MUSCATINE, Iowa—Muscatine High School’s wrestling team had their most successful state tournament trip this year since 2010. Along with great success on the mat, the state tournament offered a unique opportunity for Muskie wrestler Togeh (TD) Deseh, who both wrestled and participated in his naturalization ceremony to become a United States citizen on Feb. 20.
This season, Muscatine had four state qualifiers, senior Cedric Castillo, sophomore Mason Crabtree, junior TD, and junior Tim Nimely. Both TD and Tim advanced to the second day of competition on Feb. 20. Each put up a good showing. “I’m proud of Tim, TD, Cedrick, and Mason,” shared their coach, Joseph Kane. “They all competed with heart and gave it their full effort.”
In his first match, TD went into triple overtime against his opponent from Norwalk. He lost by 5-3, with his challenger scoring a reversal in the last two seconds of the match. A pin in the wrestleback from his opponent from Western Dubuque eventually eliminated TD from the tournament, but not before he scored an impressive take down.
In his second visit to the state tournament, Tim won his first match of the second round, defeating the top ranked wrestler and 2019 state runner-up from Ankeny, eliminating him from the tournament. In his next match, Tim again defeated and eliminated his opponent, a wrestler from Southeast Polk who eliminated him from the 2019 state tournament. After losing his first match in the consolation semifinals on Feb. 22, Tim went on to defeat his opponent from Bettendorf, making him the first Muskie wrestler to win a medal match in ten years.
Following his win, Tim felt good about his success but looked forward to placing even higher next year. “Fifth in the state is pretty good, but, I’m not the top dog yet,” he said: “I want to be in the finals next year. I’m going to do some freestyle and things I’m not as comfortable with (in the off season), focus more on the sport of wrestling, and build my knowledge and get more experience.”
In addition to the excitement of getting to go to the state tournament, TD’s trip to Des Moines had even more meaning for him. While there, he participated in his naturalization ceremony along with his mother, father, brothers, and sponsors Alissa and Drew Burkamper. Because of the timing of his matches on Friday, TD’s citizenship ceremony took place very close to when he competed, but careful coordination from the Iowa High School Athletics Association (IHSSA) made sure he could participate fully in both events. Kane elaborated that the IHSSA Communications Director personally drove TD from his ceremony to the Wells Fargo Arena and that his coaches had his gear waiting for him so that he could wrestle right away.
A unique situation, TD shared he felt a little anxious about both events but enjoyed the experience overall. “I was nervous. It was nerve racking with all those other people. It was an emotional day.”