REMEMBER THE WRESTLER: Cody Kingery; Underwood HS ‘15/UN-Kearney/Iowa Western CC/Golden Eagles Wrestling Club/Little Eagles Wrestling Club
I hadn’t met Cody Kingery personally until a few weeks ago via pm’s, for he is from Southwest Iowa and I am a Southeast Iowan, so we weren’t at a ton of the same competitive events. However, I have been quite aware of how talented he and his brother Caleb were on the mat for a long time. He used to be mentioned all the time as a great wrestler by fans on the youth wrestling forums and that continued all the way through his HS tenure. We would see him sometimes at bigger events and when we had a guy who had to meet up with him, we knew we were in for an absolute battle with him. Didn’t matter how good our guys were. One in particular that I remember was Steven Holloway. Steven was a 3X finalist/2X State Champion from Mepo and when he was on the youth scene, he put together a couple seasons that seemed like they were borderline flawless. It just seemed like with Steven, if he ran into the rare opponent that he didn’t pin or tech, we would be scampering to see who it was, for they were really good if they were going with Steven like that. Steven used to destroy everyone, easily. This wasn’t the case when Cody and Steven met up, though. There was a phase where Cody gave Steven a couple of his best/closest in-state matches that he’d have all season. The kid was really, reallly good and fun to watch as most Underwood guys are, for he was always on the attack.
Cody impressed me so much as a youth wrestler that I just kind of assumed that he would be a state champion when he hit HS. And in his first couple-few years after reading his name in the postseason results, my line of thinking was something along the lines of “that kid’s time is coming.” Like when he placed 8th and 3rd as a Sophomore and Junior, I remember briefly thinking, “no worries there, that kid will put it together as a Senior.” It was like a foregone conclusion to me, which is an admittedly silly line of thinking for wrestling, for as we all know, anything can happen in wrestling. However, with all that in mind, one thing I remember clear as day with Cody was how bad I felt for him when he lost his finals match in a close one vs. Kegan Fingalsen of Central Springs as a Senior in HS. Cody was one of these guys that was so good that I couldn’t wrap my head around not being a state champion in HS and I’m pretty sure he felt the same way. The match went down right in front of me and I didn’t know him personally at all at the time, but I could just tell that he was devastated after the match. I mean, that’s a loaded thing to say, for everyone is devastated when they don’t win in the state finals, but something about Cody’s reaction that prompted me to empathize more than usual…Something about it hit home and I admit, it made me sad for whatever reason. My family/friends have been in those shoes several times. Not to mention, the match itself was a heartbreaker for him… He lost 4-0 and this match was 0-0 to begin the 2nd period. There was a point in the 2nd period where Cody was EXTREMELY close to securing a TD to take the lead, but Kingalsen fought hard and it wasn’t awarded. It was a great scramble by both guys. The turning point of the match came when Kingalsen was up 1-0 and scored a 2 point TD with like 3 seconds left in the 2nd period, putting him up 3-0 which totally changed the tempo of the match, for it put Cody in a situation where he had to go into “fight back” mode to start the 3rd period opposed to trailing only 1-0. It was a great display of wrestling by both guys and absolutely nothing for Cody to hang his head about, but the kid, IMO was absolutely good enough to be on top of that podium and if those two met 10 times, who knows… maybe he would win some of them, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be and with guys like Cody, a more legit reflection of his toughness and perseverance would be how he responded to it, in which after reading about how he did AFTER HS, it makes me feel good that he had some nice moments of redemption at the collegiate level and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Kid was the real deal. Cody was nice enough to fill us all in on that!
2013 1A 145
1st Place – Evan Hansen of Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton 47-1, So
2nd Place – Caleb Wedeking of North Butler, Greene 44-8, So
3rd Place – Cody Marks of Nashua-Plainfield 49-3, Sr
4th Place – Jake Mize of Woodbury Central, Moville 54-6, Sr
5th Place – Tucker Black of Eddyville-Blakes-Fre 44-6, Jr.
6th Place – Casey Pence of West Branch 44-7, Jr
7th Place – Ryan Joint of West Central Valley, Stuart 48-3, Sr
8th Place – Cody Kingery of Underwood 39-7, So
2014 1A 152
1st Place – Tucker Black of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 44-3, Sr.
2nd Place – Noah Irons of Lake Mills 48-1, Sr
3rd Place – Cody Kingery of Underwood 56-4, Jr
4th Place – Jacob Hoch of Southeast Warren, Liberty Center 50-8, Jr.
5th Place – Cody Nelson of North Butler, Greene 37-6, Sr.
6th Place – Tyler Donovan of West Branch 41-6, Sr.
7th Place – Gable Verschoor of Woodbury Central, Moville 45-14, Jr.
8th Place – Austin Lentz of Ogden 34-9, So.
2015 1A 160
1st Place – Kegen Fingalsen of Central Springs 56-0, Sr.
2nd Place – Cody Kingery of Underwood 31-3, Sr.
3rd Place – Caleb Wedeking of North Butler, Greene 49-5, Sr.
4th Place – Jacob Hoch of Southeast Warren, Liberty Center 57-4, Sr.
5th Place – Joey Schwenn of Belle Plaine 43-9, So.
6th Place – Logan Peed of South Central Calhoun 48-8, Sr.
7th Place – Sal Arzani of Interstate 35, Truro 34-9, Jr.
8th Place – Nate Van Buren of H-L-V, Victor 40-12, Jr.
Meet Cody Kingery, one of MANY hammers to come from a consistently brilliant Underwood HS wrestling program!
PINDOX: What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
CODY KINGERY: I wrestled for the Little Eagles, and Golden Eagles wrestling club growing up. Moved on to wrestle for Underwood High School where I had a pretty successful high school career. Got recruited outta high school to wrestle at Nebraska-Kearney, did one year and came back and wrestled at Iowa Western Community College where I was a two time national qualifier and a third place all American. A shoulder injury kinda ended my wrestling career for me.
PINDOX: What year did you graduate?
CODY KINGERY: I graduated in 2015.
PINDOX: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
CODY KINGERY: My dad introduced me into wrestling when I was about 5 or 6 and I was fortunate enough to have a lot of dad’s who helped with the wrestling program in my home town influencing myself and others to be great wrestlers.
PINDOX: Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
CODY KINGERY: My grandpa Larry Kingery wrestled for Iowa School For The Deaf. My dad, Ryan Kingery wrestled for Underwood High School. My brother Caleb Kingery wrestled for Lewis Central and qualified for state 3 years out of his 4 years of high school along with many other accomplishments.
PINDOX: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
CODY KINGERY: In youth, I placed at AAU state every year except my 8th grade year because I was out all season with a wrist injury. I was a USA State Champ, along with triple crown winner for also getting first at freestyle and Greco state. I got second at Tulsa Nationals. I placed 3rd at USA nationals. I didn’t really have any rivals, just great opponents such as Chase Shiltz, Steven Holloway, Brett Leshen, Javon Perkins, Evan Hansen, Jason Wallace, and Avery Nelson are all names that come to mind when I think of youth wrestling.
PINDOX: What was your record in HS?
CODY KINGERY: I think my record ended up being 179-16 or something like that.
PINDOX: How did you place at state every year?
CODY KINGERY: Freshman year at 138 I just qualified. Sophomore year at 145 I got 8th. Junior year at 152 I got 3rd. Senior year at 160 I got second.
PINDOX: What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
CODY KINGERY: Honestly I think some minor injuries and my mentality with things were some of the challenges I faced and having a lot of positive talk from coaches and the drive to want to succeed to make them proud and my family proud was really what helped me over come it. I didn’t have natural born wrestling talent, I had strength and I had a hard work ethic and I had to work hard to be good and I would push myself that extra mile.
PINDOX: How would you describe your wrestling style?
CODY KINGERY: I was very physical, get in your face and snap your head down. I kinda moved away from that as I got older and would post on guys and go off their post or reactions but I was still physical and would try to beat on the guy and make him never want to have to wrestle me again. I was a hammer on top. I’d get a chicken wing and it was over. Always remember coaches yelling, “Watch the wing!!” That didn’t help.
PINDOX: How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
CODY KINGERY: I really can only think of my sophomore year, Ryan Joint. I don’t think I beat him but I can really close a few times it was always one or two points. He just had a weird funky style I couldn’t figure out.
PINDOX: Who was your most influential coach?
CODY KINGERY: I had many influential coaches from youth on up through college. I was probably the most difficult to be coached so luckily I had some special coaches like Jeff Foutch in Little Eagles, Keith Massey in Golden Eagles, Delon Naig, Mark Lander, Jake Head, Jay Collins, Joe Stephens, all at Underwood High School. My Dad spent all my youth years always matside coaching me and always making sure I never took short cuts in my training. He pushed me the most and wanted me to be successful. Josh Watts, Kevin Olson, and Mitch Houghton were some influential coach’s in my college years. Joe Stephens was a great high school coach and still is. He knows how to run things, and he knows how to push you to your maximum potential.
Coach Josh Watts at Iowa Western is a great college coach and will always go to war for you. The way he would train us to be competition ready was great! And he’s only improved on it sense I was in college!
PINDOX: Was your team competitive in HS/college?
CODY KINGERY: Of course! We were wrestlers! Always ready to compete and always ready to win. It was a brotherhood, or even a battle team ready to go to war and come back with our shields or on them. My freshman year our high school team at Underwood was a power house. We had a season of 61 dual wins and one loss. We made a run to the finals at team dual state and I wouldn’t say we lost but had it stripped from us because of a lousy call from the refs. We don’t hang onto it, but it hurt.
PINDOX: Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
CODY KINGERY: Scott Hazen, great wrestler that came out of Underwood. I always looked up to him growing up. I even remember when he was wrestling at UNI he showed up at my house and gave me a UNI shirt.
PINDOX: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
CODY KINGERY: There’s too many and I’m not biased at all. Anyone can be beaten on any given day. I knew a lot of great Iowa HS wrestlers who I still consider friends today!
PINDOX: Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?
CODY KINGERY: Can’t really say there are any I would compare my style to. I had my own unique style.
PINDOX: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?
CODY KINGERY: Not too sure honestly it’s been too long for me to think about that.
PINDOX: Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
CODY KINGERY: This is a long list of guys, but I’d have to say a lot of the guys were guys I spent growing up with going to practice with at Golden Eagles, and also a lot of the guys who wrestled on team Iowa at Fargo over the summer who I’d train with.
PINDOX: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
CODY KINGERY: Alex Marinelli, and Michael Kemerer are my two top favorite wrestlers right now.
PINDOX: What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
CODY KINGERY: I’d listen to Classic Rock and Rap when I was warming up, but during practice we would listen to some Biggie Smalls, NWA and Johnny Cash!
PINDOX: What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
CODY KINGERY: The most upset I ever was after a loss, was after the finals my senior year. I had worked so hard and it was my dream and I came up short. It didn’t feel like reality at first because I was so determined. I came to terms with it and still felt accomplished getting second at state.
PINDOX: If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
CODY KINGERY: Well I’m sure if you asked any wrestler they would say they wish they could go back in time with the knowledge and skill they have now because you’d be a different animal. I wouldn’t really change anything about my career though. I wish I finished out college but you can’t prevent injuries in a technical sport.
PINDOX: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
CODY KINGERY: My best memory was probably when it came down to the wire in a dual at western Iowa conference and we were close in team scores and it was up to me to seal the deal. I was just a freshman going to wrestle a junior or senior so I was nervous but I went out and ended up pinning the guy and the whole crowd erupted! It was awesome! Best feeling a freshman could get. That’s just one of many great experiences on the sport.
PINDOX: Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
CODY KINGERY: In high school: Ryan Joint, and Sal Arzani are some guys I really remember being handfuls on the mat.
In college it’s really hard to say because you never really wrestled the same guy, I was always wrestling someone new.
PINDOX: Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
CODY KINGERY: I wrestled year round when I discovered Freestyle and Greco and I didn’t really take it too seriously, I only did it to stay on the mat and work on different wrestling techniques. I qualified for Fargo and competed at nationals but that was all for the experience of just being there for me.
PINDOX: How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
CODY KINGERY: Honestly, weight classes were stacked in my day with a lot of big names and a lot of big upsets would happen at the state tournament. I feel like the guys today are more flashy and technical where as back in my day the guys were physical and mean and would try to rip your head off. I just feel like the state tournament isn’t the same especially with it being seeded. It made it more fun when it wasn’t.
PINDOX: Did you wrestle after high school?
CODY KINGERY: Yes I wrestled for about 3 years in college. It wasn’t a full 4 because at JUCO Nationals I messed my shoulder up pretty bad in the second round but I continued to wrestled and ended up getting third. I had to have surgery on my ac joint about 3 months after.
PINDOX: What other sports did you play?
CODY KINGERY: I ran cross country my freshman year and I played football my sophomore and junior year. My main focus was always wrestling.
PINDOX: What are your favorite sports teams?
CODY KINGERY: My favorite sports teams are Hawkeye football and wrestling!
PINDOX: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
CODY KINGERY: I like to go fishing, boating, lift weights, and hang out with friends and family.
PINDOX: How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
CODY KINGERY: It’s honestly a great feeling. It’s a humble feeling. Younger wrestlers look up to you just knowing the fact you were successful and that you wrestled in college. I’d love to own my own wrestling club someday or maybe even coach high school.
PINDOX: How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
CODY KINGERY: It has shown me how to overcome hardships, have a tough work ethic and to always stay humble, never too cocky. Can’t thank wrestling enough for shaping me into the man I am today.
PINDOX: What do you do now?
CODY KINGERY: I live in Connecticut, I am in the electrical union as an apprentice taking classes and also for the time being I am working at a tile store where we deal with tiles that get imported from Spain and Italy.
PINDOX: Are you still involved with wrestling?
CODY KINGERY: Currently I am not but I’m trying to find somewhere I can get involved or maybe take up MMA to do a few fights and see if I can still compete.
PINDOX: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
CODY KINGERY: My advice to upcoming wrestlers would be, always work hard and push yourself past your comfort zone. Never settle for just good enough. Never worry about winning or losing just go out and wrestle, leave it all on the mat. And always, always stay humble. Never give into the popularity of things.
PINDOX: Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
CODY KINGERY: That would be funny if I did one when I’m in my 30s, but I don’t think so. I’d really have to be bribed to do one of those.
PINDOX: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
CODY KINGERY: Shout out to all the great coaches who were involved in my success and all the dads who always traveled around with us taking us to tough ass tournaments and finding good competition!
PINDOX: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
CODY KINGERY: This is probably on funny to the people who were involved and who witnessed, but at State Wrestling in 2015, Alex Thomsen and I, (my senior year, his freshman year) decided to bring our CO2 powered air soft guns and torment our coach Mark Lander with them at the hotel. Mark had some pretty good sized welts, but Alex got worked over for it and I got away with it! Lol, great times!