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PINDOX PROFILE: Mickey Griffith; DM Lincoln ‘22/Ubasa Wrestling Club/Iowa Hawkeyes (committed)

Mickey Griffith from Des Moines Lincoln. Talk about a kid who is making some rapid improvement in recent times. Way back in the day, Griffith used to be the type of kid who would qualify for AAU State, but usually get eliminated. Heck, when he was a 7th grader, he actually fell short of qualifying. I would say he made his first big “splash” when he was an 8th grader. He placed 3rd at AAU State that year as well as 4th at Grade School State and 2nd at Christmas Nationals.

Mickey’s HC at Lincoln is Dustin Roland. Roland, a 2X D3 AA for Central College is doing a great job with Mickey. I remember doing rankings for 3A in 2019 and Roland giving me a heads up to follow his talented Freshman, Mickey Griffith. He was at an upper-middle weight, a tough weight range for a Freshman, but in time, he was going to be outstanding. Dustin was right about that, and holy cow, it didn’t take long. Mickey did not qualify for state as a Freshman, and to be fair, not many Freshman 152 lbers do, but he came out with a bang the next year by starting things off winning the huge Indee Cliff Keen Classic and finishing off the season by winning state at 3A 170. He was a Sophomore 3A 170 state champ…pretty impressive. He only took two losses that year, both to the same guy, Logan Neils from Ankeny Centennial.

In 2021, he continued his reign of terror all the way until districts, where he was beaten in OT by Caleb Helgeson. This match was a rematch from earlier where Mickey won 9-2 and a preview for the state finals the next week. When they met in the finals, Helgeson won another close match.

After the season, Griffith placed 2nd at Folkstyle Nationals, another great accomplishment.

If this kid continues to improve at the rate that he has the past couple-few years then he will be scary good.

Recently, Mickey committed to wrestle collegiately for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He’s made comments in interviews about being a fan of the Hawkeyes in the past, so this is a dream come true for a great wrestler who is also, in turn a great pickup for the Hawks!

 

2020 3A-170

1st Place – Mickey Griffith of Des Moines – Lincoln

2nd Place – Ryan Plummer of Linn-Mar – Marion

3rd Place – Ashton Barker of IC West

4th Place – McCrae Hagarty of Waverly-Shell Rock

5th Place – Tim Nimely of Muscatine

6th Place – Bradley Hill of Bettendorf

7th Place – Zachary Campbell of North Scott – Eldridge

8th Place – Deveyon Montgomery of Southeast Polk

 

2021 3A-170

1st Place – Caleb Helgeson of Johnston

2nd Place – Mickey Griffith of Des Moines Lincoln

3rd Place – Ashton Barker of Iowa City, West

4th Place – Timothy Nimely of Muscatine

5th Place – Ivan Thomas of Xavier, Cedar Rapids

6th Place – Andrew Reed of Southeast Polk

7th Place – Trevor Summers of Ottumwa

8th Place – Tristen Duncan of Norwalk

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PINDOX PROFILE: Darren Coppock; CB Abraham Lincoln ‘92

PINDOX PROFILE: Darren Coppock; CB Abraham Lincoln ‘92

In 1990, Darren Coppock of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln strolled into state wrestling as a Sophomore at 3A 103 with a nice record of 33-1-1. He made it to the semifinals where he was stopped by Jeff McGinness of IC High. No biggie, that happened to 100% of the wrestlers Jeff McGinness faced in HS, for he was a 4X undefeated state champion and national champion for the Hawkeyes. Coppock bounced back and placed 3rd. And from there he never lost another match again.

As a Junior at 3A 103, Coppock came in with a record of 32-0 and won a bracket that had AT LEAST 2 other state champions in it, including Eric Keller (Indianola) and Jeff Bellows (Lewis Central). He defeated Jeff Bellows in the finals by a score of 9-5 and became CB Abe Lincoln’s 4th ever state wrestling champion and their first to do it since Tim Taylor did it in 1970.

As a Senior at 3A 112, Coppock came in with a spotless 36-0 record and won yet another deep bracket, this one included future state champions, Jeff Bellows (Lewis Central) and Freshman Wil Kelly (Wahlert) who would go on to win 3 championships of his own the following years. This made Coppock the first and only 2X state champion in program history for CB Abraham Lincoln.

If Coppock had not been faced with generational talent, Jeff McGinness in the semis as a Freshman, who knows… he could have won 3 titles!?!

 

1990 3A 103

1 Jeff McGinness, Fr., Iowa City High

2 Luke Swarbrick, Sr., Cedar Falls

3 Darren Coppock, So., Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln

4 Brandon Rodriquez, Jr., Davenport West

5 Shane Faltys, So., Sioux City North

6 Eric Gilge, Sr., Des Moines Hoover


1991 3A 103

1. Darren Coppock, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln

2. Jeff Bellows, Council Bluffs Lewis Central

3. Zach Geary, Cedar Falls

4. Jason Derry, West Des Moines Dowling

5. Eric Baker, Cedar Rapids Jefferson

6. Eric Keller, Indianola


1992 3A 112

1 Darren Coppock, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln

2 Jeff Bellows, Council Bluffs Lewis Central

3 Jason Derry, West Des Moines Dowling

4 Shane Faltys, Sioux City North

5 Alonzo Henderson, Waterloo East

6 Matt Rial, Fort Dodge

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PINDOX PROFILE: Col. Nathan Fulk; New London HS/US Marine Corps/Iowa State Patrol

So a few days ago, I posted a 1992 New London Wrestling team photo, and someone pointed out how phenomenal someone on that team has done in his career. Nathan Fulk (which if you look at the team photo, is on the far left in the front row), is now Colonel Fulk, for on February 22nd, 1999, Nathan was sworn in as the Iowa State Patrol’s 17th Chief. In other words, Nathan Fulk is now the leader of the Iowa State Patrol. Pretty wild.

Nathan wrestled for New London and was very close to making it to state and was expected to, but was beaten out by a guy who ended up placing at state. Nathan had beaten this guy 2 times during the regular season, but it just was not meant to be. Nathan was the Southeast Iowa Super Conference champion as a Senior. His younger brother, Jeremy Fulk placed 3rd at 1A 130 in 1997. The New London HS annual wrestling tournament is now named after Jeremy, for tragically, in 2000, Jeremy was killed in a training accident while enlisted in the Marine Corps. The Fulk brothers had a combined career record of 217-68-1. Jeremy was 125-35 and Nathan was 92-34-1.

Nathan was also very good at football and baseball. Nathan’s son, Weston is a great football and baseball player who was a crucial part of Ankeny HS’s 2020 state championship football team. He played wide receiver for them. 

After HS, Nathan immediately joined the US Marine Corps and was there until 1996. In 1997, Nathan joined the Iowa State Patrol. He was promoted to sergeant in 2008 and lieutenant in 2013. He served as the bureau chief for the department’s Professional Development Bureau and as camp commander of the Department of Public Safety’s Basic Academy, during which time he trained 185 troopers. Prior to his most recent promotion, he was an area captain in central Iowa.

This is a quote he told The Hawkeye in regards to how he felt after being appointed Iowa State Patrol Chief:

“I was excited, because leadership is about inspiration and influence, and my goal is to inspire and influence people to do more work to support one another and really make a difference in the state of Iowa, so I was surprised but yet very humbled.”

-Col. Nathan Fulk, Iowa State Patrol Chief

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Wrestlers Who Fish: Greg Vance; Dubuque Wahlert ‘12/Loras College

So did you know that one of the state of Iowa’s best and most accomplished young bass fishermen was a wrestler? Wait til’ you see some of the accolades he’s put up in his fishing career.

Greg Vance was a 3X state qualifier for Dubuque Wahlert who graduated in 2012. His head coach, Joe Kane is my personal best friend, so I always kept up with how he was doing and watched him when I could. A scrappy, fierce competitor, for sure! He placed 5th at state as a Junior in 2011 at 2A 126. He qualified for state as a Senior again, but was eliminated that year. He ran into some stronger than usual competition at state that year. I mean, when future D1 champion Drew Foster (UNI) is the one who beats you out, that’s a stronger than usual draw.


Greg spent some time wrestling at Loras College after HS.

Greg is currently a Bassmaster Opens Pro. Check out his bass fishing accolades:


2016 Bassmaster Classic Qualifier

3x Iowa Bass Nation State Champ

2x Bassmaster National Qualifier

6x Bassmaster Regional Qualifier

Cabelas 10K champion


Heck yeah, keep it up. Greg!

NOTE: Greg has his own professional fisherman Facebook fan page, so if you are into bass fishing and would like to follow his career, search “Greg Vance Fishing” on Facebook and “like” or “follow” his page! He’s caught some monsters!!!

 

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PINDOX PROFILE/Wrestlers Who Fish: Brady Brott; Clarion-Goldfield-Dows/Team Valley/Iowa Lakes Community College


Brady Brott… The short story on him in terms of his wrestling career is that he was a guy who was below average at times at the youth level, but by the time he his Junior year in HS, he was one of the best at his weight. He placed 4th at state as a Junior and 2nd at state as a Senior, losing his finals match by only 1 point…

So before I get too far into this, gotta stay true to the series this falls in, which is “Wrestlers Who Fish!” With that said, check out some of the nice Northern Park he has reeled in over the years!!!

Back to the mat. Brady made steady, consistent gains with his coaches at Team Valley and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows. I didn’t see much of Brott until State his Senior year and admittedly never saw him wrestle except for maybe once… so I got comments from Brady’s primary wrestling coach throughout his career, Dr. Dan Gabrielson as well as one of his teammates, Justin Portillo.

COACH DR. DAN GABRIELSON: He struggled for a bit as a little kid wrestler, but was the hardest worker you will ever see.  The kid got so strong, so ornery, never missed a club practice and was so close to winning the state title as a Senior. He lost a 2 to 1 match in the finals.

JUSTIN PORTILLO:  Brady was notorious for giving up the first takedown, then hitting some whacky reversal for a pin. I remember joking that he gave up the first takedown he’d pin him every time!  We were on a really, really good team our senior year, 2016.  I’m pretty sure he beat me for pins on the team my senior year, not happy about that, lol.  We had just moved up to 2A, and the team was looking to prove a lot.  Brott ran a gauntlet to make the finals that year and was super close to being a state champion.  It would have been one year after fellow Clarion teammate Joel Haberman came out of nowhere to win a state title his senior year.  In the dual state finals against Assumption, we were down by about 5 points and our very last wrestler up was Brady Brott.  As intense as it was, a lot of us were hopeful.  If there was anyone on our team who could get a pin when we needed it, Brott was the guy.  He put the team on his back and ended up losing the match, simply because he was going for a pin the entire time.  A lot of our seniors went out as heroes (despite losing) in our final dual together, where unsung heroes Lucas Lienemann and Calen Rosenbaum both got pins, sandwiched between me and my bro getting dominant wins to close out our dual careers for the Cowboys.  We didn’t get the title, but we darn-near became 3x state dual team champions after bumping up a division.  Brott was a huge cog in that machine.. but Brady was also known for losing funny, inconsistent matches during the season.  He’d hang with a state placer, but then drop one to a guy who had a losing record.  Because of that, we really didn’t know what we would get at the state tournament, but he wrestled lights out and became a state finalist.

Brady went on to wrestle at Iowa Lakes Community College.

 

2015 1A 145

1 Blake Meyer of Sumner.

2 Conner Shulista of Alburnett

3 Nathan Fritz of Sigourney

4 Brady Brott of  CGD

5 Brad Kerkhoff of Audubon

6 Alex Yedlik of Lone Tree

7 Drew Anderson of Westwood, Sloan

8 Garrett Sayler of S-O

 

 

2016 2A 145

1 Bryce Leshen, Albia

2 Brady Brott, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows

3 Mason Buster, Mediapolis

4 Max Forsyth, Charles City

5 Pierce Gelhaus, Forest City

6 Trae Pecinovsky, Crestwood

7 Nick Hyland, Vinton-Shells.

8 Cole Fritz, Solon

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PINDOX PROFILE: Jeff Knutson, Cresco-Crestwood ‘82

PINDOX PROFILE: Jeff Knutson, Cresco-Crestwood ‘82

Talk about a guy who brought the heat when the stakes were high! Not too many better examples of this than Jeff Knutson, a 1982 graduate of Cresco-Crestwood.

Jeff Knutson was a 2X state placer/1X State Champion who did his damage at The Barn as a Junior in 1981 and most notably as a Senior in 1982. In 1981, Knutson qualified for state at 3A Super HWT with a modest record of 14-9. Knutson apparently did not receive any sort of memo that implied that regular season records meant anything during the State Tournament, for he defeated Andy Buckles of Newton who had a 15-2 record first round and followed this with a quarterfinals win over Andy Logel of Muscatine. He lost his semifinal match vs. Terry Rolfs of Oelwein, but bounced back by winning his consolation semifinals match before dropping his 3rd and 4th place match to place 4th. A great showing for a Junior at an upperweight!

As a Senior, Jeff was in a LOADED bracket for a weight that is generally occupied by Seniors. Out of the 16 guys in his bracket that year, 8 of them including himself were returning state qualifiers. 3 of them including himself were returning placers and Jeff had to get through both of the other two to win state that year. In fact, everyone he wrestled from the quarterfinals on was at the least a returning state qualifier. In the quarterfinals, he beat Rick Kiel of Maquoketa who was a 2X returning state qualifier. After beating Kiel, he faced returning 6th place finisher, Todd Kesterson to reach the finals vs. Larry Kerr of Washington who placed 6th as a Sophomore in 1980 and 2nd the year before as a Junior. On paper, it appeared that Kerr was likely considered the favorite, but Knutson put a wrench into that assumption… Knutson won his finals match in dominant fashion, scoring a TD and nearfall in the first period and coming very close to recording the fall. He continued to tack on the points and ultimately won his finals match 8-0, securing his place in history for one of the all-time historic wrestling programs in Iowa HS wrestling history. His reaction to his finals win reflected his excitement, for he gave the Cresco fans a “fist pump and point” after securing the victory and was still so excited when he was on the awards stand that he gave them a similar salute again after getting the gold medal put around his neck. It was pretty cool.

Jeff was one of 2 state champions for Cresco-Crestwood that year, with Chuck Martens being the other.


Both of Jeff’s sons, Jared and Jacob, competed for Crestwood. Jacob was a two-time State Qualifier.

As recent as 2019, Knutson, along with Tony Throndson, is one of the two “voices” of Cresco-Crestwood wrestling on the radio. Jeff and Tony announce Cresco-Crestwood wrestling events that are broadcasted on KCZQ Radio, where by all accounts, he has done a great job with this.


Here is a cool quote that Jeff told the Cresco Times a couple years ago in regards to how wrestling has impacted him:

“An aspect I really like about wrestling is the way it brings people together. When I wrestled at Crestwood, I felt a strong bond with my teammates, especially after the intense workouts. For me, the wrestling bond was like a family bond.”

-JEFF KNUTSON; CRESCO-CRESTWOOD ‘82

1981 3A Super Heavyweight

    1. Mark Sindlinger, So., Charles City

    2. Terry Rolfs, Sr., Oelwein

    3. Jim Kisner, Jr., Bettendorf

    4. Jeff Knutson, Jr., Cresco-Crestwood

    5. Tom Fye, Sr., Cedar Rapids Jefferson

    6. Bryan Frei, Sr., Iowa City High


1982 2A Super Heavyweight

1. Jeff Knutson, Sr.,

Cresco-Crestwood

2. Larry Kerr, Sr., Washington

3. Scott Brandt, Sr., Clear Lake

4. Todd Kesterson, Sr., Tiffin-Clear Creek

5. Jeff Webb, Sr., Osceola

6. Rick Kiel, Sr., Maquoketa

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Aiden Riggins; Waverly-Shell Rock ‘22/Sebolt Wrestling Academy


EDIT: I wrote the original version of it this in June ‘21. So, along with fixing a bunch of typos 🤦‍♂️, a lot has happened with Aiden these past couple months. As of 10/9/21, Aiden Riggins has verbally committed to The Iowa Hawkeyes!

Aiden Riggins… This kid is blossoming into one of the nation’s best wrestlers at his weight…yes, the nation. And I have good reason(s) to think that.

There was a lot of hype about Riggins coming into HS. He and Carter Fousek of Crestwood were the ones in that grade I seemed to hear about the most before they got into HS. The kid went from being a perennial state placer until he hit 6th grade… and then he won 3 state titles from 6th-8th grade to close out his youth career. He got into HS and a lot of people firmly believed that no one would come close to beating him at the HS level, but he did take a couple losses. He split with Fousek in two heavily anticipated matches and was defeated by Trever Anderson from Ankeny in the semis at state. He then fought back for 3rd… He’s probably the biggest 106 lber I’ve ever seen. Pretty sure he hit a growth spurt during the season and by the end of the year, it appeared as if it was taking everything out of him just to make weight. And bumping up wasn’t an option, for his teammate and future state champion, Bailey Roybal occupied that spot all year. He looked like he was just hurting bad. But he got through it. And it surprised no one when he grew all the way to 132 for the next season and still appeared nowhere close to being done growing. He took a few losses that year. One to Robert Avila from Lisbon in a close match, one to a Shakopee kid and one in the state finals to Hunter Garvin from IC West.

This 2020-21 season was Aiden’s Junior season and he brought things from an immensely high level to an even higher one this year… I mean, he was just incredible last year. He appeared strong out there compared to the first two years. He defeated several state champions over the course of the season including Joel Jesuroga from SE Polk, Graham Gambrall from IC West, Caleb Rathjen from Ankeny, etc. He defeated nationally ranked future Hawkeye, Rathjen in the state finals, which is a huge win, for Rathjen is one of the most intelligent wrestlers you’ll ever see. He’s the real deal. And along with the state champs, he defeated several other state finalists, placers, etc. and generally won big. He finished his Junior season as an undefeated state champion. Made a statement in doing so.

Riggins went on to have a great summer, placing 2nd at Fargo Freestyle Nationals, securing his spot as a blue chip recruit in the process.

So without going into too much detail, there’s a person I know very well personally who has been training with a lot of the nation’s elites at various camps. Robert Avila was one, this nationally top ranked Cody Chittum was another. There have been several others. Riggins was also one of them. So as the nosey person I am, I asked this person his thoughts on every recruit he faced in practice. There were probably 10 guys I asked about. He had great things to say about Avila. And when I asked about Riggins, this was his response, “dude he’s seriously one of the most talented HS wrestlers I’ve ever encountered in my entire life. His positioning is second to none and he is just phenomenal in every aspect of the sport. He’s not completely where he needs to be, but he will be…he will get there… and when he does, no one will stop that kid.” I asked what his prediction was for Riggins and this guy responded, “this kid has the ability to be a D1 National Champion and I couldn’t be more serious about that.”

GOOD LUCK AT IOWA, AIDEN!

2019 3A 106

1 Trever Anderson of Ankeny
2 Jace Rhodes of Mason City
3 Aiden Riggins of Waverly-Shell Rock
4 Lane Cowell of Fort Dodge
5 Ethan Wood-Finley of Iowa City, City High
6 Dustin Bohren of Bettendorf
7 Ryder Downey of Indianola
8 Grant O`Dell of Iowa City, West

 

2020 3A 132

1 Hunter Garvin (So) IC West
2 Aiden Riggins (So) Waverly-Shell Rock
3 Brock Espalin (Sr) Des Moines – East
4 Joel Jesuroga (So) Southeast Polk
5 Trevon Wells (Sr) Dallas Center-Grimes
6 Duncan Delzell (Sr) Burlington
7 Keaton Moret (Sr) Norwalk
8 Brooks Cowell (Sr) Fort Dodge

 

2021 3A-152

1st Place – Aiden Riggins of Waverly-Shell Rock
2nd Place – Caleb Rathjen of Ankeny
3rd Place – Carson Martinson of Southeast Polk
4th Place – Graham Gambrall of Iowa City, West
5th Place – Abass Kemokai of Linn-Mar
6th Place – Abraham Dirkx of Carroll
7th Place – Colin Driscoll of Waukee
8th Place – Sam Zindel of Johnston

 

And a good fisherman to boot! For you know how high of a regard I hold that in!

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Venmo/Donations

Thought I would post something about a few developments and answers to some frequently asked questions. A few weeks ago when I posted something regarding whether or not people would want to donate, I  probably should have prepared a little bit better, for there were a few things that came up quite a bit. I will answer these as thoroughly as possible.

 

QUESTION 1: Can I donate to you by sending a check or cash in the mail?

ANSWER: Yes… the address you can send that to is:

Joshua Swafford

P.O. Box 298

Mediapolis, IA 52637

 

 

QUESTION 2: Can we donate to you through a different app besides Venmo?

ANSWER: Yes, you can. I now have Cash App and PayPal set up. I am attaching the QR codes for each to this article. If you do not have a Venmo account, but would like to donate to The Pin Doctors through one of those sources, here is my info for each:

CashApp: My username for this is $thepindoctors

Venmo: My Venmo information is @thepindoctors for business and @ricoswaff is my personal account. You can donate to either.

PayPal: My PayPal username is rico_swaff@yahoo.com

QUESTION 3: Do you have any merchandise for sale currently?

ANSWER: Kind of sort of. I get a lot of requests about apparel and merchandise and I love it, for I appreciate the support so much! I am going to try to get moving with merchandise and am gonna start off by selling the Pin Doctors T-Shirts that I purchased about a year and a half ago. I bought a couple hundreds shirts back then, half black and half white and have just not had the time or knowledge on how to go about selling them… so I’ve just been giving them away to my friends. I’ve given away probably half of them and I did spend a good $500 at least when I ordered them, so I figure I should start selling them. I have some black t-shirts and some white t-shirts with a few hoodies. These will probably be the only ones that look the way they do now, for we are adjusting some things with the logo to where we can come up with something that can be used for hats as well. I plan on having a full-fledged PinDox merchandise store set-up as soon as I possibly can with a variety of options for apparel. Until then, the t-shirts I have now are the only apparel I have available and I am running low on them, so it will be a first come, first serve type of deal. If you are interested in buying a shirt, pm me or email me at thepindoctors@gmail.com and if I have any of what your requesting available, I will get you a shirt. The black shirts have a bit smaller of a logo, the white shirt has a larger logo if you can’t tell from the pic. Any money I receive for these will be used to purchase more shirts and hopefully get the merchandise store up and running! These particular shirts will be $13 plus $5 shipping and handling, so $18 altogether.  Hit me up and we can set up payment arrangements. If I am out of stock with everything, just know I am getting more.

QUESTION 4: If you haven’t monetized yet, will you do so in the future?

ANSWER: The first time I have ever made an attempt to actively monetize is in this very post about the shirts.  I am hoping to monetize in the near future. The donations will be used to cover some of the expenses/equipment that will be required in order to operate a monetized wrestling media outlet. I have a ton of different services in mind that I plan to offer they should be pretty cool and with your help, we can provide these. So, to answer this common question, I haven’t monetized and donations will be used to where I can get things to a point where I CAN monetize… If that rubs you the wrong way, do not donate.


QUESTION 5: What type of equipment do you plan to purchase with the donations?

ANSWER: To start, from the donations I’ve already received, I purchased a laptop. That’s why you are seeing a ton of videos now. One of the first things I will do with the donations is hire a web designer to make my site a little better looking and more user-friendly with the services I plan to offer. Donations will also be used to set-up a merchandise store. I plan on purchasing high quality photo and video editing software, podcast equipment so we can host live podcasts with guests, shirts, apparel, a video camera for video specials such as “fishing with wrestlers,” the “Remember The Wrestler” series in video form, wrestler bios in video form, etc. I also plan on streaming certain events… I’m not sure which ones yet, for I do not want to step on the toes of any other provider such as IAwrestle or Stalemates, for I want us all to coexist peacefully, but there will be a “niche” of events that I would like to stream.  In fact, I’d like to start hosting our own events and I have many ideas on how to do this in a manner that is unique and original, but that is for another time. I also plan to use the donation money for a studio rental that I have already looked into. There is a lot of stuff I plan to do and I am confident that will all enjoy it.

*** If you would like to donate to help us reach these goals to where we can start doing these things, then I can not thank you enough. If you do not want to or can not donate due to a tumultuous financial situation, that’s ok too. I understand what it is like to struggle and by all means, I’d like to encourage you no matter what to continue checking in on The Pin Doctors.

THANK YOU! Hope this clears some things! And to those of you who have donated already, it means the world to me and has already been put to use to improve The Pin Doctors!

-Joshua Swafford

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Leon “Joe” Hatchett; CR Washington/NIACC/UNI


In the 1967 Iowa HS State Wrestling finals at division AA 165, a couple guys with a lot on the line besides the state championship itself ended up colliding in the finals and the final result was considered controversial by many in attendance. Kim Rhoads of Cedar Falls was the returning state champion and had a 50 match winning streak on the line. Leon “Joe” Hatchett of CR Washington had a 26 match winning streak going himself. The match ended up going into OT and neither guy scored a point in regulation or in OT. It came to a point where the official had to decide the outcome and he ordained Kim Rhoads the 1967 Iowa HS State Champion at AA 165. The fans in Hatchett’s corner did not agree with the decision and one accounts said that they feel the reason the official awarded Rhoads with the championship was because he had a cradle locked up at one point in the 2nd period, but didn’t bring him over. A pretty frustrating way to lose, to say the least. Be thankful we are past that point in the timeline.

Hatchett was a standout athlete at CR Washington, not only in wrestling, but in football and track as well. So good, in fact that he was inducted into the CR Washington Hall Of Fame for his accolades in all 3 of those sports.


When Hatchett got out of HS, he went on to wrestle his first 2 years at a JUCO called North Iowa Area Community College. His coach was Kaye Young. It was there where he really brought his game up yet another level. Hatchett became one of the best JUCO wrestlers of all time when won a National Championship at 190 lbs in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 he was so dominant that he was awarded the OW of the tournament. He was known as just a bruising, powerful wrestler who had one of the sport’s best headlocks imaginable. Joe was undefeated in his time wrestling at NIACC. He has told stories about some of the unique training tactics that Coach Kaye used with him to develop him as a wrestler, and these tactics worked. When you consider how “out of the box” some of these tactics were, such as having him practice with the tallest basketball player at the school to train him how to adapt to someone who has a length or leverage advantage, it goes to show you how intelligent Coach Kaye was in such a unique way.

 

Joe Hatchett did have to deal with some racial adversity when he was at NIACC. Not from his teammates either, but from fans from opposing squads after he would beat their guy. The team was multi-racial and right-knit like a family… a family that was on the grind together and they had each other’s back, including when these fans got out of hand with their racial discrimination towards their teammates. There was one time things got so out of hand that after Joe won a match, the opposing fans began throwing rotten eggs at Joe. This understandably set Joe off as he ran right for these fans in the crowd and had to be pulled away. The support that the coaches and teammates had for each other made it easier to get through hateful situations like those.


After his time at NIACC, Hatchett went on to wrestle for UNI, which was in division 2 at the time. While at UNI, Hatchett continued to do well, placing 2nd at division 2 nationals at 190 lbs., falling to Fletcher Carr in the finals.

After Joe’s time competing for UNI, Joe Hatchett went into bodybuilding and eventually became so good that he was named “Mr. Iowa.” awesome. He apparently had a 29 inch waist with 22 inch arms.

Sometime around the late 10’s/early 20’s, Hatchett was diagnosed with cancer and on September 3rd, 2020, he informed his old college roommate, the legendary Larry “Punchy” Sallis on the phone that he was officially cancer free! Just to add yet another element as to just how tough this man was and heck, still IS!

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PINDOX PROFILE: WILBUR NEAD; Iowa Hawkeyes/West Delaware Wrestling Coach


Ok, after reading this one, I have officially read it all, I think. This man’s career is like none other that I’ve heard of before.

Wilbur went to HS in Gilman, IA where he was class valedictorian. And how did he do in HS, you ask? He didn’t wrestle…

Ok, so this guy didn’t wrestle in HS… So why are we discussing him?

Because he didn’t start wrestling until he was a Sophomore at the University of Iowa.

Ok, so he started wrestling as a Sophomore at Iowa… Was he a good practice dummy for the starters at least?  NOPE! He wasn’t! He presumably beat the crap out of the majority of the other guys he faced in the room, for he accomplished a lot while wrestling for Iowa. He won the Senior Collegiate Championship and Big Ten Championship in 1938. He was named Captain of the team as a Senior in college.

Wilbur also won the spot for the US Olympic Wrestling Team in 1940, but did not compete, for World War 2 put a wrench in things that year.

Wilbur also competed in football and track while at Iowa.

He served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1941 to 1945 as Lieutenant J.G. In 1943, he was elected captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Wrestling Team and was the U.S. Navy Heavyweight Champion. In 1944, he graduated from the US coast guard academy.

Wilbur Nead accumulated six battle ribbons including one bronze star while serving in WW II. From 1949 to 1954, he also served as athletic director for the American Armed Forces in Europe.

Wilbur spent some time performing in “Professional Wrestling” as well for a while.

And it doesn’t end there…

Nead was a coach and teacher at Salem, IA from 1940-1941.  From 1954-1978, he was a coach and teacher in the Manchester-West Delaware school district. His job as a wrestling coach began in 1958 and continued until his retirement in 1978. During this period, he had 18 winning seasons. In dual meet competition, Nead’s lifetime record shows 154 wins and 71 defeats for a .685 winning mark. He helped the Manhawks win four conference titles and post eight runner-up finishes. A highlight of Nead’s coaching career came near the end when he was inducted into the Iowa Wrestling coaches and officials association “Hall of Fame” in his 18th year of wrestling on February 28, 1976 during the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines.

Wilbur Nead was known in the community as a quiet, gentle coach. He sat on the sidelines at wrestling meets and all he had to do was yell one word – “move” and his wrestlers responded. Coach Wilbur Nead died unexpectedly May 31, 1982 of a heart attack at 66 years of age.

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EPIC MATCHES IN IA HS HISTORY: 2000 Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament Quarterfinals 1A 103: Mack Reiter of Don Bosco vs. Justin Bohlke of Kingsley-Pierson

This match was one that I made it a point to watch, for I was very familiar with both of these guys, for they were both a couple of the toughest opponents my younger brother Justin had faced in the past couple years. Both were in his graduating class of  ‘03.  And what a hard-fought, obscure little battle it became between these two. The match was like one, prolonged scramble with minimal scoring. There were not many people there at the time who had any idea how epic and potentially pivotal this match was while it was actually taking place considering how their careers unraveled after the match.

In his wrestling career, Mack Reiter was one of the most strong-willed, loss-hating and driven wrestlers we’ve ever seen in Iowa who went on to become a 4X state champion as well as a multi-Fargo/Tulsa/Regional/etc. Champion…With Mack, it seemed like, “you name the tournament, Mack probably has at least one wall chart from it.” He went on to become a 3X D1 All-American. He is the son of Doug and Janet Reiter and is the 2nd of 4 brothers; Joe, Eddie and Bart. Bart became a 4Xer like Mack. He is considered by all wrestling fans who have functioning brains as one of the best Iowa HS wrestlers of all time.

 

Justin Bohlke  was a kid who came in to the state wrestling tournament as a Freshman with a record of 43-0. Coming into the match, Justin was technically on pace to becoming an undefeated 4X state champion and wasn’t as far off from doing so as one would assume. Prior to HS, Justin would usually place 3rd at AAU State and would generally lose his line match of the tournament by a point or two to the champion. Bohlke was right there with every single guy in that 2003 graduating class, all the way through HS and I highly doubt that you’ll find any of his former opponents who would disagree with that statement at all. I mean, for real.. read these stats. He finished with a career record of 170-5. He was eliminated after losing to Mack as a Freshman at state, placed 3rd as a Sophomore, won one of the most tough and deep brackets EVER as a Junior and then placed 4th as a Senior. If you do the match, you’ll find that all 5 of his losses were at state. He never had one regular season loss. That is impressive. And it doesn’t end there… He never lost any of the 5 matches he lost by any more than 2 points and if you were to add together the total amount of points that he lost in all 5 of those losses, the number you would come up with is a staggering SEVEN TOTAL POINTS. That’s crazy. Bohlke was able to frustrate anyone out there with his style. He had this style where he was funky, but not dangerously out of position, aggressive, but safe and he was tough to score points on despite being an active aggressor in his matches. He was a handful for anyone. And get this, when Bohlke won state, it was in one of the most stacked podiums ever, for it included a few past or future champs as well as 3 future Iowa Hawkeyes; Mario Galanakis, Chad Beatty and Ryan Morningstar….JUSTIN BOHLKE WON the bracket that was jam-packed with those guys…Think about that. Bohlke only wrestled a couple years in college, but was a National Qualifier for Augustana in one of those years. 

Ok, so check this match out! For a lot of you, it will end up being one of the best matches that you didn’t even realized you missed. And a close one too! For those of you who don’t know what the score is at the end, 4-2 was tue final score. It’s kind of wild to think about what may have been different if the outcome of this match was reversed. Bohlke would have been the one on the path to 4 and although he “only” won 1 state title in the following years, but read above… Bohlke was in every match he lost… he never lost a match by more than 2 points, so those outcomes could potentially go back and forth too.  Plus, it’s kinda like “the butterfly effect.” The outcomes of both of these guys’ future matches may have been different if the outcome of this match was different, for you can never underestimate the power of momentum, tempo and confidence. Crazy to think about… And had Mack Reiter lost this match? Shoot… He would have bounced back madder than ever and would have still destroyed pretty much everything in his path from there out. The man is a warrior. 

 

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Funny Wrestling Stories: The Time 12 Year Old Drew Foster (Mediapolis HS ‘14/NCAA D1 National Champion for UNI) Ruined My Chances With A Girl I Was Talking To At A Hotel Swimming Pool


Most all of you wrasslin’ fans know or know of Drew Foster, right? If you don’t, here’s a run down… He was a 6X Youth State Champion and 3X Placer/1X Finalist for Mediapolis HS in Iowa who graduated HS in 2014 and went on to wrestle for the UNI Panthers where he became an All-American in 2017 and the 2019 D1 National Champion at 184 lbs. On top of that, he is a great person, a great student, a great role model, a great all-around athlete, etc.

He also has some pretty great skills at the craft of what rapper Biggie Smalls referred to as, “player-hating.”

Ok so at the Iowa AAU State Wrestling Tournament in 2008, the Mediapolis crew stayed at The Red Roof Inn in West Des Moines. It seemed to be a tradition for every event we attended for the Mepo crew to hang out in the lobby at hotels and well…party. And most of us started early. That particular year, the entire Mepo crew was jam-packed into the lobby by 6 PM. Kids and parents alike. The Foster’s, Drain’s, Swafford’s, Buster’s, McNeil’s, Holloway’s, Beckman’s, Erickson’s, etc. All of us were in the lobby having a great time.

Now, when you are younger and single, one of the best things about going to big wrestling events and staying at hotels and what-not is the possibility of meeting cute single girls who are also there that weekend. And in 2008, I was 25 years old and had been out of school and wrestling for a while. In fact, I had graduated college the year before, but I was single at that time and was pretty stoked to see that there were 3 cute girls that appeared to be my age hanging out in the pool which was located right next to the lobby we were partying in. I nudged my friend, Winston Hostetter and quietly said, “hey we should try to get those girls in the pool to hang out with us tonight.” I said this quietly because I knew dang well that if Coach Jim Drain or Luke Erickson or Mason Buster or Adam Drain heard me, they would try to sabotage our flirting by playing some sort of joke on me to be funny… Drew Foster was a squirrelly kid with the other kids, but he generally didn’t play pranks on the adults, so I didn’t even think of him as a potential sabotager. Anyways, Winston asked how I was going to pull this off and I told him that we had no choice other than to go swimming… I just needed to get his confirmation that I didn’t resemble the Michelin Man when shirtless as Adam Drain called it. While swimming at the community pool growing up, I always knew I didn’t want to become one of these dads who swim in the pool with a t-shirt on, but I was legitimately considering doing this if I did in fact, resemble the Michelin Man as Adam Drain claimed earlier, which Winston assured me I didn’t. So we hit the pool!

So Winston and I started playing catch with one of those “squish balls” in the pool. We didn’t want to make it obvious to these girls that we were TRYING to meet them, so if we had any intentions in talking to them, we had to be clever. I “overthrew” the squish ball and it plopped right next to one of the girls who had blonde hair. She looked over at us and we kinda gave her a facial expression that implied, “yo that’s our ball, can you please throw that back to us?” And then we started talking…I asked them if they were in town watching the wrestling, which they were. Here’s a tip for all the dudes: Ladies can not resist a man who wants to spend hours with them talking about wrestling stats…😂😂😂 I think I asked them all who their little brothers or cousins or whoever l were and likely impressed them all with my knowledge of their brothers’ wrestling stats. JOKING….dudes, please don’t try this. They are rarely impressed by that.

So we talked to these girls for a couple minutes and things seemed to be ok. Conversation was flowing freely and everything was smooth-sailing all the way until something happened that ruined everything. While I was standing in the pool near the ladder and getting to know these cute girls, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked back and it was Drew Foster, who was in 6th grade at the time. I was a bit confused and asked, “yes Drew?” And he asked all innocently, “hey Dad, I am hungry… can I please have some money?!?” Then he walked away. This sent me into a panic.

This practical joke that was played on me was a success, for there was absolutely no correct way for me to respond to Drew in that situation in which the girls would not end up becoming disgusted in me. For one, I had already told them that I was not a father, but was watching my brothers that weekend. My initial, “knee-jerk” response to Drew was a simple, “no!” That wasn’t very impressive, for what kind of man doesn’t feed their starving little boy?! I followed this with, “I don’t have any money!” Which was the truth, but not having any money does not impress many women. I then panicked and kinda blurted, “THAT’S NOT MY SON!!!” This wasn’t very impressive, for what kinda of ghastly man will deny being the father of his own son, just so he can make himself come off as more suitable for a young, single woman?

So how did things go with these girls? Did one of them end up becoming my future wife?! Heck no… they laughed in my face and all 3 of them not only walked out of the pool, but they walked back to their rooms, presumably to get away from this jerk they just met in the pool.

As soon as they walked away, I glanced towards the lobby and the entire crew was watching and laughing hysterically at me. Drew got me good. Probably top 5 that anyone has ever gotten me with a prank, ever!

Fun times.

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PINDOX PROFILE: Randy Lampe; Fort Madison HS ‘74 (RIP)

PINDOX PROFILE: Randy Lampe; Fort Madison HS ‘74 (RIP)

One of my best friends dating wayyyy back is a man named Cody Lampe. When I used to hang out at his house, he had this framed picture hanging up on his wall of a couple wrestlers. I remember the first time I asked him who it was and he told me it was a picture of his late father, Randy Lampe wrestling in the semis at state vs. Kirk Sallis Sr. In which Randy beat Sallis to go on to the state finals, in which he won that match too to become a state champion and I believe, Fort Madison HS’s 2nd ever. So with that said, when I started putting this stuff all together, I’ve made it a point to keep my eyes out for anything that had to do with Randy.


So Randy was a state champion at 3A 98 lbs in 1974. It is amazing that he was even able to make weight to wrestle at state, for listen to what his coach, Mike Riley had to say about it:

Mike Riley: He came in 22 lbs overweight after Christmas break and looked to have shot up in height to around 6 feet tall. I thought we lost our 98 lber, but Randy was tough and made it down. Shower his determination… and because of that, we got a state champion out of it!

Pretty crazy to think about the extreme weight cuts people made in those days before there was body fat percentage testing.

Something that may have made Randy’s journey not only to the state title, but in able to persevere through the harsh weight-cut was some advice that his dad used to give him in which Randy lived by. Randy’s father, Adrian Lampe who recently passed away himself used to always preach to him and his siblings, “whatever it takes. If you give whatever it takes then no one can beat you and you will be able to conquer anything the world has to offer.” This became a code that the Lampe’s have lived by ever since and it has worked wonders, for they are all very successful people.

So Randy won his first match at state against Steve Impecoven of Ames by a score of 4-0 and the most anticipated match of that bracket and one that many considered to be the finals match, was to take place the following round between the winner of Fairfield phenom, Dan Glenn and Waterloo Central phenom (and future Jr. Olympic champion), Kirk Sallis. Randy used to always tell his kids that Sallis and Dan Glenn were two of the most articulate wrestlers he ever faced and that if you made even one small error against either one you’d be on your back and packing to go home. Sallis won the match vs. Glenn by a score of 5-3, setting up a 3A 98 semifinal showdown between Kirk Sallis and Randy Lampe. The match was so close that his mother, Barb Lampe had to leave the auditorium due to the high amount of stress that match caused due to the action-packed, back and forth nature of it. When it was all said and done, Randy Lampe was victorious in a wild, 9-6 victory. This put him up against Roy Grant of Cedar Falls and Lampe won another wild one by the score of 10-6. So the 22 lbs he had to cut to make 98 lbs after Christmas break was totally worth it, for Randy Lampe punched his name into the books as one of the state of Iowa’s HS wrestling greats.

Sadly, on June 19th, 2003, Randy Lappe passed away at the age of 46. When he passed, he left behind his wife, Vada, his two sons; Justin and Cody and his two daughters; Misty and Jennifer. He also had two brothers, Brian and Kevin Lampe. Kevin was actually a 4th place finisher at state for Fort Madison in 1973, the year before Randy won it. And although Randy is gone, his legacy is still very much in tact. He made an incredibly positive impression on his children and all of them miss him to this day and make it a point to approach their own lives while utilizing the endless amount of valuable advice and words of wisdom he gave them for years. And his legacy on the mat, not only lives on through his family, but through the entire Fort Madison community who continues to hold him in very high regard as one of the pioneers of the consistently good wrestling program they have become.

1974 3A 98
1 Randy Lampe, Fort Madison
2 Roy Grant, Cedar Falls
3 Kirk Sallis, Waterloo Central
4 Mark Johnson, Iowa City West
5 Dan Glenn, Fairfield
6 Ron Stabile, Sioux City Heelan

Author: Joshua Swafford

 

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PINDOX PROFILE: Brant O’Shea; Keokuk HS ‘17/DC Elite/UBASA WC

It’s taken me way too long to do one of these for a wrestler out of Keokuk. Keokuk is a local team for me and since I began wrestling as a 6 year old, I’ve encountered/witnessed countless scrappy wrestlers from Keokuk and have gotten to know several of them. They have ALWAYS treated my family with the utmost respect. Never one negative experience with any of them. Their wrestling community is dedicated, loyal to their wrestling community, selfless and they sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve.

So back in the days when my brothers Shea and Brennan were in youth wrestling, Mediapolis had themselves a SQUAD. Along with my bros, there was Steve Holloway, Adam Drain, Drew Foster, Mason and Drew Buster, Blake Beckman, Cody McNeil, Brad Conley, Cole and Luke Erickson, Ethan Timmerman, Taylor Zippe, Brady Broders, etc. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but yeah we were stacked and every year, we were in contention of winning the youth state team title at AAU State and did so a couple-few times. The Mepo squad was so deep that we were able to compete with some of the super clubs that had just begun forming at the time like High Altitude, Young Guns, Legends Of Gold, UBASA, Porcelli, etc. before they started splitting the teams into divisions. There were only two other “school-teams” that were able to do that consistently back then…Fort Dodge and Alburnett. When they split them into divisions, I believe the divisions they were split into were the “bigger schools/super clubs” and the “smaller community wrestling clubs.” Fort Dodge went with the bigger schools, which paved the way for several annual Mediapolis vs. Alburnett showdowns for the team title at AAU State every year. Both teams just stacked, top to bottom. And what was crazy was that as good as Alburnett and Mepo were back then, there was another smaller school squad that made rounds in Iowa seemingly every week other than the state tournament and was every bit as good as Mepo and Alburnett. It was the “West Hancock Wrestling Club” and they didn’t wrestle at the Iowa State Tournament, for they were located in Illinois, right across the bridge from Keokuk. I don’t know how or when that club began, but whatever the case, they sent a team that could give all the Iowa teams a run for their money. We saw them literally everywhere besides state. If there was a local tourney in SE Iowa, West Hancock was sending a plethora of buzz-saws. They had guys like Brendan and Cam Sadeghi, Ashton Meyers, Brett Hammell, Connor Artman, Will and Jack Lucie, etc. All hammers. All of them seemed to have rivalries with at least one guy from our squad as well. The first time I ever saw Brant O’Shea was at the Morning Sun Youth Wrestling tourney when he was a 4th grader and while I believe he is a longtime Keokuk kid, he was part of that West Hancock crew as well for that particular tournament. A lot of the Keokuk and West Hancock club kids/coaches seemed to work together back then.

If you would have told me back then that West Hancock would ultimately go on to only have moderate success when that crop of kids hit HS, I would have called you crazy. But that’s what happened. They did have some shining achievements such as the Lucie brothers doing awesome in HS as well as Brett Hammell having some great moments for them as well (I believe), but it wasn’t what all of us all thought things would be for them. We thought they would end up being perennial Illinois state wrestling team champions and to this day I think they would have, had it not been for a few factors that caused a split with the club team. A couple guys, like Connor Artman were actually really good at basketball, so I believe some played that when they had to choose. Ashton Meyers wrestled 2-3 years at Quincy Notre Dame before finishing at Keokuk. Some of them split and wrestled for Keokuk when they got to be in 7th grade or so. I believe O’Shea was always Keokuk, for I know his father, Jamie wrestled there in his day, but Sadeghi, Ashton Meyers, Brett Hammell, etc. all at least had 1-2 HS seasons in Keokuk. Add in a few other guys like O’Shea, Tyler Bitting, Eli Riddle, Jacob Briscoe, Dakota Shaw, Garrett Nelson, etc. and those guys sent out a pretty feisty, underrated crew! Some of their guys wrestled in budding super clubs at the time, like DC Elite and UBASA, but even if they did that, most of them were involved in the Keokuk Youth Wrestling Club, which is a club that has been in place and has consistently produced great wrestlers thanks to the volunteer help from some of the wrestling world’s more under-acknowledged coaches such as Scott Wilsey who has coached several HS state champs/placers dating back to his time coaching the Burlington Youth Club, Dave Sadeghi, the Riddle’s, the Rose’s, former Keokuk state qualifier, Paul Johnson (great guy), etc. (My sincere apologies if I forgot someone). Keokuk wrestling means the world to several families in that community and they’ve literally dedicated their time, money and effort to preserve the consistently respectable thing they’ve had going on there for decades now.  So when Brant O’Shea and some other guys did as well as they did at the HS level, I couldn’t have been happier for them. A very deserving crew and it was about time Brant was given the credit he deserved.

When guys like O’Shea, Meyers, Hammell, Sadeghi, etc. started making their way into the Iowa youth state tournaments, I used to always get a kick out of how lightly the people who hadn’t heard of them before would prepare for them. I remember standing by the wall charts the first year Cam Sadeghi went to the Iowa AAU State tourney as an 8th grader and celebrating because he had to face this “unknown” kid, which would presumably be an easy win. I remember standing back and smirking while thinking, “well, this kid’s picnic he has planned is about to be invaded viciously by a polar bear… poor guy.” And thats what happened, for Sadeghi got 2nd at AAU his one year there. I’d seen those reactions from a few kids over the years when they were unfamiliar with the Keokuk guy they were set to face. O’Shea was one of them. For O’Shea, it seemed like it took wayyy too long for him to be given the credit or acknowledgement he deserved from people across the state. I mean, it seemed like he placed at state at least 5-6 times since he was a Pee-Wee and in the toughest brackets… Yet it took forever for a lot of kids/fans to know who he was. One would assume that kids wouldn’t have “shocked” expressions when they took the mat with him and realized that he was taller than Wilt Chamberlain, somehow weighing 90 lbs and age 12… He was a top guy for a decade at that point and everyone should have known how good he was, not just SE Iowans (which he was very well-known here). A lot of kids didn’t seem to get the memo though and it always brought a smile to my face watching O’Shea’s opponents go from appearing confident before the match to forming expressions of sheer terror when they came to the realization that this O’Shea kid they hadn’t heard of was twice as tall as they were and strong, to boot. He was fun to watch. He used that leverage he had like a boss! And he was methodical and dominated quietly… All business. He wasn’t cocky, wasn’t there to make friends or cause trouble, wasn’t there to be flashy, wasn’t there to embarrass an inferior opponent, wasn’t there to hang out under the bleachers, etc. He just simply showed up, listened to his coaches, followed the game plan, took care of business and won and did so respectfully. Win or lose, he was always respectful. All class, no flash and that could be why he and other talented Keokuk guys tended to fly under the radar at times.

Brant also came off as very coachable. I can’t count how many times I saw Brant sitting and listening to his coaches who were preparing him for a match while his opponent was off messing around. He was a great example for the other kids and ironically, my dad would use him as an example when lecturing my brother Brennan when he would have a practice where he flashed an attitude. It was not uncommon for me to hear my dad yelping in the truck on the way home from practice, “boys! You need to LISTEN and ABSORB what your coaches tell you to do and show some respect! Like Brant O’Shea! Watch how he acts in practice and take notes!”  Comes off as an over-bearing perfectionist father, but he was right…

 


Brant was fun to watch. He used that leverage he had like a boss! And he dominated quietly… He wasn’t cocky in the slightest… He just simply showed up, took care of business and won. And he did so with respect. Win or lose, he was always respectful.

Ok so here are some random notes about Brant O’Shea:

* HS Head Coach was Tom Rose. Brant credited him with helping him with one-on-one technique. He credited Asst. Coach Ryan Helenthal with motivating him and making him feel as if he belonged there with anyone, no matter who it was.

* Brant wrestled for the clubs; UBASA, Purler Wrestling Academy and DC Elite.

* Brant has a younger brother named Tate O’Shea who was a state placer almost every year at the youth level and was a state qualifier last year as a Sophomore at 2A 126, in which he made the blood round. Watch out for him!

* Brant was a 3X State Qualifier/2X State Placer/1X State Runner-Up. He made the blood round as a Sophomore at 3A 113, placed 5th as a Junior at 3A 126 and was 2nd as a Senior at 2A 132. He was beaten in a close match by Matt Robertson from Assumption in the finals that year, which was the year that Robertson officially put things together and CAUGHT FIRE on his way to winning the state championship that year. Oddly enough, I remember Brant Pinning Robertson fairly quickly at youth state a few years before.

* Brant finished with a career record of 152-15.

* Brant lost only 4 times in his final two years of HS and 3 out of 4 of those losses were to state champions (Robertson, Triston Lara and Bradan Birt) and the other loss was to a guy who placed 3rd (Nolan Hromidko).

*Brant was named the 2017 All-Hawkeye Wrestler of The Year which is an award given to who the local coaches voted as the best SE Iowa wrestler.  My family couldn’t have been happier for him. Brant was not a kid who wrestled for the attention, but it was nice to see him being acknowledged for being as good as he was. It was a long time coming.

*Brant and my brother Brennan were longtime rivals who were eventually practice partners in HS for DC Elite and those two helped each other out a TON. Most certainly one of Brennan’s best ever competitors/practice partners. Brennan may not be where he is if it weren’t for guys like Brant O’Shea pushing him in practice.

* Brant succeeded at both 3A and 2A. For those of you who like to compare classes, Brant placed 5th as a Junior in a deep 3A 126 bracket and 2nd as a Senior in an equally deep 2A 132 lb. bracket and beat equally impressive wrestlers in doing so both years.

* Brant defeated at least 4 state champions when he was in HS. They were: Collin Lewis (North Scott), Bradan Birt (Western Dubuque), Ryan Steffen (Cresco) and Brock Henderson (North Linn).

* When Brant made the finals as a Senior, this made him Keokuk’s 6th State finalist in program history. The other 5 being: Nabeel Yehyawi, Tameen Yehyawi, Julian Feikert, Kyle Beaird and Ryan Helenthal. Helenthal is Keokuk’s one state champion in program history although they obviously came very, very close with other guys.

* Brant did not wrestle after HS. He decided to call it a career (and a fantastic one) after his Senior season.

 

2016 3A 126

1 Triston Lara (Jr.) Fort Dodge

2 Nathan Lendt (So.) SE Polk

3 Nolan Hromidko (Sr.) CR Kennedy

4 Jake Watters (Jr.) WDM Dowling

5 Brant OShea (Jr.) Keokuk

6 Will Foreman (So.) CR Washington

7 Matt Robertson (So.) Pleasant Valley

8 Gabe Kjeldgaard (So.) CB Lewis Central

2017 2A 132

1 Matt Robertson (Jr.) Davenport Assumption

2 Brant Oshea (Sr.) Keokuk

3 Brayden Curry (Sr.) Sgt Bluff Luton

4 Gable Sieperda (Jr.) CLGLR

5 Ryan Steffen (Jr.) Crestwood

6 Noah Fye (Jr.) New Hampton

7 Jarrett Miller (Jr.) Ballard

8 Alex Hanna (Jr.) EBF

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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!

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WRESTLING ARTISTS: Tong-Uk Yi of Algona HS

WRESTLING ARTISTS: Tong-Uk Yi of Algona HS

I keep forgetting to post something about this… So I have this series called “Wrestling Artists” in which I encourage any former wrestlers, coaches, fans, etc. to send in their artwork and I will post their work on the page/site. To this point, there have been 5-6 or so people who sent their artwork in to me, which I’ve posted. One of these wrestler-artists was longtime Assistant Wrestling Coach at Algona HS, Tong-Uk Yi. I liked his work so much, that it inspired me to buy my family a gift by getting pictures drawn of my 3 brothers and I… And as I expected, I thought they turned out great! What he was able to create from 4 photos that I sent him is just incredible to me and I don’t know what his plans are in terms of whether he wants to monetize his work, but I’m just saying, if you would like something like this done for one of your kids/wrestlers/etc. I would highly recommend Tong-Uk Yi!! These pics will stay in my family for generations and I’m honored he was willing to capture these! Great work, Coach Yi!

Again! I encourage you all to send whatever artwork you’d like to be seen on here!

Photo Creds: Jeff Campbell for the one of Shea. Cam Kramer for the one of Brennan.

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PINDOX PROFILE: Creighton Duncan; Pleasant Valley HS ‘97

PINDOX PROFILE: Creighton Duncan; Pleasant Valley HS ‘97

This story is without a doubt in my Top 5 funniest wrestling stories that I have.

So the youth club I was raised in was the “Burlington YMCA Youth Wrestling Club.” This club was very tight-knit and it was a shame that a lot of us had to part ways when we hit HS. Half of the guys would go to Burlington HS to wrestle, the other half would go to Mediapolis. I was obviously a Mepo guy. Mepo and Burlington were bitter, bitter rivals who hated each other one day out of the year and that was the day we had to wrestle each other in a dual meet. Other than that, though…heck, I never stopped considering those Burlington guys my teammates/brothers. I don’t think I’ve ever rooted against a Burlington guy who wasn’t wrestling someone from Mepo. I always made sure to follow my old Burlington teammates and rooted for them sometimes just as hard as I did my own Mepo teammates… and that’s how most of us felt, I think. One of the Burlington hammers in the grade 4 ahead of me was a dude named Tyler Sherwood. He was the youngest of 3 Sherwood brothers with the oldest being Alex (state qualifier) and the middle sibling being Nathan (state placer). Tyler was one of my favorite teammates as a kid because he was so funny and well, wild. People from other schools tended to not like him, though and that was because if you weren’t on Tyler’s side, he could be the mouthiest dude on the planet. And you didn’t want to be on the receiving end of his mouth because his comebacks were quick and funny as hell. He could make someone look like a dork just with his comebacks. He was a good guy to have on your side, that was for sure… not only did you not have to worry about having anything started with you, but he’d have your back if someone else did.

So when Tyler was a Senior, he had this back and forth rivalry with a guy who lived about an hour and a half North up Highway 61 from us. His name was Creighton Duncan from Pleasant Valley and he was an absolute BEAST. Everything about him was intimidating… his expression, the way he carried himself, his bruising wrestling style, his intensity, etc. He had a great wrestling background. His father, Royce was the HC. His brother, Brandon was also a state champion. Creighton placed 4th as both a Sophomore and Junior and I want to say that when Tyler beat him the first time (can’t remember how many wins each guy had) that it was considered a fairly big upset despite the fact that Tyler was a hammer himself. Tyler Sherwood vs. Creighton Duncan was pretty widely discussed in our area and those of us in the Sherwood camp considered Duncan to be the ultimate villain. I was in 8th grade at the time, so my dad still took us to watch both Mepo and Burlington wrestling events that year since I was still technically a Burlington guy at the time. And I was able to watch two of their matches. And both times, it was obvious that Burlington (and some Mepo) fans just hated Creighton along with the rest of the PV squad… Why did we hate them? Well…because they were so good. Sour grapes because we envied them, simple as that. With Sherwood and Creighton, though, it seemed to go a bit beyond that. I can’t remember exactly where the irrational hatred began, but I want to say that in one of their matches, they ran their mouths to each other and/or got chippy with each other when they met up. Heck, knowing those two, it probably happened every time. While Tyler could be one of the mouthiest dudes on the planet, Creighton Duncan could sling it right back, and would without hesitation. Burlington fans were foaming at the mouth when those two would take the mat with each other for they wanted Tyler to beat him and PV so badly that year. Their matches were fun. Both guys were gunslingers and seemed to have a “live by the sword, die by the sword” mentality, so there was a lot of action in their matches. Both Creighton and Tyler were very fun wrestlers to watch. In the end, as Seniors, Creighton ended up winning the “big one” by taking 1st at state, while Tyler placed 4th.

 

FAST FORWARD 17-18 YEARS!

I never saw or heard anything about Creighton Duncan for over a decade after he was in HS. And the first time I encountered him since HS was in the most random situation imaginable. Get this…

So after I attained my BA at Loras College in Dubuque, I worked in my field of study as a Service Coordinator for 5 years immediately following graduation. At the 5 year mark, I figured it would be financially wise to expand my career options, so I attempted to do that by attending nursing school at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington. The goal was to attain my PRNP (Psychiatric Registered Nurse Practitioner) license. What motivated me to do this was the fact that my salary would triple. I initially thought that I could swing both nursing school and my full-time job at the same time (along with having 2 children under the ages of 2-3), but it didn’t take me long to realize that this would be borderline impossible to accomplish, for Nursing School is an absolute GRIND. The 1.5 years I spent in Nursing School was 1000X more grueling than ANYTHING I experienced in my 5 years attaining my BA…In fact, that program was so difficult that it made me look at my educational journey prior to it as an absolute joke in comparison. So I decided to quit my job and just work part-time…as a pizza delivery driver at Pizza Hut… the same job I had when I was at Loras.  Now, a lot of people tend to look down upon pizza delivery drivers and consider pizza delivery to be the bottom of the barrel in terms of jobs and ya know what?! The people who have these opinions obviously have never worked as pizza delivery drivers themselves. I delivered pizzas for 3 years in Dubuque and 1.5 years in Burlington and I will state this proudly… “Delivering pizzas is the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had and most likely always will be.” I had a blast doing that. You spend all night cruising around listening to tunes, eating tons more pizza on mess-up orders, playing pranks on the dishwashers, talking to the cute waitresses, learning every street in the city, updating your fantasy football lineup and GETTING PAID FOR IT! At both places I worked at, I was paid 6/hr plus tips and if you know how to talk to and build a rapport with the customers, you can sometimes pull in $150-200 per night, just in tips. It’s the most underrated job in the world. It doesn’t take much more than a pulse to complete the job tasks, but you certainly have a stress-free, enjoyable time. It’s a perfect job for someone who is going through the college grind.

I also had a part-time gig writing for The Predicament at the time.

So one night, I was given a ticket for a delivery just a couple miles away to a person named “Creighton.” My first thought was, “Creighton? Man wouldn’t that be funny if this ended up being Creighton Duncan…in Burlington of all places?” I didn’t think there was any chance that this would be the case, so I quit wondering about that shortly after reading the ticket.

A few minutes later, I arrived at the house and knocked on the door. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It WAS Creighton Duncan. Creighton Duncan, from Pleasant Valley which is an hour and a half away, who was DESPISED by the Burlington wrestling community had somehow ended up in Burlington, IA…and there he was, holding a check in his hand with 3 one dollar bills for a tip, ready to destroy some pizza. He looked exactly like he did in HS. I couldn’t believe it and certainly couldn’t contain my excitement about it. I went full “Rico.” It’s never a good idea to go full “Rico.” I was like, “holy crap, it IS Creighton Duncan!” He looked up at me with the most confused expression on his face. I then blurted out, “how on Earth did you end up in Burlington of all places?!” He replied, “what do you mean?” I said without thinking, “kinda crazy you are in Tyler Sherwood’s hometown. You guys were mortal enemies it seemed like!” And he quietly replied with, “I guess I’ve never thought of that.” I then went on to tell him that I followed his entire career along with his brother, Brandon and that I wrote for The Predicament and that the PV teams he was part of were incredible, that his dad was a legend, that the move he hit in the finals vs. Jessman Smith was wild, etc. And while I was babbling about this, he appeared increasingly more and more confused and was noticeably inching his way back inside and slowly shutting his door. It was like an exchange between a wrestling-obsessed Donkey and Shrek. He was either extremely hungry, extremely weirded out or extremely annoyed…or all of the above. And for whatever reason, it cracks me up when people get annoyed by my incessant Wrestling-talk, so I kept going. You know on the movie, “Predator” when Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at the predator at the end of the movie with an utterly confused expression and asks, “what the hell are you?” Haha, well towards the end of the conversation, the expression Creighton had on his face resembled Arnold’s… as if he were trying to make sense of what kind of wrestling “Rain Man” alien he had just encountered while having a pizza delivered to him in Burlington, IA. And to officially put an end to the conversation, you know what he did?! He reached into his pocket, grabbed a $5 bill, handed it to me in addition to the $3 tip he already gave me and was like, “have a good night man,” and shut the door while I was still babbling about Pleasant Valley wrestling. The optimistic side of me would like to think that he did this because he appreciated my enthusiasm about his wrestling career, but the logical side of me knows that he wanted me to go away so badly that he was willing to pay me to shut up and leave him alone so he could eat his pizza. It was pretty cool of him, really… an $8 tip… heck yeah!

Creighton was the poster-child for “total confusion” during that entire exchange we had and I can only imagine how much more confused he would appear if he knew that an article would be written about the exchange 7 years later. Lol, he had no idea who or what he had just ran into. 😂 I wish I could see the expression on his face when he reads this and I hope he remembers this!

Creighton did amazing for a guy who was an upper-middleweight as an under and upperclassman. He placed at 3A 171 his last 3 years of HS, placing 4-4-1 in some insanely tough brackets. There was another guy in his grade who was at that weight every year as well and placed above Creighton his Sophomore and Junior years. His name was Steve Niles, from Charles City. Niles placed 2nd when they were Sophomores, beat Creighton for 3rd and 4th as Juniors and placed 3rd after losing to Creighton in the quarterfinals their Senior year in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the tournament. Creighton had many huge wins in his career, but I would consider that win over Niles to be Creighton’s best ever win. I would consider his battles with Sherwood to be the most remembered in my area (SE Iowa). However, on a statewide level, Creighton is remembered by most for his finals match vs. SE Polk State Champion and future Hawkeye, Jessman Smith. Smith took Creighton down like it was nothing to start the match and Creighton got an escape.. A few seconds later, Creighton put his “live by the sword, die by the sword” approach to wrestling on full display when he hit this move that I’ve heard several odd names for… I’ve heard some call it “the ventriloquist.” Some call it “the can-opener.” It’s when a guy gets a single leg and the guy who defends it, does so by hooking their leg through the offensive wrestler’s legs and using the other guy’s momentum from their shot to heist them up and over to their back. A lot of times this move won’t work, but when it does, it is TIGHT. And this move worked like a charm for Creighton and he had Jessman locked up so tight that it looked painful. He recorded the fall in the first period and the emotion shown between Creighton and his father, HOF HC Royce Duncan while celebrating could hit anyone in the feels…even the most staunchest of Burlington fans…


Creighton finished his career as a PV Wrestling legend. His brother, Brandon Duncan also won a state title that year, I believe.

*** Creighton, if you are reading this, thanks again for the tip! I was probably able to pay for my Netflix subscription that month because of you!!!

 

1995 3A 171


1 Matt Derocher, Sr., LeMars

2 Steve Niles, So., Charles City

3 Brady Acheson, Sr., West Des Moines Valley

4 Creighton Duncan, So., Pleasant Valley

5 Ben LaFleur, Fr., Sioux City Heelan

6 Kris Hobt, Urbandale

 

1996 3A 171

1 Robert Cole, Sr., Des Moines North

2 Ryan LaGrange, Jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

3 Steve Niles, Jr., Charles City

4 Creighton Duncan, Jr., Pleasant Valley

5 Carlos Honore, Jr., Iowa City West

6 Jesse Rans, Sr., West Delaware, Manchester

 

1997 3A 171


1 Creighton Duncan, PV

2 Jessman Smith, SE Polk

3 Steve Niles, Charles City

4 Tyler Sherwood, Burlington

5 Tom Elliff, CB TJ

6 Chris Richardson, IC West

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PINDOX PROFILE: Dennis Shannon; Independence HS ‘80


PINDOX PROFILE: Dennis Shannon; Independence HS ‘80

A few weeks ago, I posted a story on Doug Fischer from Sheldon who won the 1980 2A HWT division. In that article, I wrote the following excerpt about the guy in that bracket who appeared to be having the best tournament until the final round:

“There did seem to be one guy who, on paper stuck out as being more dominant on paper when you factor in W-L record as well as match results. Dennis Shannon of Indee came in with a 25-2 record, major decisioned his first opponent and then pinned the next two to reach the finals and even he fell short in that round. He was beaten by Doug Fischer of Sheldon, a Senior who had a 23-4 record coming into the tournament. He won a couple-few closer matches via decision to reach the finals against Dennis Shannon, who as noted, was on fire at the time. Fischer apparently brought it in the finals for he won 5-2.”


Around the time I posted that, Dennis Shannon’s son, Matthew Shannon was cool enough to fill me in on some interesting bits about his father’s wrestling journey…

MATTHEW SHANNON: Here’s the general story with Dennis Shannon from Independence… To start, he was light for a HWT.  He was about 185 lbs when it used to be unlimited. He beat some pretty good guys in 3A and 1A his senior year that year as well as the 2A guys.  He grew up on a farm and when he saw the TV cameras in the finals at Vets, he froze.  Stage-fright set in.  He was thown to his back by Fischer and was down 5-0.  He lost 5-2. Would love to see video of the match, but cannot seem to locate it.

 

PINDOX: How much experience did your dad have in wrestling coming into the state tournament that year?

MATTHEW SHANNON: Let me put it this way, due to working on the family farm his whole life, he never really knew what organized sports really were when he was growing up.  He did not wrestle until Freshmen year.

 

PINDOX: Did your dad play other sports? Did he wrestle in college?

MATTHEW SHANNON: He was a good football player and shot-putter as well as wrestling.  He was recruited by Hayden Fry and Dan Gable, but went to school for Tool and Die at Hawkeye CC instead.

 

PINDOX: Has your dad been involved with wrestling since HS?

MATTHEW SHANNON: He did help create the Indee Mat Club and he was called into practice to work with Scott Eddy over Christmas Break to give him a challenge. Eddy went on to win state later that year (1997 2A HWT).

PINDOX: Any other interesting stories about your dad’s wrestling career you’d like to add?

MATTHEW SHANNON: My favorite story of Dad is he did not know he could lock his hands when using a cradle (his go to move) so the first time he did it, he made two fists and just brought them together to pin his guy without locking his hands. He could also do that to Eddy and Mike Zimmerly (Indee HWT state Champion in early 00’s) when he worked out with them as well.  He is a tough dude that is for sure. Dad and I are also the only Father-Son WaMaC Champions at Independence.

1980 2A Heavyweight

    1. Doug Fischer, Sr., Sheldon

    2. Dennis Shannon, Sr., Independence

    3. Jeff Rasmussen, Sr., Wilton

    4. Dave Wood, Sr., Glenwood

    5. Steve Reimers, Jr., Humboldt

    6. Joe Koppes, Sr., Cascade

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Wrestlers Who Fish: Kyle Hefley; IC High ‘19/Central College

Wrestlers Who Fish: Kyle Hefley; IC High ‘19/Central College

Kyle Hefley was a 2019 graduate from Iowa City High who wrestled in the City High youth club for probably a decade before even getting into HS. In HS, he was a 2 time state qualifier, making the blood round his Junior year when he was beaten out in the most heartbreaking way I can imagine. He was up 6-3 and in the neutral position against Elijah Demmer from Western Dubuque with 8 seconds left in the 3rd period when he got thrown to his back and pinned in 5:59. It was some good, heads-up wrestling by Demmer, but obviously just agonizing for Hefley. That’s how close he was to placing in HS. HOWEVER, while that was an unfortunate moment, one should not forget his better moments! For example, he was a 2X MVC Conference Champion, which is one of the toughest conferences in the state of Iowa.

In the youth scene, he was always really good for the City High MatPac Club and was always one of the most loyal members of the club. He actually won a youth state title or to for them.

Kyle has a family history with IC High wrestling. This is what he had to say about his family’s wrestling history and how much City High Wrestling means to him.

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

Kyle Hefley: My grandpa (Richard Gordon) wrestled for City High in the 1960’s. He was a two time state qualifier. The first time I walked into the City High Wrestling room for MatPac practice my mom showed me his name on the wall. I said, “I want my name on that wall, too!”

 

PINDOX: What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?

KYLE HEFLEY:  wrestled for Iowa City MatPac. It was a great experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better club to learn from. I would call it more of a family than a club. During matches if a coach couldn’t get to a mat, a dad or two would be in the corner, and often many of my teammates would be in the corner cheering me on too. My coaches helped form the person I am today. The MatPac Coaches, Marcus Kurtz and Matt Egeland are great with the youth. They build strong relationships and help the wrestlers believe in themselves.

Kyle went on to wrestle at Central College in Pella and in his time there, he is able to get some time in doing one of his favorite hobbies… fishing!  Check out this catfish he caught at Lake Red Rock near Pella!

Great job, Kyle!

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Robert Avila Jr.,Iowa City West

 

I remember when the news initially hit the Iowa HS wrestling community that an elite Nevada Freshman named Robert Avila was moving to Lisbon and would occupy a weight in the 120-132 lb. range, the big debate was, “yeah ok, he was good in Nevada, but can he do it here (Iowa)?” He has since won 3 state championship and has gone 52-1, 45-0 and 34-0 in his first 3 seasons for a career record of 131-1. He is also able to routinely pull off all sorts of various acrobatics in his matches that puts his extreme athleticism on display.  He looks like Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat out there when he wrestles with the somersaults that he will execute mid-motion to give himself a better angle or position to work his offense. The state of Iowa has never seen anything quite like him. He is 100% unique.

Robert is actually undefeated in his career in Iowa competition. His one loss was against Travis Ford-Melton from Chicago, IL when he was a Freshman. In his HS career so far, he has pulled off huge wins over fellow state champions; Hunter Garvin from IC West, Caleb Rathjen from Ankeny, Hayden Taylor from Solon, Aiden Riggins from W-SR, Joe Pins from Dubuque Hempstead, among others, I’m sure. All of those guys have been successful not only at the state level, but the national level.

As a Junior last year, Avila went 34-0 with 27 pins, 2 technical falls, 2 major decisions and 2 decisions. His falls were quick… 22 out of 27 of them were called in the first period. 11 of these were in the first minute, including one fall in :07 and another in :11.

Simply put, he’s one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever witnessed go through the Iowa HS wrestling scene. A GOAT article on him in the future is pretty much a certainty. The kid is absolutely the real deal. The “can this Nevada kid roll with the big boys in Iowa” debate should be squashed by now and if anything, we could probably learn a few things from the coaches in Nevada and California who helped him get to the level he was at before moving to Iowa, in which Iowa is where his skill-set has been polished and fine-tuned.

If you are wondering if Robert is a guy who can compete at the D1 level, without listing names or locations, I will say this: There is a person who I trust 100% of what they tell me. This person was at a camp over the summer in which Avila was in attendance. Avila was working out with a guy who graduated college as a multi-D1 NCAA AA who may have won it in 2020 had COVID not ruined everything.  Avila put this guy on his back…. It was the summer after his Junior season, and Avila put one of the best collegiate wrestlers to his back. That normally doesn’t happen with the average elite recruit freshman. Usually it takes a few weeks to months of being in a college room before they are able to do something like that. Goes to show you how much potential Robert Avila Jr. has.

And on top of all the accolades, he is an incredibly impressive person off the mat. I’ve gotten to know him a bit the past year or so and you couldn’t ask for a more friendly, polite and unassuming person who respects everyone and tries to see the best in people of all walks of life. He’s also a fantastic, eloquent writer.

Meet one of the best HS wrestlers in the state,  Robert Avila Jr!


PINDOX: When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?

ROBERT AVILA: I believe I started when I was 3. Grandfather wrestled back in the day and his sons wrestled when they were in HS and I was much younger, so I was around it at a young age. My parents kind of just let me have at it.


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

ROBERT AVILA: I think I caught in pretty quick. Wrestling in general is a process, there’s always something to learn. Nobody ever knows absolutely everything, but as far as a learning standpoint, I kind of got the hang out it pretty quick and it all just felt almost natural to me.


PINDOX: What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?

ROBERT AVILA: Oh man there is a LOT of, not necessarily clubs that I wrestled for, but that I trained with so I’ll name a couple. Pounders WC is pretty much where I started (shout out to Eddie and Camilo) and I mean there will never be anything like what we had going on in there. You can ask anybody you want that was in that room and they would tell you how awesome it was. I can give a HUGE list of great wrestlers that wrestled there and trained some point in their careers and send it over sometime. Imo, there was never a better room. Coach/Athlete relationships were great. And the brotherhood we had and the friendships the majority of us kept all these years was and is irreplaceable. In California, I Would go to some high school club practices in Alto Loma, Sultana, Victorville, wherever I could get a practice in. In Vegas, I started off with Green Valley, which that club kinda moved on, separated, and became Slam Wrestling Academy. I would go to many high school practices there as well. Las Vegas HS, Western HS, Valley HS, Bishop Gorman, again wherever I could just get a practice in.


PINDOX: How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?

ROBERT AVILA: Kind of all over the place. Really not sure how I did in California, I remember some specific matchups but not end results of tournaments. When I moved to Nevada,  I did Farley well. Won a few times when I was younger then moved back to Cali where I don’t think I really competed at state for a few years, but then when I went back to Vegas, I know I Triple-Crowned at least twice and had a few other individual style titles as well…I know I placed in all of them I wrestled in for sure. Then obviously I moved here my 8th grade year


PINDOX: How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level to this point?

ROBERT AVILA: Freshman- 1st (126lbs)

Sophomore- 1st (132lbs)

Junior- 1st (145lbs)


PINDOX: Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?

ROBERT AVILA: Only one mind really comes to mind. And that would be Brent Metcalf. I was literally his biggest fan when I was younger watching him and the rest of the Hawkeyes compete. Fun fact: he was actually kind of the reason I began to like Iowa wrestling.  I remember going to a tournament in Vegas with my uncle just to see specifically him wrestle. Got a singlet and a couple other things signed by him and I had an absolute blast watching him in person. I was also blown away by the fact that he was coaching cadet duals when I first moved out here and he was like my “chaperone” in 8th grade and coached me for the week. I did miss weight for one of the styles so obviously that was ridiculous of me and pretty embarrassing, lol (especially being my first time missing weight) but it was like the coolest thing ever when I realized he was gonna be coaching me literally right after I had moved into the state and him being the main reason why I loved the state of Iowa in the first place.

 

PINDOX: Who have been some of your toughest competitors in HS to this point in your career?

ROBERT AVILA: I’ve wrestled a lot of good and great kids lol. Can’t really name a couple because then I’d have to name them all and I don’t want to miss any. However, I have mad respect for all of them.

 

PINDOX: What was your most memorable state tournament?

ROBERT AVILA: Obviously I’m not at Lisbon anymore but one of the coolest moments as far as a team was the dual against Bosco in the state dual finals my sophomore year. I believe we were down 21 -0 right out the gate. We then took the next 5 matches and the score was 21-18, if I’m not mistaken. We dropped a match and were down 24-18 going into my match so I definitely needed the fall for us to have a little cushion. Definitely needed bonus points. We were lookin for a fall in hopes that Cael Happel would follow with one as well and we’d keep the train rolling into Marshall Hauck’s match and leave it up to him. I didn’t even have the major yet (believe it was only like a 5 point lead. 8-3 or something) going into the 3rd. I knew I had to at least get the major and once I had that locked up with about a minute left, I put the foot on the gas and had to go for the tech and ended up putting him in his back with like 10 seconds left and it was like 18-8. I knew with the near fall I had the tech locked up for sure at least, and somehow I was able to flatten him out and the ref called the pin with 1 second left. Cael followed my match with a pin then we got pinned. 30-30 going into the final match and of course Marshall locked it up and got the fall.

Probably One of the greatest duals ever. And to follow that, got the dub on Saturday night.  I believe we went 4 for 5 in the finals. Not sure if all those stats/numbers are correct so someone could fact check that, lol.

 

PINDOX: What are your wrestling goals for this coming season?

ROBERT AVILA: Completely Dominate whoever I wrestle.

 

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

ROBERT AVILA: A mixture of everything. The only person I could compare it to is myself really. Bits and pieces of a lot of different wrestlers/coaches technique(s) that I’ve mixed into my own way of wrestling… I’d consider it unique.

 

PINDOX: Do you have any regrets from wrestling that you want to make up for as a Senior?

ROBERT AVILA: No.


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

ROBERT AVILA: I’ve played soccer my freshman year…did fairly well. Season got canceled sophomore year and didn’t get to play last summer had a lot going on. Most likely will be going out this year, maybe tennis instead though. I will have to decide later. Football was like “whatever.” Felt the same with baseball. Football is kind of boring to me. I do love baseball though.


PINDOX: What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?

ROBERT AVILA: Anything outdoors or just messing around with the boys. I do enjoy playing all different types of sports for fun


PINDOX: What is some of the best advice you ever received?

ROBERT AVILA: “Congrats you won a Tulsa title a couple days ago over the weekend. But this is today, that crap doesn’t matter anymore. That’s old news, now we go to the next thing which is this practice today” -Eddie Aguirre


PINDOX: Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?

ROBERT AVILA: Just do you. If someone tells you you can’t do a technique a certain way and that it doesn’t work that way, always test it out before throwing it out the window because it might actually work for you. A lot of techniques I come up with are based off of proving people wrong…probably not a good thing to let pride get in the way but it is a good thing to kinda trial and error


PINDOX: What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?

ROBERT AVILA: Folkstyle>Greco>freestyle (freestyle is awful).


PINDOX: What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching? Do you have interest in MMA?

ROBERT AVILA: Most likely going to study business. (Undecided college). I plan on wrestling until I’m old and can’t get out of my couch one day…even then I’ll have someone come get me And take me to practice. I have a very high interest competing in mostly all professional fighting types in the future whether that may be boxing, kickboxing or MMA.

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PINDOX PROFILE: Nick Ackerman; Colfax-Mingo HS ‘97/Simpson College

In 1997, Nick Ackerman of Colfax-Mingo placed 6th at state at a loaded 1A 152 lb. bracket. And he did so as a man who had both of his legs amputated as a baby due to acquiring bacterial meningitis. And what makes it even more impressive are the matches he had to win in order to make the podium. Nick won his first match over Clay Youngblut, who was from Don Bosco and had a rich familial history in wrestling. Youngblut had been to state before as a Sophomore and had a dazzling record of 38-0 coming into the tournament. Nick Ackerman defeated Youngblut first round by the score of 11-9. Ackerman then dominated Erik Jorgensen of Clarion-Goldfield by the score of 17-4, securing Nick’s spot into the top 6 and on to the podium. Nick did end up losing his next 3 matches to place 6th, but the point had been made clear… Nick Ackerman was a one of a kind athlete who was capable of doing things you previously thought you’d only see happen in movies.


And he was just getting started.

Ackerman went on to wrestle at D3 Simpson College and in 2001 he made National headlines when he defeated the heavily favored Nick Slack of Augsburg in the NCAA D3 Finals, making Nick the 2001 D3 174 lb. National champion.

This achievement was so impressive and held by the masses in such high regard that he was awarded the 2001 Hodge Trophy with Cael Sanderson of Iowa State who had just made history at the D1 level himself becoming the only D1 wrestler in history to be a 4X undefeated NCAA D1 wrestling champion (and still is to this day).

And to think that if Nick hadn’t lost his legs as a baby, that he would likely be a basketball player. A 174 lb. double-amputee… think about how tall he would have been if he had kept his legs! I’m guessing that he would have excelled in basketball as well, for what he accomplished takes guts.

And he didn’t stop making an impact there.

Nick is now the Director of Prosthetics at American Prosthetics and Orthotics, a position he has held since 2001.  With that said, since Nick graduated college, he has dedicated his life to helping those with functional limitations due to accident, illness or birth defect.


You will be hard-pressed to find a more respectable human being than Nick Ackerman. The world is a better place because of him.

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PINDOX PROFILE: Kyler Rieck; Spirit Lake Park/Minnesota State Mankato/Legends Of Gold

Kyler Rieck… One of my favorite Iowa HS wrestlers of the past few years. A wizard on the mat and one of the funniest people off the mat. Here’s an example…I interviewed Kyler at state in 2019. Kyler has gone bear hunting and when I asked which of the two are more intense, wrestling or bear hunting, he quickly replied, “wrestling!” The way he said it was priceless.

Kyler’s wrestling journey began long before he was born given his family history with the sport. He was introduced to it by his Grandpa Stan Krosch and his uncle. They started the wrestling program at Kingsley-Pierson HS in 1965. His mom was a cheerleader/manager/etc. for the Kingsley-Pierson team. Kyler’s uncle, Jason Krosch placed 4th at state in his day. Kyler’s initial personal experience with wrestling was when his uncle Jake would show him moves at family get-togethers as a kid and it expanded from there.

Kyler did not jump out to a fast start in his first few years of wrestling, but things gradually got better for him and the cool thing was, he never hit a wall in his development. Always improved…every single year. By the time he was a 6th grader, he was one of the top placers at his weight, placing 3rd at AAU State that year. The next year when Kyler was a 7th grader was when he hit my radar. It seemed like every big tournament we went to, he would be in future 4X state champion, Alex Thomsen from Underwood’s bracket and always seemed destined to have to wrestle him. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, for on multiple occasions, these matchups took place in the finals. Thomsen was in the grade above Kyler and had his foot firmly set on the accelerator by that time. He was getting REALLY good, really quickly and destroyed almost everyone he wrestled at that point. Kyler, a 7th grader, gave Alex some of his better matches of the season. Kyler ended up placing 2nd at state that year which is great for a 7th grader. As an 8th grader, he won it and did so by winning a couple huge matches over future HS State Champs, Lucas Roland of PCM 10-9 and Anthony Zach of Waukee 4-0… Kyler tore some ligaments in this tournament and wrestled the finals match basically with one arm. Kyler’s toughness was on full-display along with his high wrestling IQ by this point and he was more or less known as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers of his grade.

When Kyler got to HS, he was in some straight-up cobra pits for brackets and fared well. Head Coach Andrew Lundgren did a phenomenal job with him. He placed 4th as a Freshman, DNP as a SO, 2ND as a JR and won it as a SR at 2A 152 in 2019. At state, he avenged his only loss of the regular season by defeating Easton Graff of Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the semis. One of the most exciting matches of the tournament.


One of the coolest things of the entire finals round that year was the fact that mere seconds after he won his state title, his longtime best friend and practice partner, Kory Van Oort of West Sioux won his own state championship on the 1A mat. I noticed something funny about when Kyler was given his gold medal on the podium. When he bent down for his coach to put the medal around his neck, you can see his parents cheering directly behind where his head was in the video…and then you can’t see them again when he stands back up. It’s pretty cool.

Kyler’s wrestling was fun to watch. He was rather aggressive and offensive on his feet, always moving on bottom, and always working for a fall on top. He would willingly engage in “battle of the wills” type situations when trying to turn someone on top and would punish guys for trying to interfere with his mission by means of grinding, putting constant pressure on them and being outright physical until his opponent clearly wanted off the mat. He was good in scramble situations, too… There would be situations where he would appear to be going to his back, but he would somehow end up with his opponent on their backs. I know this for a fact, for one of the biggest wins of his career was a close semi-console win over my brother Brennan at state when he was a Freshman and after that match finished, we were utterly confused as to how he was able to get out of a few situations where we thought we had him in trouble, but obviously didn’t. He wrestled a great match against Brennan. Kyler seems to have great “mat-sense.” He acquired this bruising, mat-savvy style by training at one of the best wrestling clubs in the Midwest, Legends of Gold… At LOG, Terry Pack & Josh Nolan played a huge part in his success. He practiced there all-year long throughout the majority of his career.

 

After HS, Kyler went on to wrestle at Minnesota State Mankato and from what I heard has battled some injuries, but is still grinding through it.

When I interviewed Kyler a couple years ago, he had some good advice for upcoming wrestlers:

KYLER RIECK: My advice to the upcomers would be to just enjoy every moment. Some of the workouts and stuff suck, but one day you won’t be able to go back and do it again. Just enjoy every little thing.

Kyler is an avid hunter off the mat. In this same interview, he chronicled a couple of his most crazy hunting experiences.

 

PINDOX:What are some of your hobbies off the mat?

KYLER RIECK: My favorite hobby is definitely hunting. I love the outdoors. I love bow hunting white tails, I also hunt turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, bears, and I am headed to Africa this summer.

PINDOX: What is your favorite hunting story?

KYLER RIECK: My favorite hunting story is the first mature whitetailed buck that I shot with my bow. It was spot and stalk, I got so close to the buck that it ended up being a 3 yard shot. It was the most intense thing I have ever done. That definitely got me hooked on bow hunting mature white tailed bucks. Another time I was hunting with my buddy Bryce and we split up. It got dark and Bryce didn’t meet up with me where and when he said he would after we were done hunting for the day. I ended up searching for him until I found him laying passes out in a drainage. He was running along a creek and fell and hit his head on a piece of concrete. I had to carry him a mile back to the truck on my shoulder. I woke him up and he had no idea where he was or what was happening. It was pretty scary.

2016 2A 138

1 Ryan Leisure (Jr.) Clear Lake

2 Wyatt Thompson (Sr.) Creston-OM

3 Austin Staudt (Sr.) Charles City

4 Kyler Rieck (Fr.) Spirit Lake Park

5 Brennan Swafford (So.) Mediapolis

6 Tanner Abbas (So.) Clarion-Goldfield-Dows

7 Lucas Roland (Fr.) PCM

8 Kirk Mommsen (Sr.) Davenport Assumption

 


2018 2A 152

1 Isaac Judge (Sr.) South Tama

2 Kyler Rieck (Jr.) Spirit Lake Park

3 Joe Kelly (Sr.) West Liberty

4 Skyler Noftsger (Jr.) Ballard

5 Mitchel Mangold (Jr.) West Delaware

6 Zack Bevans (Jr.) Solon

7 Dylan Koresh (Jr.) Charles City

8 Justin McCunn (So.) Red Oak

 


2019 2A-152

1 Kyler Rieck of Spirit Lake Park

2 Adam Ahrendsen of Union

3 Scott Betterton of Vinton-Shellsburg

4 Easton Graff of Sergeant Bluff-Luton

5 Mitchel Mangold of West Delaware

6 Braxton Doebel of Clear Lake

7 Coy Ruess of West Liberty

8 Connor Pellett of Atlantic

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PINDOX PROFILE: Rob and Rick Rhum; Mediapolis HS ‘81/Simpson College

A couple of brothers who have been part of the Mediapolis Wrestling program for years are the Rhum Brothers, Rob and Rick. Both are big guys. Rob has shown a penchant over the years for knowing how to get through to the heavyweight wrestlers in a manner in which they understand it or how it relates to them, which is a valuable skill to have, considering a middle-sized coach may show the group as a whole a plethora of moves that seem to work much better for the lighter guys than they do for the big guys. Every wrestling room needs a big Coach that is able to work with the big guys, sometimes as their own little “cohort,” for the technique that applies to them can differ so much. Rob Rhum has done a great job in this role for decades as well as fulfilling the role of coaching up the other guys as well. Rob has been a rather successful assistant coach considering the success the team has had when he’s been there as well as the guys he spends extra time with, repeatedly going on to have nice postseason results. Rob coached at Muscatine HS until 2013 when he came to Mepo. I’m not sure when he started coaching at Muscatine, but he left the squad as a universally liked, room-favorite by the wrestlers that came from Muscatine while he was there. Everyone loved Coach Rob Rhum at Muscatine…they talked about it with us. And when he came to Mepo, he was well-liked here, too. He’s real good at expressing his concerns he may have with a particular wrestler without sounding like he’s mad, annoyed or judging that person. He makes it clear that he is there to help, not come off as condescending, and the kids appreciate him for that. Rob has been such a staple at Mepo events the past month that he is starting to seem like a “staple” in that room. It’s almost difficult to imagine the room without him.

And Rob’s brother, Rick was an absolute hammer.

In HS, Rick qualified for the state tournament for the first time ever and lost his first match to Scott McKillipp of West Liberty by the score of 3-2. McKillip did not make the finals,  so Rick was forced to chalk this one up as good experience for the next year.

The next year as a Senior, Rick defeated his first guy, Carl Hayes via fall and then went up against the returning state champion, Tom Dole from Algona, in which he lost 6-5. Dole did end up making the finals, so Rick was awarded a wrestle-back. He pinned his first kid, Paul Cuvelier of Turkey Valley. Rick was officially in the top 6 at state. He was sent to 5th and 6th by losing to Joe Johnson of St. Angsar. Johnson would go on to get 3rd, Rhum would ultimately place 5th after he pinned Todd Kesterson for 5th-6th place. So in his Senior year state tournament, Rick pinned all three of the guys he defeated. Pretty cool really.

And then Rick Rhum went off to wrestle for Drake University and Simpson College. Every time someone sees something on PinDox about Drake wrestling or Simpson wrestling, I receive a pm from someone telling me about this big, huge badass that they had on the team named Rick Rhum. It’s probably happened 15 times.  Rick ended up being a letterwinner at Drake University and somehow ended up at Simpson for his last couple-two years. It was there where he really stepped into his own. In 1984, Rick became a National Qualifier for Simpson and won his first match, lost his 2nd match and the went on to dominate the next two guys to solidify his All-American credentials. He ended up placing 5th and his name is now in the record books forever because of it.

1981 2A Super Heavyweight

    1. Tom Dole, Sr., Algona

    2. Larry Kerr, Jr., Washington

    3. Joe Johnson, Jr., Saint Ansgar

    4. Douglas Lamn, Sr., Storm Lake

    5. Rick Ruhm, Sr., Mediapolis

    6. Todd Kesterson, Jr., Tiffin-Clear Creek

 

 


1983 NCAA Division 3 Nationals 5th HWT

1 Steve Gliva

2 Bob Panariello

3 Mike Suk

4 Mike Baker

5 Rick Rhum

6 Larry Stern

 

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PINDOX PROFILE: Zach Barnes; SE Polk ‘17/Campbell

Zach Barnes; SE Polk ‘17/Campbell


In the 1980’s, there was a lower-middleweight wrestler from Bondurant-Farrar who was a standout on the team, but had just terrible luck when it came to the state tournament. His name was Shannon Barnes and in 1987 he qualified for state at 1A 132 with a 20-3 record, won his first match at state, lost in the quarterfinals and could not wrestle back because the guy who beat him did not make the finals. In 1988, Shannon qualified for state again, this time at 1A 138 and with an undefeated record of 30-0 and won his first match at state again. He was defeated in the quarterfinals again and was not given a wrestle back for the 2nd year in a row, for the guy who beat him in the quarterfinals did not make the finals again. Shannon finished with a record of 31-1 his Senior year and did not place… can you believe that? If there’s anyone I’ve heard of who epitomizes just how screwed over these guys back in the days used to get because of the ridiculous wrestle-back rules, it is surely him. It still boggles me a system like that was ever put into place.


With that said, 29 years later, when Shannon’s son, Zach Barnes of SE Polk won his first state title in his final try, it likely alleviated some deep-seeded anger or anxiety he may have had due to his own shortcomings. I mean, what a relief.

And Zach wasn’t exactly the “lucky” type himself. He never was. Ever since he was a little kid, Zach Barnes was always one of the top guys in the grade and gave some of the states best pound for pound guys like Alex Thomsen, Grant Stotts and Nelson Brands just absolute fits, but sometimes he would have an “off” tournament at the exact wrong time. I mean, sometimes he would do what was expected of him by everyone and win it, but other times, his results provoked a great deal of head-scratching. Sometimes he would be beaten at state by someone he had dismantled several times in the regular season. He did have a knack for sealing the deal in his final tries of both AAU and HS State, though. He won AAU as an 8th grader at C-95 in 2013 and looked absolutely dominant against great competition in doing so.

He won 3A 145 as a Senior in 2017, though. He defeated returning state champ, Grant Stotts from Valley in the finals by the score of 5-1. Stotts and Barnes probably met up 20 times since they were little kids and there was a streak there where Stotts used to have the upper hand. However, Barnes owner the rivalry his Senior year. Those two met up 4 times that year and Barnes won 4 close matches. Pretty impressive.

The way Barnes beat people was just methodical as hell. He knew how to blow the score up once he got some positive momentum going. You didn’t want to get in an early hole against him, because chances were, you were doomed if that happened. And he worked his tail off in practice. I know this by watching him, my brother Brennan and Nathan Lendt just push the hell out of each other in these practices in Moravia that were conducted by Moravia runner-up, Jamie Cochrane. Those were some of the best youth wrestling practices I ever witnessed.

In the years prior to his Senior year, Barnes had placed 5th as a Freshman in 2014 at 3A 113 and 3rd as a Junior in 2016 at 3A 138. His Junior year was likely expecially frustrating, for the guy who beat him in the quarterfinals and went on to win the bracket was Sophomore, Nelson Brands of IC West. Barnes, to that point had owned Nelson for years. And when I say that, I mean, he teched him at state as an 8th grader, teched him when Nelson was a Freshman in HS the year before, beat him 9-3 during the regular season a few short weeks before they met at state, etc. He lost the big one at state, thought and it had to have stung. He fought back hard and beat some great wrestlers on the consolation side and placed 3rd.


The crazy thing about his little rivalry with Brands is the fact that their familial rivalry actually began a generation before when Tom and Terry were competing in HS/College. If there was anyone who could be labeled as Nelson Brands’s kryptonite, it’d be Zach Barnes for sure. If there was someone who seemed to have Tom and Terry’s number in HS/college, it was 3X State Champion/NCAA D1 Champion, Jason Kelber of State Center, West Marshall. Kelber defeated Tom Brands in the finals at state in 1987 and would be defeated by Terry Brands in the D1 NCAA finals in 1990 and would avenge the loss by defeating Terry in the NCAA Finals in 1991. Crazy thing is, Kelber is Zach Barnes’s cousin. Small world, ain’t it?

Barnes finished with a career record of 153-15.  He won state freestyle as a Senior and defeated 2X Fort Dodge state champion, Triston Lara in doing so. Zach also beat Triston at an IAwrestle-sponsored dual meet called Night Of Conflict. Zach won a USA Wrestling Folkstyle National Title in 2017, was a USA Wrestling Freestyle All-American, was a three-time USA Wrestling Folkstyle All-American, and was selected to the 2017 Wrestling USA High School All-American Honorable Mention Team. He was a highly-touted recruit by the time he was a Senior and rightfully so.


Zach committed to wrestle D1 at Campbell University. He has wrestled 3 seasons for them and in those seasons, he has experienced his share of peaks and valleys. He has had some big wins and some frustrating losses. I can’t help, but wonder if he has experienced some injuries the past couple years because his results do not reflect how good he is. Last season he did not have any matches, but he was and still is on the roster. I’m not sure how much eligibility he has left, but you can’t ever count Zach Barnes out. He’s proven time and time again that he is able to pull off some big wins when he is down to his last chance to do so.

Zach Barnes… one of the most methodical and technically sound wrestlers of the 2010’s.

 

2014 3A 113

1 Jacob Schwarm, Bettendorf

2 Henry Pohlmeyer, Johnston

3 Chase Lynn, Dub Senior

4 Tanner Rohweder IC West

5 Nolan Hromidko of CR Kennedy

6 Zach Barnes of Waukee

7 Noah Ajram, Linn-Mar

8 Jorge Partida, Den-Schleswig


2016 3A 138

1 Nelson Brands (So.) Iowa City West

2 Clint Lembeck (Sr.) CR Xavier

3 Zach Barnes (Jr.) SE Polk

4 Alex Streicher (Jr.) Linn Mar

5 Jackson Gallagher (Sr.) Bettendorf

6 Nick Graham (Fr.) Johnston

7 Noah Carr (Sr.) WDM Valley

8 Dain Gansen (Sr.) Western Dubuque

 

2017 3A 145

1 Zach Barnes (Sr.) SE Polk

2 Grant Stotts (Jr.) WDM Valley

3 Josh Gerke (Sr.) CR Xavier

4 Nick Graham (So.) Johnston

5 Trevor Anderson (Jr.) Glenwood

6 Mason Hulse (Jr.) Boone

7 Caleb Conway (Sr.) Marion

8 Tyler Hirl (Sr.) Norwalk

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PINDOX PROFILE: CJ Walrath; Notre Dame HS ‘23/DC Elite

CJ Walrath; Notre Dame HS ‘23/DC Elite

In an era of Southeast Iowa wrestling where we have a guy (Marcel Lopez) who is on pace to become the first ever 4X state champion to come from the SEISC, CJ Walrath also sticks out, for he was an absolute wrecking ball as a Sophomore at 2A 170 this season… To be fair, this kid has always been a wrecking ball in SE Iowa growing up, most years placing in the top 3-4 at AAU State and winning Grade School State a couple-few times. This year though, CJ Walrath bulldozed his way to one of the best seasons I can remember a Sophomore from my area having. A giant leap from a disappointing Freshman campaign that was plagued by injuries. This kid as a Sophomore was at a weight that is typically overcrowded by Seniors (170)…and he came into state undefeated with over 40 wins and placed 3rd… His only loss of the season came in the semis at the state tournament to the eventual champion, Carson Babcock by a score of 6-3. And get this, his closest match coming into the state tournament…an 11-2 win over the guy who placed 8th at state in his bracket, Logan Waltz of Camanche. And get this, CJ only had 3 other matches besides Waltz during the regular season in which he did not pin his opponent…and get this, all, but 2 of his pins in the regular season came in the first period. For a Sophomore at 170 lbs, that is just plain incredible.

At state, Walrath had a rare, close 3-1 win over Kalen Meyer of CL-G-R… he wrestled Meyer again for 3rd and 4th and pinned him. If this kid is putting up stats like these as a Sophomore, I can’t imagine how “Mike Tyson-esque” his statline will appear when he is a Senior.

It doesn’t appear that CJ competes in the “standard” national/offseason tourneys that many do, but he did compete in the AAU Scholastic Duals, where the team he was a member of, Iowa Black, wrestled in 11 duals… How did CJ do at this, you may be wondering?

2021 AAU Scholastic Duals (06/22 – 06/27/2021)
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Randolph Pyrzewski (Michigan Freeze) Dec 9-2
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Cutter Jones (Montana White) Fall 2:53
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Avery Dickerson (Michigan Blue AS) Fall 3:44
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Justin Griffith (Delaware) Maj 14-5
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Wyatt Haynes (STL Black) Maj 13-0
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Bradley Hornback (East Side Wrestling) Fall 1:57
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Kyle Grey (Backyard Boyz White) Maj 10-1
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Jamal Lewis (Nauman Blue) Dec 5-0
170 – Clinton Walrath (Iowa Black) over Vaughn Spencer (Nauman Blue) Dec 4-3

CJ has been trained in the club wrestling scene by Johnny Siegel and Dusty Coufal in one of the state of Iowa’s most consistently excellent wrestling clubs, DC Elite.

This kid may be on pace to becoming one of Southeast Iowa’s best ever wrestlers. Actually, scratch that… he has already earned that status with his Sophomore season alone. At this rate and especially if he continues to accelerate through college, he may have a case for being SE Iowa’s best ever wrestler. I bet the college recruiters will be knocking his door down when he’s a Senior and if they don’t, they definitely should be.

Keep making SE Iowa proud, kid!

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