Senior Spotlight, Ben Monroe, Ankeny Centennial

By G. Wyatt Schultz for The Predicament

Do you have any family members who wrestled before you? How did they do?

Yes, I had a couple family members wrestle before me. My dad got sixth at state in high school and then wrestled at Waldorf. My uncle also wrestled in high school. My cousin Lincoln Monroe wrestled at Valley of Elgin and got third and sixth at state and went on to wrestle at Upper Iowa.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?

I did not catch on to wrestling quickly. I remember countless times at High Altitude wrestling club in 3rd-5th grade (I started in second grade) where I wouldn't score a point for an entire practice. Needless to say, it took a lot of work to get where I am now. However, I have so much more work to do in the future.

Did you wrestle in a club growing up, and if you did, how would you describe your experience with the club?

I wrestled at High Altitude Wrestling Club as a kid and I still go now. My experience there has been great as coach Tunink was the only one who would take me in as a chubby little kid. He developed my technique and continues to this day to help me improve who I am as a wrestler and a person. I couldn't ask for a better club. I also trained at Ankeny Wrestling Club, that helped me develop bonds with all of the Ankeny kids regardless of school. I got so much better at wrestling and had so much fun with Topher Ewing and Mitch Mueller there.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?

Growing up, my wrestling heroes were Kyven Gadson, John Smith, Cael Sanderson, and Brent Metcalf.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the high school level?

At the high school level, I have gotten second place in class 3A at 106, 120, and 132 and am doing everything I can to finally climb that last step.

What is it like walking in the Grand March at the State Tournament?

It is amazing, the atmosphere in Wells Fargo Arena is second to none. The amount of support for wrestling in Iowa is like no other!

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making improvements?

I have noticed myself jumping levels and making strides in my wrestling every year, particularly in the off-season where I can out-work everyone else to get where I want to be.

Who were some of your toughest competitors in HS?

I have had so many tough competitors in high school, but my toughest competitor is myself. This last year I have gained lots of insight into who I am as a person and how I deal with adversity.

What is you favorite style of wrestling, Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco-Roman and why?

My favorite styles of wrestling have to be a tie between folkstyle and freestyle. I think freestyle is so much fun but I'm still getting the hang of it, and folkstyle is always a grind.

What are your wrestling goals for the upcoming high school season?

My goals for this season are to be a 2020 Class 3A Iowa High School State Champion, and to enjoy my last year in high school and spend time with my teammates one last year.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?

I would compare my wrestling style to Brent Metcalf because he is a grinder and likes to break people. I have a lot of work to do to develop a style of my own as I like to be offensive.

Do you have any regrets involving wrestling that you want to make up as a senior?

Though last year was disappointing, I wouldn't trade the outcome for anything. The loss I took in the finals taught me a lot about myself, and the lessons I learned all serve a bigger purpose.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?

I used to play football through 7th grade and that was so much fun because I loved to hit kids. However, I opted to go out for cross country in 8th grade because I was a little small for as large of a school I went to and wanted to focus on wrestling. My freshman year, I only focused on wrestling.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling? And what is a favorite memory?

My favorite hobbies outside of wrestling include watching movies, eating ice cream, and spending time with family and friends.

What is some of the best advice you ever received, and who gave you that advice?

The best piece of advice I have ever received came from Chad Tunink, the coach of High Altitude Wrestling Club. He tells me to "Get Tough" when I am not doing something to my potential. "Get Tough" applies to so much in life as sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and do what needs to be done, so I find myself telling myself that multiple times a day.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?

For up and coming wrestlers, I would tell them not to worry about winning and losing, but to enjoy the journey they are on and to continue to work hard.

What are your college plans?

I plan to attend Iowa State University to attend school and wrestle. It is the best place for me to achieve my goals.

Ankeny Centennial finished fourth last season and isn't very old but has already made an impact, what is the future outlook for Ankeny Centennial wrestling?

The future for Ankeny Centennial Wrestling is bright. Coach Groth does an unbelievable job at creating a culture that embraces hard work and fun. With him at the helm along with some of our assistant coaches, I would never count the Jaguars out! Better watch out for Lucas and Isaac Bruhl in the future too, those kids are TOUGH!!!