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Remember The Wrestler: Tyler Shulista, Alburnett

My mom and dad had 4 boys. Me (37), Justin (35), Shea (23) and Brennan (21). Obviously, quite the age gap between the first two and the second two. I’m telling ya, if I wouldn’t have bought my parents that dang Boyz 2 Men CD, the younger two may not have happened. Anyways, this was unique, for it was like when Justin and my careers ended, Shea’s and Brennan’s began. And so many things changed from Justin and I’s youth days to theirs. For one, they started a state tournament for the Kindergarteners-2nd graders called Super Pee Wee. We didn’t have that and I was amazed at how good some of those Kindergarteners were. One thing that stood out immediately was that there was a purple squad that you saw everywhere. They had like 70 kids and their fanbase was 100% excited with what they had going on. You could tell. They were so happy for every one of their guys who did well, and all of them seemed to do that. I wondered who this team was and asked someone. “That’s Alburnett… a club from a small town in Alburnett, IA. They are a future powerhouse.” This was so interesting and cool to me for I hadn’t even heard of that town until then. I love it when something sparks in a small community like that. Later, I learned that a lot of them practiced at a facility called “The Barn” and it was orchestrated by a man named Shulista… an apparent genius wrestling coach. And he had two sons, Conner and Tyler… Tyler being the oldest. And they were both studs. Alburnett Wrestling is one of the most impressive waves that we have seen in the new millennium, for they were homegrown and had so much depth and talent at every weight. In that era of youth wrestling, Alburnett, Mepo and Fort Dodge were the best “home grown” programs that you don’t see as often anymore. And Mr. Shulista is the primary mastermind behind that. Let’s hear about his son, Tyler!!!


What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?

Alburnett Mat Pack, Prairie Hammerin’ Hawks, CVMC


What year did you graduate?



Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My father


Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?

My dad wrestled but never made it to state. My younger brother Conner was a 4 time state place winner and 1x state champ. 4th, 4th, 2nd, 1st.


What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

Placed at super pee wee all 3 years, placed at aau state every year and won it twice. 2006 and 2008.


What was your record in HS?

187-6 I believe.


How did you place at state every year?

3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st


What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?

Freshmen year making weight was my biggest and most adverse challenge. Also losing in the semi finals freshman year and getting through adversity and coming back to get 3rd.


How would you describe your wrestling style?

Aggressive, always going forward, little bit of funk.


How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?

Sawyer Farris beat me at state freshman year and never beat me again. Other losses were to a few 3a guys.


Who was your most influential coach?

Every one of my coaches had influenced me in their own way.


Was your team competitive in HS/college?

Yes we went to state duals my junior and senior year and we placed 3rd 3 years in a row at the traditional state tournament.


Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?

Joe Slaton


Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Cory Clark


Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Spencer Lee and Alex Marinelli


Alburnett had so many great wrestlers for a long run there… who are some of the best guys to come from Alburnett wrestling?

Chris Halblom, Hunter Washburn, Dylan Windfield, Conner Shulista, Bryce Paul, Tanner Sloan. Those were some state champs, then there was Colton Martin, Grant Henderson, Jaymus, Tanner Hoyer,  etc.


What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?

Classic rock and country.


If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?

Winning 4 state titles instead of 3.


What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Winning my 3rd state title, winning mr wrestler of the year award. And winning 1A wrestler of the year.


Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?

Connor Ryan, Eric DeVoss, Jack Hathaway, those were my top 3 losses.


Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?

Wrestled most of the year but took breaks as well.


How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?

Most guys today wouldn’t stand a chance maybe that’s biased but the kids aren’t as tough now as they were back then.


Did you wrestle after high school?

1 year a Coe College.


What other sports did you play?

Football and golf.


What are your favorite sports teams?

Iowa Hawkeyes, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings


What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Golfing, off roading, farming.


How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?

Pretty good knowing I’m influencing the younger generation.


How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?

It has taught me to never give up always keep working hard.


What do you do now?

Raise hogs.


Are you still involved with wrestling?

Coach Mat Pack and high school all at Alburnett .


Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Never give up and say you can’t!


Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?

Probably not but never say never


Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?

Ike light, Kane Thompson, Matt Ironside, Charlie Falck. Thank you guys for all your dedication in helping me and getting me to where I am today! Coached by some of the best guys out there!

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