowa-Iowa State football game, which left Kueter with a decision to make. 

Football or wrestling? 

That’s a question Kueter has had to deal with since Power 5 football offers started trickling in during the early weeks of his junior year at Iowa City High School. After collecting offers to play football at Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa State, Kueter committed to the hometown Hawkeyes, who offered him the opportunity to play linebacker and wrestle. 

Kueter juggled both sports throughout his freshman year at Iowa. He redshirted last year with the Hawkeye football team and wrestled in four matches this past season at Iowa. 

All three of Iowa’s starting linebackers — all-Big Ten picks Jay Higgins and Nick Jackson and Kyler Fisher — opted to use their final season of eligibility and returned to the Hawkeyes, likely relegating younger linebackers like Kueter to a special teams role this fall. 

Despite not joining the wrestling team until January, Kueter went 3-1 last season. His lone loss came against eventual NCAA champ Greg Kerkvliet of Penn State. He also notched a win against then-#11 Konner Doucet of Oklahoma State.