JIMMY WATERS, LEWIS CENTRAL
Let’s start with Jimmy Waters. Does anyone remember watching how elite he was as a Junior and Senior? He was incredible. I’m really not sure I’ve seen anyone better when he was at his peak. One of the best ever, IMO. Won it every year except his Freshman season, but he deserves a break there… he was a middle weight sized Freshman who was up against one of the most talented kids in the entire 2004 graduating class, Bryce Carruthers, from CB Thomas Jefferson. And he did fine against him. I wish I had access to more than just his Freshman match. He’s definitely one of my favorites… especially with me being a big multi-sporter fan… Jimmy is the poster boy for “elite multi-sporter wrestler.”
IKE LIGHT, LISBON
Ike was a 3 timer going into his Senior season and lost in the semifinals to Dr. Dan Gabrielson from Belmond-Klemme, who is also a great wrestler. It is impressive that Ike won the 3 he did with the insane talent pool that those guys had year in, year out in that weight range. There are a few unfortunate things about how all this went down. For one, since Ike was from Lisbon, a powerhouse, the entire auditorium excluding the Lisbon fans, many of whom were crying due to feeling so bad for Ike, essentially gave Dan a standing ovation after the match when it was anticipated that Ike would have been the one receiving that ovation had he made the finals and won that match. It’s also unfortunate that a large part of his legacy seems to be defined by that one tournament and he has been inquired about it by countless media sources including myself to weigh in on the matter, in which it’s likely not something he wants to re-live. Prior to Adam Allard this year, he was the only 3 timer to get beat at state his Senior year. Those Senior season tournaments should not define their legacies by any means. Ike was a great wrestler.
THE NEXT 3 ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON…. THEY HAD RUN-INS WITH THIS GUY WHEN THE STAKES WERE HIGH:
DYLAN PETERS, DENVER-TRIPOLI
Peters was a fan favorite because he was so fun to watch and had the world’s most deadly pancake or whip-over. If a guy shot and Peters sprawled and locked up a front-headlock, the moment the opponent would lift their right arm up or the moment Peters would manually lift the guys right elbow up, BOOM! Peters would strike like a Cobra with that pancake and put them away. He placed 2nd at state behind Alex Spooner as an undersized Freshman. Crazy thing was, Peters was undersized in that match (I heard he weighed 88 lbs) and he had spent some time switching off on varsity with his teammate and now fellow coach at Simpson, Gunnar Wolfensperger. Peters basically blew through everyone his final 3 years, but Farris was an exception. Those two met in the quarters their senior years and Peters pinned Farris in OT. It was CLOSE though… if there were just one more second on the clock in the 3rd period, Farris may have won the match with the spladle he executed right at the end. One of the best matches to ever take place at Iowa State tournament.
TYLER SHULISTA, ALBURNETT
When Shulista was in youth, Alburnett and Mepo dominated the AAU state tourneys every year. It was cool seeing a couple small-town, homegrown programs consistently make the most noise at those tournaments. Alburnett was awesome. Had a great run and the Shulista family may be THE biggest reason for that considering the practice facility and atmosphere they produced. The only year Tyler did not win state was his Freshman season. He was defeated by Sawyer Farris at state that year. Those two met several times in HS and I think that’s the one time Farris beat Shulista. Tyler also has a connection with Ike Light. Ike helped coach Tyler and I believe they became such good friends that Shulista was in Ike’s wedding. It is likely that Ike coached Shulista to try to prepare for Farris.
TOPHER CARTON, DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION
I personally classify Topher Carton along with Adam Allard and Ike Light as guys who were 3 timers, that did not win state as Seniors, but several don’t, for Topher won 2 of his titles in (gasp!) Illinois. I grew up literally a couple miles across the bridge from Illinois and still live there and I can say with confidence, wrestling in the Illinois HS scene is not a knock on a guy’s resume. I wrestled Illinois guys since I was a kid and wrestled with many of them in college. They were and still are legit. Great wrestling in Illinois. So many people wanted to see Carton lose when he transferred to Assumption, for he was the “transfer student” of his class that harshed some of our Iowans on the mat. I was included in this group. After he lost his finals match to future 4 timer, Brandon Sorensen as a Senior, the crowd cheered loud, for our Iowa guy defeated the Illinois guy. And what did Carton do? He looked Sorensen in the eye, shook his hand and did the same with the DT coaching staff. It was classy as hell and in retrospect, I feel like a jackass for ever rioting against him without knowing him. Oh! And the guy he beat in a close match in the finals his Junior year in Iowa? None other than Sawyer Farris.
* Sawyer Farris won state as a Freshman and then placed 3-2-3 the following years. He had 3 losses total at state those final 3 years and they had a combined 9 state championships. Kinda crazy.