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