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Remember The Wrestler: Lee Schweer, Tripoli


The Schweer’s are a HELLUVA wrestling family in Iowa.  I had heard of them for years, but never met one until I was in a group text with the fantasy wrestling league that I was part of… Lee’s nephew, Ben was in it and he was fun as hell to have in there.  When it was time to convert the 1985 State Finals matches, my attention was fully sparked when I heard the announcer mention Lee Schweer’s name, for I assumed this was the badass uncle of Ben’s that I had heard about. I didn’t expect to see one of the biggest rip-jobs I’ve ever witnessed in a wrestling match in my entire life.

Lee wrestled Dan Stephani from Northwood-Kensett in the finals…a 2X state champion Super HWT.  The official in this match made one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. At the end of the match, he did not award Lee a takedown that he HAD and it directly affected the outcome, for Lee was trailing by 1 point at the time and if Lee would have been awarded the 2 point takedown, he would have won the match by one point, for there were only a few seconds left on the clock.  Instead, they were called out of bounds and had to restart on their feet with a few measly seconds left, in which Lee almost took Stephani down again, but couldn’t quite secure his hips on time.  It was a terrible way to lose a match.  No disrespect intended to Danny Stephani…He was a phenomenal Hwt. in that era, one of the best and by all accounts, was an incredibly nice person, but I just felt Lee Schweer was on the receiving end of a terrible call in their Senior year state finals match.  

I mean, come on… you make the call… In what universe is this not a takedown?!?!


Lee Schweer was not standing on top of the podium at the conclusion of the 1985 Iowa HS State Tournament, but he was the state champion of that bracket in my eyes and I doubt very many people will disagree with that statement.  A popular and very good philosophy in wrestling is that you should alleviate all doubt when wrestling, so the outcome can not be decided by the official.  Well, I thought he alleviated ALL doubt in this one…That was a takedown 100 times out of 100 and he just happened to be unlucky enough that the official of that match scored a ranking of 0 out of 1,000,000 in terms of wrestling officiating competence.  I would have a hard time getting over this one, if I were Lee.  

And man was he good.  




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

Tripoli  Wrestling. 


What year did you graduate?



Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

 I got started because I had 2 brothers that wrestled.


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

 My two brothers. Gene did well. Al got 2nd and 5th at the state tournament. My oldest son, Wes injured his knee and qualified for districts. My son Craig also qualified for districts. 


What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

We didn’t do a lot of youth wrestling back then.


How did you place at state every year?

 Qualified as a Freshman, 4th as a Sophomore, 2nd as a Junior/Senior.


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

 Senior year state finals. Lost the match. Also tried out for the Iowa HS wrestling team…


How would you describe your wrestling style?

Old school and physical.


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

Mainly Dan Stephani. I won districts, he won at the state finals.


Who was your most influential coach?

Greg Eschweder and John Samuelson.


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

 My brothers.


Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Brandon Sorenson


I will just be honest, I felt you were ripped off in your Senior state finals match about as badly as I’ve ever seen anyone ripped off before.  I consider you to be a state champion. If I were to tell you that I felt you deserved that gold medal, would you disagree with me?

No. I worked hard to try to accomplish my goal of winning state that year.  It just didn’t work out that way.


Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?

Rich Greenlee of Waverly-Shell Rock and Watt Vering of Janesville.


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

70’s and 80’s rock and roll.


What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?

Definitely after the state finals my Senior year. That was a long drive home.


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

State finals 1985.


What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Just going out there and being able to compete in high school, I’d say. Also watching my sons wrestle and being competitive themselves.


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

The club scene wasn’t as big back then. It was just seasonal for me.


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

I think we could hold our own.  The technique has gotten good, but we were hard-nosed and tough and they wouldn’t stop the matches for ya if you felt hurt. We were physical.


Did you wrestle after high school?



What other sports did you play?

 I didn’t play other sports.


What are your favorite sports teams?

 Iowa State Cyclones


What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Restoring tractors, camping, fishing.


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

It feels good and it’s always neat to see young ones starting up in the sport and doing well.


How has wrestling shaped you as a person today?

We were taught that it takes hard work to be successful and it was true. The guys who were successful, put in the work and I think that applies to many areas of life.


What do you do now?

My brother and I own a repair business. I also farm.


Are you still involved with wrestling?

No, but I was when my sons were wrestling.


Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

It takes hard work to be successful and anymore, it seems like you need to do it year round to succeed.


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

Nope. I got the heart, just don’t got the knees for it anymore.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Doug Kardell February 19, 2021, 5:58 pm

    Enjoyed your article on Lee Schweer. Lee’s cousin fwd the article to me.
    I was wondering if you have state brackets from other years. My brother qualified his senior year in 1982 at 155#. He won his first match in an upset, but then lost 2nd round match. I’d love to surprise my brother with a picture of his bracket. Can you help?
    Doug Kardell

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