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Remember The Wrestler: Mark Griffin; Glenbard South/University of Dubuque

I don’t know Mark Griffin yet, but I surely will in the future, for this cat just took over the Mediapolis HS wrestling program! Since 1980 or so, there have only been two HC’s at Mepo. HOF’er Coach Dan Cummings was in charge from 1980-2016. Jason Payne was in charge from 2017-2021. And now Mark! Seems like an awesome dude and with his extensive Greco Roman knowledge/success, it’s gonna be fun watching Mepo wrestlers LAUNCH guys!

I asked Mark to do a Remember The Wrestler article in one of the first conversations I had with him, so the Mepo wrestling community as well as myself could learn about who he is and what led him to Mepo. Can’t wait to see what this man brings to the table!


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

College: University of Dubuque

Clubs: Izzy Style and Pinnacle Performance

High School: Glenbard South High School (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)


What year did you graduate?

2008 High School

2019 College


Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My middle school football coach encouraged me to try it!


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

I do not.


What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I started competing in 8th grade. I was one win away from being a state qualifier.


What was your record in HS? How did you place at state every year?


Junior Year 2006-2007 

140 LBS

Team Captain



Rank Honorable Mention

Conference Champion

Regional 1st Place Winner 

Sectional Qualifier

3rd at Freestyle State

2nd at Greco State

Fargo National Qualifier Both Styles

Represented Team Illinois and Took 1st at TEAM Greco Nationals


Senior Year 2007-2008

140 LBS

Team Captain



Ranked #7

29 Pins

120 Takedowns 

Holds Most Wins in a Single Season at 42 at Glenbard South High School

Conference Champion

Regional 1st Place Winner 

Sectional 2nd Place Winner

State 2A Qualifier Placed in the Top 12

Senior National Qualifier (Virginia Beach) (Folk Style)

Greco National Champion Northern Plains Iowa Regional Qualifier 

Greco State Champion

Fargo National Qualifier (Greco)

Did not wrestle freestyle

Represented Team Illinois and Took 1st at TEAM Greco Nationals


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


Since I started in 8th grade, freshmen and sophomore year were big learning years for me. I went about .500 each year.  With the amount of time, I spent putting into the sport, I wasn’t getting the results I thought I deserved. So instead of quitting I put everything I had into wrestling and joined both clubs during the summer and did Freestyle and Greco.


How would you describe your wrestling style?

I was a sweep single guy in high school for Folkstyle. I love to scramble. 2 on 1 and throws for Greco.


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

I was only able to face 2 opponents that I lost too. Both of them I beat the 2nd go around. (Geneva and Willowbrook)


Who was your most influential coach?

I’ve been very blessed with great coaches.

Mike Powell OPRF (Team Illinois Coach)

Izzy Martinez (Izzy Style)

Derrick Crenshaw (GBSHS Coach)

Jon McGovern (College Coach UD)

Paul Cleary (Mentor and Coached with Western Dubuque)


Was your team competitive in HS/college?

Unfortunately, no. We never had a little kid’s program which made it tough to get kids interested in the sport. Could never fill a line up. The other Glenbard’s (North, West, East) were all power houses with having big little kids program.  I did come back and coach the team to its first conference championship ever in 2012-2013. That was awesome to be a part of!


Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up? Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

My high school coach Derrick Crenshaw wrestled at U of Illinois. I looked up to him and wanted to follow in his footsteps to represent the state I grew up in. I enjoyed watching Mike Poeta and Troy Tirapelle. Of course, Dan Gable is the GOAT, but I’m excited to see what Spencer Lee accomplished over his career.


Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?

You never know what you’re going to get from me. I train to capitalize off my opponents mistakes, so it depends on what they do. I always make it exciting to watch!


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

Tony Ramos. I grew up with Tony. He was 2 years younger than I was. His brother and I were the same age. I loved his attitude and passion that he brought to the Hawkeyes.


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

I listened to a lot of punk/rock to get me going.


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

When I was eliminated from the state tournament my senior year. It was a big goal of mine to place at the tournament. It was heart breaking. I learned from it and made sure I didn’t lose in Greco and took home the state title.


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

Haha, don’t have a girlfriend.


What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Winning 2 National Championships with Team Illinois my junior and senior year. With not being on a good high school team it was an awesome and fun experience to win as a team and not just as an individual.


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

The year I graduated was the last year Illinois only had 2 classes. They now have 3 which has spread out a lot of the competition. I wrestled 2A as a small school in a STACKED class.


Did you wrestle after high school? What other sports did you play?

I wrestled at University of Dubuque at the age of 26 for 2 seasons. (Sophmore, and Junior Year)

I enjoyed playing football and baseball.


What are your favorite sports teams?

Chicago Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears! Iowa Hawkeyes are growing on me!


What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Staying fit! Love to eat! Haha enjoying time with the family and girlfriend.


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

It feels extremely good! If it wasn’t for the life lessons that I learned off and on the mat, I don’t think I would be in the position that I am today.


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

#WrestlingIsLife I approach life like it’s a wrestling match.



What do you do now?

I was just hired at Mediapolis CSD to teach PE and be the new Head Wrestling Coach. I will also be coaching JH football.


Are you still involved with wrestling?

I am currently volunteering time at DC Elite.


Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Take a chance and get out of your comfort zone and try wrestling. You wont regret it.


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

I will always wrestle to help my students out, but as far as tournaments, I think I am done. College career ended with a torn pectoral muscle.


Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Shout outs? Etc.

I’d like to give a shot out to my mom and dad. Without them none of this could be possible! I owe everything to them!


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ken+Crews August 9, 2021, 1:34 pm

    Thanks for the history and wish him the best

  • Doug Kelly August 11, 2021, 6:47 pm

    Glen Ellyn is a special place.. you learn values and hustle. Its competitive but for the right reasons. Im a West guy but the town is special. Good luck to you…

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