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PinDox Profile: Justin Koethe; IC West HS ‘12/Wisconsin/Grand View University

I remember in 2012, at 3A 160, the overwhelming favorite to win that bracket (according to people from Eastern Iowa anyways) was a fellow Senior named Justin Koethe. However, Koethe was beaten by a guy from SW Iowa who had his foot on the accelerator of his own HS career named Zeb Wahle from Lewis Central (who I’ve got one of these in the works for)… Wahle was a placer the year before and went on to have an incredibly decorated career at the D2 level. He beat Koethe in a hard-fought, 3-2 nail-biter in the state finals which was their second meeting of the season, the first one going in Koethe’s favor. Anyways, Justin Koethe seemed to be the unanimous pick to win that match to Eastern Iowans who weren’t familiar with Zeb Wahle and for good reason. The guy placed 4th, 3rd and 3rd the years leading to his Senior season, not to mention, he won a variety of big tournaments during the off-season including Cadet Freestyle Nationals, Preseason Nationals, The Intermat JJ Classic, ASICS FILA Junior Nationals (Greco), Northern Plains Regionals, State Freestyle/Greco, placed at Fargo Nationals in both styles, etc as a Junior… the list goes on. The kid brought home an incredible amount of hardware. He’s one of the best Freestyle and Greco wrestlers this state has EVER produced. Not to mention, he was a Fargo National runner-up in Greco and 3rd place in Freestyle as a Senior after the finals match with Wahle took place. The guy finished with just a phenomenal HS wrestling resume with the only thing missing being a state title.

The vibe around Justin Koethe, amongst Eastern Iowan wrestlers anyways, was that he was so explosive, intense and well, good, that he was intimidating. I remember guys around that age group being straight-up fearful of approaching him off the mat. I can’t imagine what guys were feeling when they went on the mat with him. There was absolutely an element of fear associated with him and in my opinion, the officials may have caught on to this to an extent for every once in a while, there seemed to be one who would call a match with Koethe a magnifying glass as if they were expecting fireworks. Get this…he was sent to the consolation side of the bracket as BOTH a Sophomore and Junior due to being called for an illegal slam. The 2nd one, I watched probably 100 times and I just can’t fathom how on earth he was called for that. It looked like the common “blast double” to me. I mean, if that was a slam, I can’t count the amount of times I got away with uncalled slams of my own when I wrestled. It should be noted that I am not a certified official and therefore, my opinion doesn’t mean much regarding this topic, but this call came off as so bad to me that it almost seemed as if the official was waiting to call it… as if it were anticipated that something vaguely resembling a slam would occur. I’ve seen guys get away with “slams” that were 5X as bad as the one he was DQ’d for as a Junior without being disqualified. I don’t know if anyone could ever convince me that the “slam” that was called that year should have been called a slam and if it WAS technically a slam according to the rule book, then I hope that rule changes. Moving along, Koethe went on a rampage on the consolation side of the bracket to lock up 3rd place both years that he got called for an illegal slam. He seemingly went out there with so much anger from the way things went on the front side of the bracket those years that he just dismantled some really good wrestlers as if it were easy. It was impressive. In fact, he recorded the 2nd fastest fall in the history of the Iowa HS State Wrestling tournament in 2010 when he recorded a :07 pin after being called for his first state tournament slam. He had several quick pins at state. As a Senior, to reach the finals, he recorded falls in :11 seconds, :44 seconds and 2:18. It took him a whopping 3 minutes and 15 seconds total to dispose of his opponents and make the state finals as a Senior. He was something else. The :11 pin is tied for the 7th fastest fall in state tournament history. Incredible to be in the top 10 twice.

Justin Koethe is one of the best guys ever to not win a state title. No question about it.  Incredibly fun for fans to watch, yet a straight-up nightmare for guys to compete against. A Mark Reiland and I BELIEVE Pablo Ubasa product.

Justin went on to wrestle at The University Of Wisconsin for a bit before transferring to Grand View and won some nice matches and a couple Open Tournaments before injuries derailed his career. I know he made a comeback at Grand View as recently as last year and has spent some time coaching girls wrestling at Iowa City West and by all accounts has done a great job there.

Koethe comes from one of the most “sneaky good” wrestling last names in the history of Iowa HS wrestling. His cousin, Marshall Koethe wrestled for Akron-Westfield and was a 4X placer/3X finalist/2X state champion. Justin has been quoted as referring to Marshall’s success as being an inspiration for him to start wrestling as a kid. Also, his cousins Jake and Jack Koethe were standouts for Valley, West Des Moines. Jack placed 3 times and qualified 4. Jake won state one year and made the finals at least 2-3 times total, placing in the top 3 at state every year he was in HS. The Koethe’s are one of my absolute favorite wrestling families ever.


2009 3A 135

1. Jake Ballweg, Jr., Waverly-Shell Rock

2. Zach Witte, Fr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

3. Elijah Sullivan, So., CB Lewis Central

4. Justin Koethe, Fr., Iowa City West

5. Josh Pirtle, Sr., Indianola

6. Bill Borseth, Sr., Southeast Polk

7. Anthony Olalde, Sr., Clinton

8. Gustavo Martinez, Jr., Marshalltown

2010 3A 152
1st: Michael Kelly, Cedar Falls SR 36- 1
2nd: Joey Trizzino, Bettendorf SR 36- 3
3rd: Justin Koethe, Iowa City West SO 31- 2
4th: Andrew Cartwright, Fort Madison SR 36- 7
5th: Ben Swalla, Ames JR 39- 6
6th: Alex Meyer, Southeast Polk SO 33- 10
7th: Peyton Wagner, Prairie Cedar Rapids SO 28- 8
8th: Ryan Sheldon, Cedar Rapids Kennedy JR 33- 13

2011 3A 160
1st: Taylor Berger, Carroll SR 40- 0
2nd: Ethan Lara, Sioux City East JR 22- 5
3rd: Justin Koethe, Iowa City West JR 44- 3
4th: Dominic Chase, Bettendorf SR 29- 5
5th: Alex Meyer, Southeast Polk JR 38- 5
6th: Colbey Vance, Pleasant Valley JR 47- 8
7th: KC Groomes, Cedar Falls SR 35- 10
8th: Klint Forristall, Lewis Central SR 43- 11

2012 3A 160
1st: Zeb Wahle of Lewis Central 50-2, Sr.
2nd: Justin Koethe of Iowa City, West 53-2, Sr.
3rd: Brady Letney of Pleasant Valley 39-14, So
4th: Nick Hagedorn of Cedar Falls 19-9, Jr
5th: Max Krieger of Mason City 43-7, Sr.
6th: Clint Underwood of Valley, West Des Moines 39-13, Sr.
7th: Isaiah Patton of Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines 24-22, Fr.
8th: Duke Egli of Fort Dodge 33-9, Jr.



PinDox Profile: Mick Harding; Emmetsburg HS ‘85/SD State

PinDox Profile: Mick Harding; Emmetsburg HS ‘85/SD State

After posting the 1985 Lakes Conference Champions picture, a comment posted by Mick Harding caught my eye:

MICK HARDING: “All state champions or multiple in front row (except me though rated #1, and that sucks).”

Breaks my heart… I understand those thoughts/feelings, in fact, a sizable portion of the motivation for starting this site can be connected to my brother Justin and I trying to accept/cope with our own shortcomings in wrestling after decades. So naturally, after reading this comment, I decided to research how close Mick was to achieving his goal of winning state in HS…and holy cow, was he close.

Mick Harding was a 3X state placer for Emmetsburg, placing 6th at 2A 98 as a Sophomore in 1983, 3rd as a Junior in 1984 and 3rd as a Junior in 1985. On top of this, I know he won the Lakes Conference at least twice as a Junior and Senior, maybe more than twice. The Lakes Conference was no picnic back then… in the two pictures I’ve seen of the champions from that conference, the majority of the champions went on to win state.

Mick Harding made his first trip to state as a Sophomore in HS in 1983 at 2A 98. He had an unblemished record of 26-0 coming into the tournament. He won his first match via major decision when he defeated Pat Harris of Bellevue by the score of 11-0. This set up a quarterfinals match between he and fellow Sophomore, Scott Mangrich of Don Bosco. It appears as if Mangrich defeated Harding 6-0 in OT. Mangrich went on to win the bracket. Since Mangrich made the finals, Harding was allowed to wrestle back and won his first consolation match before falling to Brett Sweeney of Osage and Eric Hansen of Perry to finish 6th place. Not a bad showing for his first trip to state, but considering how close he was to defeating the guy who won the bracket, he likely went home with a lot of “what if’s” on his mind. He finished his Sophomore season with a record of 28-3.

As a Junior, Harding came in to the state tournament with a record of 26-1 and drew an upcoming talent from the opposite side of the state (E) as him named Randy Vogel, a Freshman from Camanche who had a record of 26-2 coming in. Harding beat Vogel 10-5 in this match and followed this up with a 6-4 win in the quarterfinals over future state finalist/HOF coach, Brent Jennings of Clarinda who was 28-0 himself coming in. Jennings would become a state finalist a year or two later and is currently in the HOF for his work coaching at Osage HS. It should be noted that both of Harding’s first two wins at this tournament were over guys who would later become state finalists. In the semifinals, Harding met up with eventual 3X state champion and future NCAA D1 National Champion, Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall. This task would be daunting for any wrestler at the tournament, for Kelber had already attained a reputation for being one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in the state. And Mick Harding fell just barely short to him, losing a 2-1 decision. Harding bounced back and defeated Lee Hilligas of Brooklyn, BGM and then defeated Scott Mangrich of Don Bosco for 3rd and 4th, avenging a quarterfinals loss he suffered to Mangrich the year before. 3 out of the 4 wins that Harding notched at state that year were to state finalists with one of them being a state champion. Mick finished the season 30-2.

Mick came into the state tournament at 2A 112 as a Senior sporting a 29-1 record and had the same first round matchup that he had the year before. Randy Vogel of Camanche, a Sophomore. As noted, Harding defeated Vogel 10-5 first round as a Junior, but Vogel flipped the script this year and won this match 7-6 in OT. Vogel ended up making the finals, so Harding was allowed to wrestle back and in doing so, he had to defeat a guy from Perry who was undefeated coming into the tournament named Jack Stewart just to reach the top 6. And he did it… and he followed this up with wins over Doug Meyer of Winterset and Steve Swenson of Humboldt to finish 3rd place. He finished the season 32-2.

Mick Harding was a 3X state placer in which the 3 losses that sent him to the consolation side of the bracket were decided by a one point match to Kelber and OT matches to Mangrich and Vogel. That’s how close he was. And two of those 3 guys (Mangrich and Kelber), Harding had beaten at the state tournament at one point or another. In Harding’s last 3 seasons, he had a combined regular season record of 81-2 and a total record of 90-7 in those last 3 years of HS. With all that noted, Mick Harding is up there with the best Iowa HS wrestlers to not win a state title. He was RIGHT THERE…

Mick Harding went on to wrestle D2 collegiately for South Dakota State University and sadly, a shoulder injury derailed his career… another reminder for wrestlers nowadays to be thankful for the advancements made over the years in surgical repair, for back then, if you suffered a severe injury to your knee, shoulder, etc., sometimes it meant the demise of your career.

Mick Harding… The man had an awesome wrestling career!

1983 2A 98

1. Scott Mangrich, So., Don Bosco
2. Jason Kelber, Fr., State Center-West Marshall
3. Mark Pogge, So., Tri-Center Neola
4. Brett Sweeney, So., Osage
5. Eric Hansen, So., Perry
6. Mick Harding, So., Emmetsburg

1984 2A 105

1. Jason Kelber, So., State
Center-West Marshall
2. John Ites, Sr., Iowa Falls
3. Mick Harding, Jr., Emmetsburg
4. Scott Mangrich, Jr., Don Bosco
5. Dan Sinnott, So., Albia
6. Lee Hilligas, Sr., Brooklyn-BGM

1985 2A 112

1 Terry Schmuecker, Benton, VH
2 Randy Vogel, Camanche
3 Mickey Harding, Emmetsburg
4 Steve Swenson, Humboldt
5 Bill Bollman, West Union-NF
6 Doug Meyer, Winterset


Remember The Wrestler: Manolis Galanakis, Nodaway Valley ‘00 (RIP)… Commentary Provided By His Brother, Mario and His Mother, Joni I know a lot of you know the Galanakis family out of Greenfield, Nodaway Valley! Parents, John and Joni as well as their children, Tony, Mario, Manoli, Maria, Gabe and Dino. They are a very well-liked family in the Iowa wrestling community. I’m sure a large percentage of wrestling fans in Iowa know and/or remember Mario Galanakis, a 2002 graduate from Nodaway Valley. Mario was a 4X placer/JUCO National Runner-Up and D1 National Qualifier for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He was one of the best of his era and undoubtedly a crowd favorite. He had a TON of fans… some who didn’t even know him, just liked watching him. He was a pretty big deal and interestingly enough, while he had a household name for many fans, for me, it took a long time to not think of Mario as “Manolis Galanakis’s brother.” That’s how big of an impression Manolis left on me the one time I ever encountered him. Manolis was Mario’s older brother. He and I wrestled once. He beat me in the consolation semis at USA State as a third grader. I remember my match with him vividly. He was a total HAMMER who had a response for everything I threw at him and it was just impossible to score points on him. He beat me by a few points and I remember thinking to myself while walking off the mat, “well that kid is a future star.” And to my confusion, I never saw him again after that. I never even saw or heard the last name, “Galanakis” again until 3-4 years later when Mario beat one of the best guys in our youth club, Chris Johnson (WB-ND) at AAU state. He reminded me a lot of his brother.  INSANELY tough to score on and equipped with an even more dangerous, not to mention, lightning-quick offense in his arsenal. Just an incredible wrestler similar to how I remember Manolis. It was obvious that “Manolis Galanakis’s brother” had a bright future and I was right about that. And Manolis played a huge role in Mario’s successes on and off the mat. Here is what Mario had to say in an interview for an “Inside The Rivalry” article I wrote a couple years ago about growing up wrestling with Manolis:

MARIO GALANAKIS: I wrestled for the first time when I was four years old. My older brother, Manolis started doing it when he was five and I was immediately on board. My dad didn’t know anything about the sport at first so it was always my mom waking us up at five am traveling to all the local little kids meets. A few years went by and Manolis and I were making a name for ourselves around the area. My dad caught the wrestling bug and started making my mom stay at home so he could take us. We were both very successful at a young age. We both made it to state every year. The best I ever got was second at state, losing to Trent Paulson. Manolis always did really good at state tournaments too. Having my brother, Manolis as someone to look up to and us two always trying to out-do one another is something that I believe made us both very good! We were both very competitive with each other, but always the biggest fans of each other. We wanted each other to win every bit as much as we wanted ourselves to win. He made me tougher and had some funny tactics in making me that way, but they worked! I remember if he thought I wasn’t working hard enough, he’d call me “Marsha,” and that’s all it took for me to get mad, shape up and start training like a mad man.

So what was it that for the Galanakis boys to fall in love with wrestling to the point where it became literally a part of their identity? Obviously, their father must have wrestled, so he got his kids to do it, right?! WRONG… The Galanakis boys got started with the encouragement of their mother, Joni. This is what Joni had to say about raising her boys as wrestlers:

JONI GALANAKIS: I was introduced to wrestling at a young age by my sister Vickie. She was married to a man named Doug Abel and would have to drag me to wrestling meets if she wanted to go because my mom and dad were strict. Anyways, Mike Abel, Doug’s younger brother, was the most awesome kid to watch out there. He was the most loving, kind-hearted person I knew. Their brother, Jeff wrestled too, but Mike was the best on and off the mat!! God rest his soul, Mike passed in a freak sledding accident. So when I had 5 boys, because of how much I loved watching Mike Abel wrestle along with the good-hearted people wrestling produces, I decided to introduce my boys to wrestling. And immediately, Mario and Manolis loved it. And they impressed people right away. My brother in law,  Danny Hayes said Manolis was a natural. He was really good and the sky was the limit for him. Anyways, that’s how I started loving wrestling and because of me liking it, that’s how the Galanakis wrestling tradition started…and it all gets traced back to Mike Abel.

If it’s one thing that Joni’s brother-in-law, Danny Hayes knows more about than almost everyone, it’s wrestling. So for him to refer to Manolis Galanakis as a natural, that’s a huge compliment coming from him. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that.

DAN HAYES: I saw Manolis make a future 2X state champion/NCAA D1 Runner-Up come to tears many times when they were kids!

So when I started seeing Mario make waves at the youth state level, every year I would look around for Manolis and I never saw him. I figured that he just quit… A lot of good kids do. Sadly, Manolis‘s journey was much more tragic than that. When I was a Sophomore in HS, one of Mario’s best friends at Nodaway Valley named Kirk Whipple moved to Mepo and became one of my own best friends. He filled me in on everything there is to know about Creston and Nodaway Valley wrestling. Naturally, one of the first questions I ever asked him was, “what ever happened to Manolis Galanakis? He was an awesome wrestler who just vanished.” When I asked that, Kirk’s facial expression indicated that I had just inquired about something that wasn’t good. He told me that Manolis had gotten into a terrible accident while he was in Greece and almost died. The accident was so bad that impacted what he was able to do physically and it also changed his personality and behavior due to the damage done to his brain.

JONI GALANAKIS: Manolis was in Greece working and he fell two stories off a building. He was hurt extremely bad. He was actually pronounced dead at one point and the doctors encouraged us to pull the plug and take him off life support, but I wouldn’t accept that. I made the decision to travel to Greece myself and I stayed with him in the hospital for 3 months. He ended up regaining consciousness so I brought him back to the USA. Manolis was so damaged from the accident, that he had to learn to walk, talk, pee, poop, etc. all over again.  He couldn’t feel pain, he didn’t know if something was cold or hot. He couldn’t cry. He couldn’t do a lot of the things he used to be able to do.  He did graduate with his class, though. He worked hard for that. The worst turning point in his recovery was when he went to a dentist and the guy put him on Vicodin. This ended up multiplying his problems and eventually led to his passing in 2003. He was 20 years old.

When Manolis passed away, Mario was competing in college and naturally, the loss was so catastrophic to him that he had to take a break from wrestling for a while.

MARIO GALANAKIS: I took a year off my second year, though, for my family endured a catastrophic loss. The week before regionals, my brother Manolis lost his life. He and I were close and had so many wrestling memories growing up, that it was hard to see a wrestling mat without thinking of him and realizing that this person, my brother, who meant the world to me…was gone. I had to take a break.

The wrestling world lost a good one when Manolis passed. If he hadn’t gotten into the accident, there is no telling how much hardware he would have brought home from wrestling events. He was so talented that the sky was genuinely the limit for him. And by all accounts, not only was he great on the mat, but he was a great person off the mat as well. Here is what his mother had to say about Manolis as both a person and a competitor:

JONI GALANAKIS: We called Manolis “ice cube.” He was a stubborn lil baby right off the bat, but when he got a little older, he did a U-turn. He was a skinny lil’ thing. When he was in jr. high,  I had to make him eat ice cream and steak and noodles to get UP to weight! He was the most loving, kind, thoughtful and caring lil boy you’d ever meet. He hated bullies. He would always stick up for any kid that was poorer, chubby, etc. We got called a lot from school because Manolis would always stick up for the less fortunate and get in trouble. It didn’t matter the bullies’ size,  Manolis would take em’ on and that started at a young age and it continued all the way until the end! Also, he loved racing four wheelers and family time, but wresting was his favorite! And let me tell you, there was NO MERCY on the mat when Manolis wrestled! Even if he had to wrestle a friend he wanted to be the best wrestler and he set high standards for himself. He was a very, very quick learner. He loved teaching Mario new moves and was alway eager to go to practice! He learned a lot from his uncle Danny Hayes. The boys started wrestling when they were 5 and 7 years old, which was when we owned a nightclub.  Sometimes I didn’t get off work til 3 am, which made for a long day when you had to drive 2-3 hrs to wrestle, but was sure worth the loss of sleep for me when I saw their lil faces light up on the mat. And big brother, Gabe didn’t mind. He loved watching them and cheering them on. And as for lil sis, Maria, she learned fast that she had to go and basically didn’t have a choice, but to like it. Manolis was not a good loser but he never threw a fit. He’d shake the hand of the kid and the other coach and then you wouldn’t see him for about a half hour after for he would just contemplate about why he lost. He loved to win and he loved to see his team and family win. He was always was there for Mario, coaching and screaming for him all the way to the end. Manolis got to wrestle in high school his freshman year before his accident and he didn’t do too bad! Teammates; Bill Brown, Tom Martin and Aaron Benton loved Manolis as they were seniors and loved his enthusiasm. Manolis was full of piss n’ vinegar and if you ask anyone to this day, they will say that Manolis was an awesome young man! Manolis was in 7th grade and probably weighed a tiny 65 lbs. Anyways, there was this kid that had to wrestle a girl and his weight was 170 and he refused to wrestle her. Then Manolis begged the coach to let him and the coach said, “Manolis your gonna get smashed!” Manolis bugged him until finally he gave in! Manolis put her in a Saturday night ride and that was it, she didn’t wrestle again! Lol, poor lil girl manolis was like, “I told ya, Coach!” 😆 😆😆

Manolis Galanakis… although his life was tragically cut short, the impact he made was felt by many and the positive influence he had on people in his short time on this earth will always remain…

MARIO GALANAKIS: The bond we had was as strong as a brother’s relationship can possibly be. He will always be one of the most important people in my life and I would not have been the wrestler I was if it weren’t for him or the man I am off the mat.

JONI GALANAKIS: Wrestling was extremely important Manolis. And he worked so hard at it! After his accident, he always said, “Mom, if something ever happens to me, I want my wrestling memories to not ever be forgotten! I’m sure Mike Abel and Manolis wrestle in heaven from time to time!

As a guy who competed against Manolis and remembers vividly how tough he was, I must say, it is an absolute honor to help keep Manolis’s legacy alive. He was a warrior!


PinDox Profile: Terry Cook; Spencer HS ‘84/Nebraska

Terry Cook; Spencer HS ‘84/Nebraska

Terry Cook has one of the most head-scratching, not to mention, borderline tragic Iowa HS wrestling careers that I’ve ever come across. And even with that being said, it was still a GREAT career that most wrestlers could only dream of putting together.

Ok, so Terry Cook was a 3X placer/2X runner-up who placed 2nd, 3rd and 2nd in that order. Now, since there are 4 years in HS, I am guessing that most of you are going to assume that those placings BEGIN his Sophomore year, but they don’t. They begin his Freshman year. He placed 2nd as a Freshman, 3rd as a Sophomore, 2nd as a Junior and…did not qualify as a Senior in 1984. Word is, he was injured right before districts his Senior year and couldn’t compete. This guy, considering some of the guys he defeated in his career as well as some of the accolades he reeled in, is one of the absolute best wrestlers to ever compete at the HS level in our state… One of the 🐐’s. And he just happened to have terrible luck with the injury bug right before the postseason of his Senior year in HS after 3 years of falling just short of winning state. I seriously can’t even wrap my head around how unlucky that is.

To start, get this stat… In Terry Cook’s first 3 years of HS wrestling (and maybe Senior year, I do not know), he didn’t have one single regular season loss. NOT ONE. Isn’t that incredible?!

Terry came into state as a Freshman with a 25-0 record at 3A 105 and defeated Mike Franken of IC West, Marty Hug of CB Thomas Jefferson and Mike Froeschle of Davenport Assumption to make the finals where he faced returning state champion, Mike DeBartolo, where he was defeated. Terry finished his first year of HS as a state runner-up with a 28-1 record. Not too shabby!

As a Sophomore in 1982, Terry qualified for state at 3A 112 lbs with a record of 20-0 and waltzed his way into the semifinals after defeating Justin Reinert of CR Jefferson and Greg Blount of Clinton. In the semis he met up with a phenom out of Waterloo West named Tim Klinghammer. Klinghammer had won state in 1980, but transferred schools and had to sit out the 1981 season. Therefore he was going for his 2nd state title in 1982, but likely should have been going for his 3rd if it weren’t for the transfer rules. Some of the guys who have described Klinghammer as one of the best ever include greats; Jim Gibbons (Ames/Iowa State), Mike VanArsdale (Waterloo West/Iowa State), Mike Schwab (Osage/UNI) and Chuck Yagla (Waterloo Columbus/Iowa). He defeated Terry Cook 8-1, it appears. Cook fought back and won two nice matches over Larry Shepherd of Ottumwa and Craig Cervantes to place 3rd. He finished the season 24-1. His career record at this point stood at 52-2 with both losses coming to a pair of 2X state champions at the state tournament.

Terry came into the state tournament as a Junior with another undefeated record. His record was 21-0-1 (1 tie) coming in to the tournament that year and prior to the finals, he had his most impressive run at the tournament to date. First round he pinned Chris Young of Dubuque Senior. This set up an epic showdown between Terry and returning 2X state champion and Junior Freestyle National Champion, Cory Mills of Waterloo East who was just a Junior at the time. How did this go?! Terry defeated Cory by the score of 4-1… squashing Cory’s hopes of becoming a 4X state champion. Terry still had his work cut out for him, however, for he had to get by the guy he defeated for 3rd and 4th at state the year before, which was Craig Cervantes of Bettendorf. Craig was also in that upper tier with the rest of these guys and if he didn’t win against someone, he at least kept it close. And it was no different against Terry Cook, for Terry advanced to the finals for the 2nd time in his career after defeating Cervantes 9-6. This set up a finals matchup that became one of the darkest, saddest moments of Iowa HS State Wrestling history. He faced returning state runner-up Junior, Jeff Gibbons of Ames HS. Both guys were under an immense amount of pressure to win this match. For Terry, he had been to state twice already and had only lost one match in each tournament, placing 2nd in one of those years and it was a long time coming for him. For Jeff, he was the youngest of 4 brothers who just happened to be the most decorated wrestling family to come out of our state at the time, with all 3 of his brothers winning state at least once and the oldest (Jim) winning 3 and the 3rd son (Joe) being a 4X state champion. And Jeff was a Junior that year and still working on his first title in hopes of not becoming the only Gibbons brother to not win a state championship. The pressure was on Jeff Gibbons before he began his HS career, simply because he was a Gibbons. And the match between Terry and Jeff was a nail-biter all the way until literally the last microseconds of the match. Jeff held a 4-3 lead and they were on their feet with time winding down, when Terry hit a shot that put Jeff to his butt and it appeared that Terry had secured the takedown just barely before the time ran out… When the whistle sounded, Terry celebrated, for he thought he had just won his first state title against a guy from one of the state’s best ever wrestling families in heroic fashion. However…there was a catch… right when Terry took the shot, the official ran to get into position to make the correct call and when he ran, he got away from the towel-boy, who was trying to “bop” him to indicate the time being out. So with that said, the towel-boy was not able to “bop” the referee until a couple-few seconds after time had run out. The question was, “did time run out before or after Terry covered Jeff’s hips for the potential takedown?” The official made the decision that time had run out and Jeff was declared the winner. The entire place erupted. I’m sure some were cheering, but it was mostly boos. Things got ugly when they received their awards. When the medal was placed around Jeff’s neck and he was announced as the 1983 3A 119 state champion, a moment that should have been the best moment of his life considering he had just joined his 3 older brothers as a state champion, was sabotaged by one of the loudest eruptions of boos that ever went through Vets. Jeff Gibbons went from being on “cloud-9” a couple minutes before while he was being interviewed by IPTV to appearing utterly heartbroken the moment he received his gold medal due to the booing that polluted the place. And there was Terrr Cook standing next to him, obviously looking devastated himself…He was so heartbroken that all he could do was look at the ground while standing on the podium. It’s a difficult thing to watch and I hope that anyone there who booed Jeff thought about it some more after the fact and regretted it. Because it was ugly. One of, if not the darkest moment for the Iowa HS State wrestling tournament ever. And before anyone starts thinking that I am slamming Spencer wrestling fans, I want to make it clear that I am not, for I don’t believe they should be blamed for this. The Spencer wrestling community is a good one from my personal experiences. I had a couple college teammates from Spencer. GREAT people! Were there Spencer wrestling fans who voiced their displeasure with the outcome? Well yeah, I assume so.  But the booing that took place in that moment was too loud to be just the Spencer wrestling fan base. It sounded as if it was coming from every section of the auditorium.  My guess is that given Jeff’s last name, the crowd had considered Jeff the heavy favorite to win the match considering the Gibbons brothers had a combined record of something like 34-1 at the state tournament, coming into that state finals match. People love to witness an upset and will root for the underdog to pull one off, regardless of whether or not they know the guys competing or not. So I think that is part of the reason why the crowd seemed emotionally invested in Terry Cook. Another reason could be because of his older brothers achieving success for the Iowa State Cyclones at a time where Iowa Hawkeye wrestling was on a steep incline in terms of popularity. So a lot of Hawkeye fans could have been upset with the outcome. Whatever the case, it sure was unfortunate.

Video to that match:

Terry Cook had some great moments in the off-season/Freestyle scene as well. Most notably, he won the Fort Madison Tri-State Freestyle Tournament, which was a qualifier for Nationals and he defeated phenom, Steve Knight from Clinton HS to do it. Terry was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament…a tournament that included the likes of Mark Schwab, Mark Sindlinger, Terry Schmuecker, Royce Alger, Tim Krieger, Kirk Azinger, etc. just to name a few.

Terry Cook went on to wrestle for the University of Nebraska where he was a letter-winner and put together a very respectable collegiate career. While there, everything I come across seems to indicate that he continued to fight the injury bug.

Terry Cook… he’s one of the all-time greats!


Remember The Wrestler: Phillip Roehlk, Durant HS ‘82

Phillip Roehlk was a very exciting, explosive wrestle who was fun to watch, for he wrestled at an upper-weight and could just launch his opponents who weighed 200 pounds plus. He came from a family of unbelievably great athletes and from a school with fantastic tradition. He was a big part of a Durant wrestling squad that made an incredible run in the wrestling scene back in the 70’s and 80’s… A run that was so impressive, that it is not uncommon to hear about them decades later. And to say that Phillip played an instrumental role in this squad is an understatement, for he was a state champ, so he was obviously a huge contributor to the accolades those Durant teams reached in his day. 

Here is the wrestling journey of Phillip Roehlk! 



PINDOX: Where did you wrestle in HS?

Phillip Roehlk: Durant HS. 1982 graduate.


PINDOX: When did you start wrestling?

PR: started about 3rd grade.


PINDOX:  What other sports did you play?

PR: I was involved in football, track and baseball.


PINDOX: Did you have any other family members who wrestled?

PR: My brother John was a 1979 grad who got 5th place at state.  He was also the 1983 Iowa football captain and is in the Arena Football Hall of Fame. My Brother Tony as well. He was a 1985 grad who beat State Champion Brett Stoneking in a dual meet,  but he couldn’t hold the weight as a freshman. He burned out and came back to wrestle as a senior.

PINDOX: Did wrestling come natural for you? How did you do in youth wrestling?

PR: I got 2nd at Bettendorf as an 8th grader, at least I didn’t go swimming! If you lost, you would go swimming, so it was fun anyway. I also got 1st at the Durant Junior Classic in 8th grade.


PINDOX: How did you do in HS wrestling?

PR: Freshman year was average, sophomore year I was JV until conference. Nobody wanted to wrestle HWT, so I was able to get 3rd at conference and 3rd at sectionals. Junior year was as a disappointment. I was rated 6th at HWT and choked in sectionals (3rd). Senior year I was State Champ.

PINDOX: What were some of the adverse situations you faced in wrestling?

PR: My challenges, just getting by. I never had to cut weight so I was lucky.


PINDOX: How would you describe your wrestling style?

PR: I was a thrower, no technical skills at all.


PINDOX:  Who were some of your most influential coaches?

PR: Besides Coach Rogers, I had Coaches Busby, Ronquillo and Reynolds.


PINDOX: Was your team competitive?

PR: They were very competitive. The teams were 33-3 in dual meets, but we always seemed to burn out at sectionals.

PINDOX: Who were some of your favorite wrestlers to watch?

PR: My brother Jon was always fun to watch, he was just a beast, no wrestling technique at all, but he was a pit bull going after a poodle.


PINDOX: Who is the Iowa HS wrestling GOAT?

PR: Greg Randall was in my class, but the last 2 years his brother Steve dominated.



Remember The Wrestler: Marcos Hayes; Waterloo East

Marcos Hayes… This man has had quite the journey…not only with wrestling, but life in general. However, as we all know, wrestling has a knack for impacting several aspects of life, and this claim is vibrantly reflected when reading the journey of Marcos Hayes. Marcos was born and raised in the traditional wrestling powerhouse of Waterloo, IA and he was a part of some of the most widely respected teams of his era (late 70’s/1980). Since his days of competing as a HS wrestler, Marcos Hayes has found success in the club wrestling scene in Texas, has fought in various Judo/Jiu Jitsu competitions, has coached HS wrestling, has taught martial arts, has trained stuntmen and stuntwomen for tv shows/movies and most importantly, has been a family man. And through it all, he never forgot the things that enabled him to achieve the accolades he has in life…most notably, The Waterloo East wrestling community. 

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

– Logan jr high and East Waterloo. Wrestled for the University of Texas “club” in Austin, Texas.


PINDOX: What year did you graduate?

-Never graduated College. Graduated Waterloo East in 1980.


PINDOX: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

-Both of my brothers wrestled, had to learn to wrestle to survive life with them. Grew up in Dan Gables home town.

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

-My older brother Jeff Kay was better than me, he wrestled at East as well.


PINDOX: What were your youth results?

– In Junior high- (9th grade I was undefeated. In 10 grade I made varisty at East Waterloo. In 11th grade, I went 11-6 ( this was when there were very few tournaments (thank god) I was ranked 6th in the state I believe in my junior year.


PINDOX: Any rivals there?

– Well, the top guy at my weight Was David Morkel from west Waterloo. He was something like 25 – 0 with all pins I believe, He beat me 11-6.


PINDOX: What was your record in HS?

– Don’t remember total record.


PINDOX: How did you place at state every year?

– Never went to state, the year I was ranked I injured my knee and lost at regionals to a guy I beat easily in the dual meet.


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

– The most challenging part of wrestling was always the weight cut. Back then, there was no supervision, only pure starvation and desire to make weight and make your competitor pay. In my junior year I would weigh around 155 on a Tuesday and on a Friday morning would make 138
How would you describe your wrestling style? Pure strength for 6 minutes LOL.

PINDOX: Who was your most influential coach?

– So many coaches. Obie Sadler, Mr. Harris, Punchy Sallis, the boys club coaches and all of the older wrestlers who would come to practice to share their knowledge.


PINDOX: Was your team competitive in HS/college?

– My team was competitive but do not remember the record.


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

– Dan Gable.


PINDOX: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

– Dan Gable, Barry Davis are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to? Nowadays, I am a mix of power and tenacity of an Iowa wrestler with John Smith slickness.


PINDOX: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?

– Joe Hatchett versus Dan Gabel or Lee Kemp vs. Joe Hatchett.


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

– Joe Hatchet, Kirk Salis, Tony Hughes, Randy Creighton and more.

PINDOX: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

– David Taylor, Jorden Burroughs, Spencer Lee.


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

– We had 45’s we would always play “Grooveline” by Heatwave or “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool and the Gang or “Always and Forever” by Heatwave.

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

-Endurance and diet training!


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

– These were wrestlers in my city. Joe Gibbons, David Morkel. John Diagicomo, Tony Hughes, Kirk Sallis.Tim Klinghammer, Ted Keys, Wendel Leflore, Wayne Love. Sydney Simpson, Denny Boy, Bob C. and More.


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

– Wrestling was seasonal.


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

– They would beat them Im sure. In Waterloo there were/are world class wrestlers everywhere. Tim Klinghammer, Stuart Carter, Kirk Salis, Tony Hughes, Monty Sproles, Joe Hatchett, Jim Gibbens, Dan Gable, Chuck Yagle, the Morkel Brothers, Kyven Gadson is from my highschool, Johnny Galloway Jr. wrestled at my High school.


PINDOX: Did you wrestle after high school?

– I continued to wrestle in Texas. I won the Texas takedown tournament 5 years in a row. I won the Texas collegites at 158 pounds. I’ve won Judo tournaments and several martial art matches.

PINDOX: What other sports did you play?

– I played football until 12th grade. I quit football to start my own gymnastics team. I placed 6th in the state my first year on the rings.

PINDOX: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

– Martial arts.


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

– I taught wrestling for over 25 years here in Austin Texas. I was a high school coach for 2 years. I love to give back to the sport.


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

– I used my wrestling experience to assist me in a career as a professional stuntman for the past 30 years. The discipline you learn as a wrestler prepares you for the Kaos of life.


PINDOX: What do you do now?

– I teach private martial arts and seminars realted to takedowns for martial artist. Mainly for people training in Ju Jitsu. I just finished training an actress for stunt fighting in a new TV series. I am a licensed real estate inspector in Texas. Also, I’m a grandfather (this is the best thing).


PINDOX: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

– Endurance training, Discipline, and diet.

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

– Would love to I am at 155  Would you like to give a shoutout to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.? Shout out to my teammates, Ted Keys, Mark Loftus, Wendal Leflore, Jeff Ott, Ricky Ceaser, Rusty Allen, Jimmy Jewel, Joe Hatchet, Woody Rogers, Randy Finger, Punchy Sallis, Kirk Sallis.


PINDOX: Funny/interesting stories?

– One time, I went to West Waterloo High school to watch a dual meet, Barry Davis was wrestling, He was in such incredible shape he wore his opponent out, and at the start of the 3rd period the guy didn’t know where he was, Barry Davis Slapped him and pulled him to the center position. I thought I hope I never wrestle that guy!


Jeff McGinness’s Story About A Humbling Experience He Had At A USA World Team Trial Practice 

INTRO: Jeff McGinness was a wrestler who came out of Iowa City HS ‘93. He was a 4X undefeated state champion with an incredible HS record of 172-0. On top of this, he was a Cadet and Junior National champion, a USA Dream Team member, a world champion… The list doesn’t seem to end. At the collegiate level, Jeff was a 3X AA/2X NCAA National Champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes and amassed a career record of 127-16 there. For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to watch him wrestle, he was a guy who was so good, that he made even the most daunting tasks look easy. He is widely considered the GOAT wrestler to come from the state of Iowa.

Nowadays, Jeff is a coach at Simpson College and by all accounts, does a fantastic job there.

When you watched Jeff compete at any level, he seemed flawless. His technique, athleticism, intensity, etc. were all 100% on point seemingly every time he took the mat. And his results obviously backed it up. He had wrestling down to both a science and an art form. And while it was an amazing experience to watch him perform his craft, it was difficult feeling like your own wrestling journey could, in any way, be relatable to Jeff’s journey because he seemed to be the wrestling poster boy for perfection. I mean, if it was one thing most people would feel confident that they were light-years BETTER than Jeff McGinness at, it would be failure and struggling. Most people watched in awe. 

With that said, Jeff was gracious enough to chronicle a humbling experience he had while practicing for the USA Junior World Team. This story is not only clarity that Jeff McGinness is indeed human, but also very inspirational and a great source of motivation, for no matter how good you may be at the sport of wrestling, you should never stop learning and/or working hard, for there’s always going to be someone out there who can bring you back down to earth.

Here is what Jeff McGinness had to say about a humbling, yet valuable experience he endured on the wrestling mat when he encountered Soviet and Russian, Sergei Beloglazov… a 6X World Champion and 2X Olympic Champion. 

In 1992, as a high school junior coming off a Junior World Title, I had the “pleasure” of working out and wrestling live with Sergei Beloglazov.  Mind you, I had no idea who he was at the time as I was matched up with him at the USA World Team member practices in between sessions at the NCAA wrestling tournament in Oklahoma.  In the previous session I was matched up with word team member Cory Baze from OSU with his coach, Joe Seay, watching on.  Honestly, it wasn’t a fair matchup for Baze as I had already grown out of the 114.5 weight I won a world title at and was up to 125.  Baze, by comparison, was barely 105.5.  Shortly into the live session, and after his coach was already questioning the matchup, Baze shot in and I caught him in a chest wrap. I faked one way, went the other, and his elbow snapped.  Coach Seay was not happy, wondered who the hell I was, and banned me from working out with any of the other team members.

Next day I show up and my personal and club coach, Keith Mourlam, says I got a “guy” for you to wrestle with but he doesn’t speak much English.  The guy, whom I later find out is Sergei, wanders over with some 1985 looking sweat outfit and some vintage torn wrestling shoes.  In my head I go “this shouldn’t be too bad…..”  We start drilling, as any practice would, in rounds of 3 and slowly working into it.  However, unlike normal, things quickly escalated.  After about 5-6 round I found myself struggling to get to and finish my moves.  I shoot, he counters and scores.  He shoots, changes to some weird arm tie, and bounces me on my head.  This goes on for a good while so I figure we had just transitioned to going “live” so I start to pour it on ….. as if.   Things go from bad to worse quickly with everything I do being turned into a counter attack, a throw, or a roll.   The “guy” then starts working on a two on one series. He grabs my arm, I post, he scores.  He grabs my arm, I sag, he scores,  He grabs my arm, I attack top hand, he scores.  This goes on for a good 5 minutes with no move he hits being the same.   Everything is seamless, flawless and built on everything I did to try to counter.  Finally, after about 15 minutes he pauses, looks at me, and says “break and live now?”  This is where things get a little blurry for me but I did score ……. Once.

Flash forward to my freshman year at Iowa and the tryouts/coaches clinic with a guest clinician, Sergei Beloglazov, showing a two on one series.  Yep, between the drilling and live he hit everyone of the 20+ finish variations he showed on me a couple years prior.  Certainly an amazing and humbling experience.


PinDox Profile: Connor Ryan; Bettendorf HS ‘12/Iowa Hawkeyes

PinDox Profile: Connor Ryan; Bettendorf HS ‘12/Iowa Hawkeyes

Sometimes when the topic of “who is the best wrestler to never win state,” “who had the unluckiest draws at state” or “who was the wrestler who was closest to winning state, but fell short,” etc. is mentioned, it sparks a great deal of heated debate with people. I’ve probably been present when this topic was mentioned hundreds of times and if I’m not in a chatty mood, I know exactly how to end the conversation quickly. I will just say, “Connor Ryan…end of story.” Because there really isn’t an argument against him being the most unlucky and agonizingly closest to winning a state title, but didn’t.

Connor Ryan made the state finals every year in HS. And he placed 2nd all four years. He may be the only one who has ever done this and if there are others, that list is short. One may assume without knowing better that Connor was a textbook choke artist who couldn’t seal the deal, but this is so far from the truth with Connor Ryan that it is outright ridiculous…And here is why:

This is the list of names, in chronological order (Freshman year to Senior year) of who defeated Connor Ryan in the state finals in HS:

9th Grade: Cory Clark, SE Polk

10th Grade: Cory Clark, SE Polk

11th Grade: Jack Hathaway, IC West

12th Grade: John Meeks, DM Roosevelt

Unbelievable, isn’t it? For those of you who don’t know, Cory Clark and John Meeks were both 4X state champions. And Jack Hathaway only won 1 title, but was elite. In fact, he was the only guy to ever defeat Cory Clark in HS. Plus he wrestled D1 at Oregon State and did well there. If you were to add the amount of state championships Connor’s state finals matchups had, that number would be 13. And when he was defeated by Meeks as a Senior, that was Meeks’s 4th title. So when Meeks experienced the joy of receiving his standing ovation from the fans at Wells Fargo after winning his 4th title, Connor Ryan had to endure the fact that he lost his 4th consecutive finals match… He was on the total opposite side of the spectrum in that moment and if you were aware of what the situation was for Connor when it happened, you’d be borderline heartless to not feel just a little bit bad for the guy. That is just excruciatingly heartbreaking, which is unfortunate, for I watched Connor compete since he was a youth wrestler and he was a brilliant wrestler. He could have very well won 2-3 titles if he were in a different era.

Besides that elephant in the room when it comes to Connor Ryan’s wrestling career, there are some other cool things. His father, Shawn Ryan wrestled for Northwest Missouri State, so Connor and his younger brother Logan (state champ) were likely born into wrestling. Connor was a key figure in helping the Bettendorf wrestling team do well in the team standings. In fact, Bettendorf won state as a team in 2012, Connor’s Senior year. Connor’s played a huge role in this, for not only was he a state runner-up, but he was also a team captain, a title he occupied for 2 years in his HS tenure. He also achieved very high grades, for he was named to the All-Academic team a couple years as well.

Connor went on to wrestle for the Iowa Hawkeyes in college and had some decent moments there while competing. He was 10-5 as a Freshman and 25-7 in his 2nd and finals full season and raked in a couple-few open tournament championships. Definitely nothing to scoff at, especially at that level.

Connor, if you read this, much respect on a GREAT wrestling career. Not to mention, HUGE props on always believing in yourself and never running from any competition, no matter who they were, what they had accomplished or what the scenario. Most people would have dodged the competition at least one of those years if they were in your shoes. Always be proud of that.

2009 3A 103

1. Cory Clark, Fr., Southeast Polk

2. Connor Ryan, Fr., North Scott

3. Jack Hathaway, Fr., Iowa City West

4. Greg Keating, Sr., Linn-Mar

5. Anthony Vaughn, Sr., Des Moines Lincoln

6. Tyler Willers, Fr., Pleasant Valley

7. Devon Feltus, Sr., Burlington

8. Johnny Jaeger, Fr., Dowling Catholic

2010 3A 112
1st: Cory Clark, Southeast Polk SO 41- 0
2nd: Connor Ryan, North Scott Eldridge SO 34- 3
3rd: Jack Hathaway, Iowa City West SO 45- 3
4th: Brandon Thomas, Valley West Des Moines JR 38- 7
5th: Tanner Werner, Waverly-Shell Rock JR 36- 6
6th: Stephen Shaffer, Johnston SR 31- 14
7th: Jake Agnitsch, Ames JR 37- 9
8th: Nick Sulentic, Lewis Central FR 37- 9

2011 3A 125
1st: Jack Hathaway, Iowa City West JR 50- 3
2nd: Connor Ryan, Bettendorf JR 26- 8
3rd: Tanner Werner, Waverly-Shell Rock SR 36- 2
4th: Kyle Larson, Valley West Des Moines JR 43- 3
5th: Tyler Feller, Lewis Central SR 44- 10
6th: Tyler McWilliams, Sioux City East JR 42- 7
7th: Caleb McDonald, Dowling Catholic W Des Moines SR 27- 14
8th: Dakota Gray, Fort Madison JR 30- 8

2012 3A 138
1st:- John Meeks of Des Moines, Roosevelt 45-0, Sr.
2nd: Connor Ryan of Bettendorf 39-5, Sr
3rd: Jack Randall of Spencer 45-4, Sr.
4th: Dakota Gray of Fort Madison 36-6, Sr.
5th: Nate Harms of Urbandale 31-5, Sr.
6th: Alex Caldwell of Clinton 40-8, So.
7th: Kegan Wakefield of Iowa City, West) 26-8, Jr.
8th: Spencer Derifield of Waverly-Shell Rock 35-16, So.


Below is the information for the 17th  Annual High Altitude Wrestling “Winter Break” Training Camps! For those of you who are unfamiliar with High Altitude Wrestling Club, it is run by Coach Chad Tunink. Chad was a placer for Perry in HS and was a D3 AA for Buena Vista. He has a proven successful track record spanning back decades. In the 2005-2010-ish range, they won a plethora of state championships as a club and they even won Tulsa Nationals one year. Here are some incredibly impressive stats about High Altitude and the wrestlers they have produced:


  • 1245 State Qualifiers
  • 889 State Medalists
  • 320 State Finalists
  • 179 State Champions
  • 285 All-Americans
  • 66 National Champions


  • 333 State Qualifiers
  • 211 State Medalists
  • 69 State Finalists
  • 34 State Champions
  • 1 – 4 x State Champion (Jake Marlin)
  • 70 All Americans
  • 13 National Champions

The results speak for themselves. These camps and the High Altitude Club are worth checking out if you have a kid who wrestles and wants to get to the next level in their development.

“High Altitude Wrestling Club has helped to not only make me the wrestler I am today, but also the man I am today!  The technique works at all levels, and it will help you excel in the sport.  The coaching is great, and the workout partners are tough.  I couldn’t ask for a better club!”

Jake Marlin: 4X Iowa High School State Champ, Former Iowa HS Record Holder for Most Pins


17th  Annual High Altitude Wrestling “Winter Break” Training Camps!

Camp Dates:

Dec 27th: Takedown Camp

9am-Noon or 1:30-4:30

Dec 28th: Escapes/Reversals Camp

9am-Noon or 1:30-4:30

Dec 29th:  Slideby / Secondary Offense

9am-Noon only

Dec 30th: Tilts & Turns Camp

9am-Noon only

Dec 31st:  Beginners Only Camp (NEW)


Camp Location:

5548 NW 2nd St, Unit 105,

Des Moines, IA 50313


$45 per camp

$30 for beginners only camp

(There are no refunds just camp credit toward future HAWC Camps/Clinics)

Grades: PreK – 12


Pre-Register online or mail in form with payment!  Checks payable to: High Altitude Wrestling

Outline:  Technique, drilling, LIVE (situations & wrestling)

HAWC Gear Store:

We have a gear store for anyone wanting HAWC merchandise.

Parents:  We have a waiting room with 10 comfy chairs, TV with Netflix, complimentary water, popcorn and wifi for those who wish to stay!

More info:




Remember The Wrestler: Cody Swim; Indianola HS/Grand View

Cody Swim was a 4X placer who was never more than one loss away from winning it. All 4 years, he lost only one match at state, placing 3-2-3-3. And he was always in brackets that had some of the most respected names in the game at the time. He is, in my opinion, one of the best wrestlers of that entire era that he wrestled in, which is saying a lot considering some of the absolute wilderbeasts that came from his era despite never winning the state tournament. I mean, the kid only had 7 career losses (one was from a slam call), which means that he only had 3 regular season losses ever…I know a lot of people (and I am one of the most guilty ones) place a lot of emphasis on the state tournament, for it is undoubtedly the most prestigious tournament of any HS kid’s HS season, but when it comes down to it… state is only one tournament… and in the other 140 or so matches he had outside of state, he was defeated only 3 times… incredible.


And he went on to have a nice collegiate career at Grand View and is now in the process of putting together a very respectable coaching resume. In 2019, I met some of the guys he coached from Des Moines North-Hoover while covering wrestling for The Predicament and a couple of those guys were among the most impressive individuals I interviewed that season, in which there were a couple hundred. And they all have great things to say about Cody. He’s been a great influence on and off the mat.

2007 3A 112

1. Nick Trizzino, Jr., Bettendorf

2. Jake Ballweg, Fr., Waverly-Shell Rock

3. Cody Swim, Fr., Indianola

4. Brandon Briggs, So., Keokuk

5. Nathan Vaske, So., West Delaware

6. Elijah Rivera, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington

7. Cody Luther, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

8. Alex Gonzales, Jr., Clinton

2008 3A 119

1. Jacob Ballweg, So., Waverly-Shell Rock

2. Cody Swim, So., Indianola  

3. George Ivanov, Sr., CB Lewis Central

4. Travis Evans, Sr., Ankeny  

5. Craig Johnson, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

6. Alex Gonzales, Sr., Clinton

7. Stephen Blayer, Jr., Iowa City High

8. Kyler Risher, Fr., Oskaloosa

2009 3A 130
1. Bret Baumbach, Sr., CB Lewis Central

2. Tommy Mirocha, Sr., Davenport Central

3. Cody Swim, Jr., Indianola

4. Gabe Moreno, Fr., Urbandale

5. Ben Cash, Sr., Des Moines Roosevelt

6. Jake Rizzio, Jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

7. Luke Pint, Sr., Waverly-Shell Rock

8. Val Flores, So., Mason City

2010 3A 145
1st: Cody Caldwell, Waverly-Shell Rock JR 25- 0
2nd: Gustavo Martinez, Marshalltown SR 26- 10
3rd: Cody Swim, Indianola SR 38- 2
4th: Trevor Duke, Burlington SR 29- 4
5th: Brett Sams, Oskaloosa SR 34- 5
6th: Sean DeGoey, Des Moines East SR 31- 14
7th: Dailey Johnson, Linn-Mar Marion SR 36- 7
8th: Tyler Maxwell, Glenwood SR 32- 10


Here is Cody Swim’s story told by Cody Swim himself!


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

– I wrestled for Team Porcelli for a few years then wrestled for High Altitude Wrestling Club in middle school and high school. I competed for Indianola in high school and Grand View University in college.


PINDOX: What year did you graduate?

– High school – 2010, College – 2015


PINDOX: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

– When I was in Kindergarten I came home from school with a sign up sheet and told my parents I wanted to do it. At the time I didn’t really know what wrestling was but I did know what WWF (WWE now) was and thought that was cool. No one in my family wrestled before me.


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

– No, I do not. I have a 4 year old son who may end up wrestlingif he chooses to.


PINDOX: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

– I placed at state a few times in my younger years and started picking up the pace in middle school and placed 3rd at state in 8th grade and won the Tulsa kickoff in 9th grade.  I wrestled Tanner Weathermen from Ballard, Brown from Oskaloosa, and Nick Moore a lot when I was younger.


PINDOX: What was your record in HS?

– 158-7  *( 1 loss came from a single leg being called a slam my freshman year. It was a close dual with Iowa City High and the kid laid down to get the 6 team points. Luckily I got to wrestle the same kid at state 1st round).


PINDOX: How did you place at state every year?

– Freshman – 3rd, Soph. – 2nd, Junior, – 3rd, Senior – 3rd.


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

– The biggest challenge was the state tournament and then cutting weight throughout the season. I believe I put too much pressure on myself when it came to the state tournament. I was close a bunch of times but wasn’t able to accomplish what I wanted. However, once I lost I was able to refocus and come back better. For weight cutting I didn’t really overcome that challenge until I learned how to do it the right way. Weight cutting definitely had lasting effects on my relationship with wrestling. I was anywhere from 13 – 17 lbs over the day after a weigh in. If I could redo it I wouldn’t cut weight and just focus on getting better and stronger.


PINDOX: How would you describe your wrestling style?

– I would say my style was more of an aggressive style but also I wanted to be as technical as possible. I had the mindset to make sure my opponent didn’t want to wrestle against me again whether I won or lost.


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

– There were a few guys I went back and forth with. Gustavo Martinez, Gabe Moreno, Nick Trizzino and Ben Cash.


PINDOX: Who was your most influential coach?

– I would say I had a lot of influential people and coaches throughout my career. As a youth wrestler Chuck Tyler, Chad Walker, and my dad put in a lot of time and effort into my wrestling. Middle school Coach Rogalla, Anthony Porcelli, and Chad Tunink all helped me a lot. In high school Matt Young and Chad Tunink also helped me a lot. In college I wrestled under Nick Mitchell and he definitely influenced me. That guy could travel the country and be a motivational speaker.

PINDOX: Was your team competitive in HS/college?

– In high school we always made it state duals and did well. I believe we won districts every year and won the CIML often as well. In college we were very competitive at Grand View.


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

– There were many but a few of the guys I loved to watch and learn from were John Smith, Mark Perry and Johnny Hendricks.


PINDOX: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

– Jake Marlin


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

– I tried to be like Mark Perry on top and John Smith on my feet.


PINDOX: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?

– John Smith vs. Spencer Lee


PINDOX: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

– All of my high school wrestlers first. Then it goes David Taylor, Bo Nickal, Jason Nolf, Gable Steveson, and Yianni.


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

– Everything, but for some reason ACDC and Tupac really got me going.


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

– Junior year at state losing in the quarterfinals to Brett Baumbach. We were both in the same scoring position. My takedown didn’t get called, but when he was in the same position his did. That was tough to swallow, but when it comes down to it I shouldn’t have left it up to a call and Brett Baumach is a great wrestler!


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

– I wouldn’t cut weight.


PINDOX: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

– Winning our first ever national title at Grand View for duals and the tournament.


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

– Nick Trizzino, Jacob Ballweg, Brett Bumbach, Gustavo Martinez, Gable Moreno, Ben Cash, Tommy Mirocha.


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

– I started wrestling all year toward high school.


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

– Thats a tough call. Wrestling is constantly evolving. But I feel like the guys today would get the better of the guys way back in the day.


PINDOX: Did you wrestle after high school?

– Yes at Grand View.


PINDOX: What other sports did you play?

– I played baseball until 6th grade and Football until High School.


PINDOX: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

– Spending time with my son and family. I also enjoy playing with my rottweiler Ragnar, fishing, and working out.


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

It feels extremely good to give back to the sport and community. This sport has shaped my life. You learn so many valuable lessons that translate to the real world. Wrestling helps you endure and overcome tough situations. If I can help mold our youth into contributing citizens of society through wrestling, then I am happy.


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

– Wrestling has taught me so much about life. Like I said previously it really helps you get through tough situations. It has taught me to never give up and to chase my dreams. It has instilled hard work and respect that has definitely benefited me. Wrestling has made me a better person.


PINDOX: What do you do now?

– I teach High School SPED at Interstate 35 High School. I am also the Head Wrestling Coach, Head Middle School football coach, and the football social media director of operations under the legendary Mike Stuart.


PINDOX: Are you still involved with wrestling?

– Yes. I am the head coach at Interstate 35 and I also offer numerous camps throughout the summer.

PINDOX: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

– Trust the process and your coaches. Work hard but also have fun. Lastly, don’t cut weight. Focus on getting better and stronger.


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

– I’ve floated the idea of doing the Stalemates Street League.


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

– I’d like to thank all of the coaches and past/current wrestlers I’ve coached. They all have had an impact on my life and I thank them for that. I’d also like to thank my family and girlfriend for always supporting me. I’m a pretty lucky guy to be surrounded by so many great people!

PINDOX: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.

– Lastly, I’d like to thank Damon Bryan. I share a classroom with him in the high school and I know he’d be upset if I didn’t mention his name.




Some Interesting Things About The 2008 Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament; 3A 145

NOTE: I’m sure I’m missing a ton of stuff in this one… I need to put more stuff together for this age group (2005-2012 range), but I haven’t as much as I’d like to, for I don’t have as many of the event programs as I do the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, as odd as that is. Whatever I am leaving out, post it in the comments and I’ll try to update the post when I can. Also, if any of you have “filled out” brackets from the early 2000’s until present day, by all means, send them my way if you’d like!

-The match between St. John and Gadson was anti-climatic, but really cool in retrospect considering how bright both of their future’s were at that time. Gadson at that time was still young… Just a Sophomore and was obviously still fine-tuning his skill set into what it ultimately became. St. John was a seasoned veteran by the time he was a Junior in 2008 and his expertise-level technical skills had spectators in awe by this point.

-Both of these guys had coaches in the corner who were D1 legends in their own competitive days… St John was coached by Mark Reiland. Reiland was a 2X state champion out of Eagle Grove HS and a 2X AA/1X NCAA Champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the early 90’s. Gadson had his father, the late and great Willie Gadson coaching him in his corner. Willie was a 2X AA for the Iowa State Cyclones in 1975 and 1976.

-There were three 2X state champions in this bracket. This was Derek St. John’s 2nd of 2 titles. Kyven was just a Sophomore that year and would win state as a Junior and Senior. Michael Kelly from Cedar Falls placed 4th and would win titles the following two years as a Junior and Senior.

-There were 5 total state finalists in this bracket. As noted, St. John, Gadson and Kelly were finalists. Along with them, were Joe Trizzino of Bettendorf and Spencer Belieu of Indianola. Both of those guys were eliminated in the round of 12 in 2008, but both of those guys would wrestle in the finals in 2010. Trizzino was runner-up to Kelly as a Senior at 3A 152 in 2010. As a Senior, BeLieu was runner-up to Nick Moore of IC West at 3A 160 in 2010. This was Moore’s 4th title.

-There were 2 future NCAA D1 National Champions in this bracket; St. John and Gadson. 2008 3A 145 lb. champion, Derek St. John from Iowa City West won a D1 championship for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2013 at 157 lbs. The runner-up in this bracket, Kyven Gadson out of Waterloo West won the 197 lb. D1 NCAA Title in 2015 for the Iowa State Cyclones.

-There were at least 3 future Iowa Hawkeyes in this bracket. They were: Derek St. John, Michael Kelly and Joe Trizzino. St. John was a 4X AA/1X National Champ and Michael Kelly was a National Qualifier for the Hawkeyes.


-There were 2 future Iowa State Cyclone affiliates in this bracket. Of course, the name Kyven Gadson is basically synonymous with “Iowa State Wrestling” at this point, for he was a 3X AA/1X Champion for them as well as some of the work he has done with them since his days of competing. Along with him , Derek St. John is also affiliated with Iowa State wrestling, for he has been on their staff as an assistant coach for the past 4-5 years.


PinDox Profile: Ron McDonald; Morning Sun HS ‘70

PinDox Profile: Ron McDonald; Morning Sun HS ‘70

During the night of districts in 1969, Ron McDonald of Morning Sun was presumably feeling as if he had hit rock bottom in his life, for he fell just short of qualifying for the state tournament as a Junior in HS by placing 3rd at districts. Fast forward a week and Ron McDonald was presumably feeling on top of the world, for he defied logic in a couple of big ways and somehow managed to find himself standing on top of the podium for the 1A 103 division…at the State Tournament in Waterloo.

Most of you are likely confused as to how Ron McDonald could manage to win state despite not qualifying. Ron’s story is proof that no matter how much of a negative outcome there may have been for you at districts, that it is imperative to stay at the top of your game whether you qualify or not, for you never know when things will fall into place for you, even if your world is shattered into pieces. Ron McDonald did not know he was wrestling at the State until the Thursday leading into the tournament. One of his opponents who placed ahead of him was declared unable to compete at the state tournament, which opened up a spot for McDonald to compete. And as the well-prepared, well-coached athlete that Ron McDonald was, he came into the tournament ready to go, for despite falling short at districts, he still kept himself in shape just in case. And it paid off, for not only did Ron win every match at the state tournament, but defied logic again in the finals when he came back from trailing 4-0 to secure the state championship. He won a state championship, partially thanks to his heart and unbelievable gas tank. Had he thrown in the towel and quit working hard after falling short at districts, who knows if he would have even placed at state, let alone made the comeback that he did. With this state championship, Ron became the 2nd ever state champion to come out of Morning Sun HS, with the first being Al Baxter. And with Nick Hobbs’s contributions at the tournament that year by placing 3rd at 120 lbs., Morning Sun also managed to place 3rd as a team in the A Division. Pretty cool considering Morning Sun was one of the smallest programs in the entire state to actually have wrestling.

Ron McDonald would place 2nd as a Senior in 1970 the following year and was a big contributor to Morning Sun finishing 3rd at state as a team again. To date, he is the only wrestler in Iowa HS history to place 3rd at districts and win state.


PinDox Profile: Dave Durrell; North Polk, Alleman ‘81 (RIP)

PinDox Profile: Dave Durrell; North Polk, Alleman ‘81 (RIP)

In 1978, a Freshman named Dave Durrell from North Polk, Alleman came into the Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament at 1A 126 sporting a 24-3 record. He was defeated by a Senior named Luther Beenken from Reinbeck first round and Beenken went on to place 3rd. I do not believe Durrell had a wrestle back after being beaten, but nevertheless, he did not place that year. However, the experience was unquestionably valuable, for that was the only year of HS where Durrell did not make the podium. In fact, he spent the next 3 years occupying one of the top 2 spots on that podium.

The next year as a Sophomore, Durrell broke out in a big way at the state tournament. He came in with a 22-5 record and drew future state champion, Mike Johnson of Terril first round and won the match. This was his first of 3 consecutive wins at the tournament, for he made the finals where he fell to returning state champion, Mark Stevens if Northwood-Kensett.

1979 1A 132

1. Mark Stevens, Sr., Northwood

2. Dave Durrell, So., Alleman-North Polk
3. Monte Dill, Sr., Morning Sun
4. Brad Bitcon, Sr., Traer-North Tama
5. Doug Manley, Sr., Akron
6. Brian Alger, Jr., Lisbon

As a Junior at 1A 132 in 1980, Durrell came into state wrestling with an undefeated record of 29-0 and started out by defeating Leroy Green of Iowa School For The Deaf in Council Bluffs by the score of 11-9. He then dominated his next two matches to advance to the state finals. He defeated Duane Grave of George in the quarterfinals by the score of 13-0 and followed this up with a fall over Mitch Moyer of Janesville in the semifinals. He was stopped in the finals by Mike Johnson of Terril. This was the same wrestler who Durrell defeated in the first round the previous season. Johnson was on a roll that year.

1980 1A 132
1. Mike Johnson, Sr., Terril

2. Dave Durrell, Jr., Alleman, North Polk

3. Hank Drake, Jr., Eldora

4. Mitch Moyer, Sr., Janesville

5. KC Kersten, Sr., Logan-Magnolia

6. Leroy Green, Jr., Iowa School for the Deaf, Council


As a Senior in 1981, Durrell won some huge matches before reaching the finals for the 3rd consecutive year. He beat Keevin Shaffer of Lisbon in the quarterfinals. Shaffer would win state the following year and 5th in 1981. Durrell defeated Al Weber of Woodward-Granger in the semifinals. Weber placed 3rd the year before and would go on to place 3rd in this tournament as well. This set up a finals match with Leroy Green of The Iowa School For The Deaf in Council Bluffs. This was a rematch of the first round from the previous season in which Durrell won 11-9. That’s two seasons in a row where Durrell met a guy in the finals who he had battled first round the previous season. Kind of crazy. Durrell would be victorious in this one as well, securing his permanent status as a 3X state finalist and 1X state champion. He is one of two state champions to come out of North Polk HS to this day.

1981 1A 138

1. David Durrell, Sr., Alleman-North

2. Leroy Green, Sr., Iowa School for the Deaf-Council

3. Al Weber, Sr., Woodward Granger

4. Kelly McGovern, Jr., Riceville

5. Keevin Shaffer, Jr., Lisbon
6. Joe McKinney, Sr., Waukee

Dave Durrell ended up attending Iowa State University and lived in California for 20 years with his wife and children. Sadly, in September of 2019, Dave Durrell passed away at the age of 56. Iowa HS wrestling lost an early-80’s legend that day.


PinDox Profile: Tyler Foubert; Tri County-Montezuma/Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont ‘14/William Penn

I wrote this one about 8 months ago and forgot to post it. Tyler Foubert was a 4X State Qualifier/3X State Placer/1X State Champion who competed for Tri-County-Montezuma and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in HS. Tyler was very good from a young age on the youth circuit, for I know he won his share of USA, GSS and AAU titles prior to HS. He was always on the elite Iowa team for youth national level dual tournaments. And his success at the youth level carried over to HS.

Tyler wrestled his first 3 seasons in HS for Tri-County-Montezuma. He placed 7th as a Freshman at 1A 140 and 3rd as a Sophomore at 2A 145. As a Sophomore, he had a pretty close match with Senior, Robert Walker of Martensdale-St. Mary’s in the semifinals. Walker beat Foubert 11-8, but that was pretty close for Robert Walker at the time, for when he was a Senior that year and undefeated on the season. In fact, when Walker won his finals match, that was his 3rd state championship. So that was an impressive showing for Foubert, despite the loss. In Tyler’s Junior season, he qualified for state, but did not place.

Tyler competed for Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont as a Senior in HS. In Tyler’s Senior season, he was straight-up dominant at the state tournament. Get this… in his first two matches at the state tournament in 2014, he recorded a :13 second pin in the first match and and :29 second pin in his quarterfinals match. He only had to wrestle :42 seconds to make the semifinals match at state… That’s incredible. Tyler won his semifinal match 8-2 over Wyatt Lewis from CB St. Albert’s and proceeded to win his finals match via Major Decision by beating Kallan Schmeizer of Southwest Valley by the score of 14-3. Eddyville-BF won the team title that year!

Tyler went on to wrestle collegiately for William Penn where I know he was a letter-winner at least a couple seasons, I believe.

This guy was an outstanding wrestler. Fun to watch.

2011 1A 140

1st: Robert Walker, Martensdale-St. Marys JR 46- 0
2nd: Nolan Oviatt, Logan-Magnolia SR 44- 3
3rd: Skyler Rice, Emmetsburg/RA SR 28- 5
4th: Wes Prill, Pleasantville SR 39- 9
5th: Tait Simpson, Lisbon JR 36- 4
6th: Braiden Vrzak, Turkey Valley Jackson Jct SR 35- 13
7th: Tyler Foubert, Tri-County-Montezuma FR 48- 7
8th: Matt Steffen, Kingsley-Pierson SR 33- 9

2012 2A 145
1st: Robert Walker of Martensdale-St Marys 30-0 Sr.
2nd: Jake Slocum of West Branch 44-5 Sr.
3rd: Tyler Foubert of Tri-County-Montezuma 48-6 So
4th: Ben Huber of Hudson 46-6 Sr.
5th: Teddie Harvey of St. Edmond, Fort Dodge 30-4 Jr
6th: Grant Henderson of Alburnett 41-6 Jr
7th: Spencer Kelly of Rockford 47-6 Sr.
8th: Mike Novotny of Underwood 40-5 Sr.

2014 1A 160

1 Tyler Foubert, Eddyville-BF

2 Kallan Schmelzer, Southwest Valley

3 Kegen Fingalsen, Central Springs

4 Casey Pence, West Branch

5 Jake Hogan, Don Bosco

6  Wyatt Lewis, St. Albert,CB

7 Caden Doll of Lynnville-Sully

8 Schuyler Rilling of Woodbury Central


PinDox Profile: Steve Knipp; Waterloo Columbus HS/Georgia/UNI/Waterloo East (Coaching)

Steve Knipp is a native of one of Iowa’s wrestling hotbeds… Waterloo. He is the oldest of 7 brothers; all who wrestle. Steve went to Waterloo Columbus and that is where he wrestled in HS. After HS, he wrestled collegiately for a couple squads. He started out at the University of Georgia and then competed at UNI.

After coaching, Knipp went into coaching and did a tremendous job with it. Knipp was the head wrestling coach at East Waterloo High School for 26 years, leading his wrestlers to the Iowa state team title in 1983. During his tenure he coached 33 state place winners and eight state champions.

And to make the is man more impressive, he is also very accomplished and respected for his volunteer work. Knipp is best known for his work as a volunteer at local, state, and national wrestling events. USA Wrestling named him Kids Person of the Year in 2002 and National Events Person of the Year in 2007. While assuming these roles, he developed a reputation for ensuring tournaments in the area were well run and properly staffed. Knipp received the Russ Smith Community Impact Award at the Glen Brand Hall of Fame ceremony in 2010 for his contributions in the sport of wrestling.

Knipp is a member of a few exclusive groups in which entrance is determined by your ongoing and consistent success. He’s a member of the East High Hall Of Fame, The Battle of Waterloo Hall Of Fame and the Glen Brand National Wrestling Hall Of Fame/Dan Gable Museum.

Simply put, Knipp’s influence has been so impactful and versatile, that Iowa HS wrestling would not be the same as it is today, without Steve Knipp.


Eric Hanson; Perry HS ‘85 (RIP)

Eric Hanson; Perry HS ‘85 (RIP)

If we are gonna talk about some of the best guys from the 80’s to never win state, you would not be doing your due diligence in researching this topic if you were to leave out Eric Hansen of Perry HS. Eric Hansen defeated some guys who went on to become some of our states most legendary and notorious wrestlers. Wait til’ you read this…

As a Sophomore in HS, Eric came into the state tournament at 2A 98 lbs. with a 27-1 record and defeated one of my home school’s best ever wrestlers who never placed, Brett Andrews of Mepo. Andrews had a 26-1 record coming in himself… big win for Hansen. He made the semis when he defeated Tom Dumbaugh of Mount Vernon, but was defeated in a close 4-2 match by future 3X state champ and D1 National Champ, Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall. Eric went on to place 5th that year.

1983 2A 98

1. Scott Mangrich, So., Don Bosco
2. Jason Kelber, Fr., State Center-West Marshall
3. Mark Pogge, So., Tri-Center Neola
4. Brett Sweeney, So., Osage
5. Eric Hansen, So., Perry
6. Mick Harding, So., Emmetsburg

As a Junior in HS, Hansen came into state with a 25-1 record and was at 2A 98 lbs. again. He made the semifinals that year and beat a couple of absolute hammers. First round, he defeated a Freshman from Sheldon who I’m sure a lot of you have probably heard of before. His name is Tom Brands and Hansen won the match 11-2. Brands was young at the time and clearly hadn’t reached his potential at the time, but come on…it was Tom Brands. That was a huge win. Brands went on to attain legendary status for his accomplishments on the mat and now via coaching. He is the current Head Coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Hansen followed this up with a win over Johnston’s Bill Marlin. Marlin was 26-0 coming into the match. In the semis, Hansen was defeated by 2X state champion, Terry Schmuecker of Benton Community. Eric fought back hard and won two more nice matches to place 3rd.


1984 2A 98

1. Terry Schmuecker, Jr., Van
2. Skip Steiert, So., State Center-West Marshall
3. Eric Hansen, Jr., Perry
4. Jeff Hunt, Sr., Glenwood
5. Gary Foster, So., Camanche
6. Travis Frush, Fr., LaPorte City

As a Senior, Hansen went up a weight to 2A 105. And oddly enough, guess who he drew first round? You guessed it, Tom Brands from Sheldon. As convincingly as he defeated Brands the year before, one would assume that he wouldn’t have much trouble in this match, but this was obviously a turning point year for Brands, for Tom won the match 8-3. Tom Brands went on to make the finals, so Hansen was able to wrestle back and he did so in admirable fashion, for he fought his way all the way back for 3rd place. In the consolations, he defeated yet another future Hawkeye legend…. Chad Zaputil of Centerville. Zaputil would go on to become a 3X finalist/2X State Champion and would become won of the most decorated Iowa Hawkeyes of all time, becoming a 3X NCAA runner-up. Obviously yet another huge win on Hansen’s resume.

1985 2A 105

  1. Jason Kelber, Jr., State
    Center-West Marshall
    2. Tom Brands, So., Sheldon
    3. Eric Hansen, Sr., Perry
    4. Ted Henderson, Sr., Glenwood
    5. Matt Kaldenberg, Jr., Winterset
    6. Paul Petry, So., Hudson

Eric Hansen finished his HS career placing 5th, 3rd and 3rd. Incredible, considering who he was faced with year-in, year-out.

In December of 2020, Eric Hansen passed away. I don’t know how or any details, but his wrestling legacy should not be looked over nor forgotten. A Perry HS legend.


I watched Paul Glynn II compete on the wrestling mat, pretty much from the time he began wrestling all the way until the conclusion of his career. He and my brother, Shea wrestled probably 20.   That’s a kid who never failed to make consistent progressions every year that he competed.  Every year he made strides. When I first saw him as a Pee-Wee wrestler, he was a “fringe-placer.” One of those guys who would place in the 6-8th range or sometimes be beaten out. By the time he was a Senior in HS, he was one of the best pound for pound wrestlers in his graduating class and has a legit case for being one of the best wrestlers of all time to not win a state title. And he had a tenure for the Iowa Hawkeyes where he was their starter, so he obviously continued to prosper in college, for simply making that roster is a testament to someone’s skill level and toughness.

There is one year that sticks out to me in terms of it being a turning point in Paul Glynn’s career. When he was a 7th or 8th grader, I saw him have one of the worst weekends of his life at state freestyle and Greco. He took some ugly losses to guys that should have never beaten him and he was incredibly upset about it. I don’t know if that bad weekend had an impact on him or not, but I always thought so, for he was at a different level the following season and never looked back. Those guys who beat him that terrible weekend at Freco State would never come close to beating him again. It seemed like his foot was on the accelerator from that point on.

I always liked running into the Glynn family at wrestling events. They were always cordial, polite and professional. There was never any hostility from them, even in the most heated of matches. They always treated us with the utmost respect. And when you would converse with them, they always asked how you were doing and always offered to help out if in need. I don’t think Paul Glynn Sr. ever forgot the name of someone he met at a wrestling event or whatever it may have been that was discussed with him. It’s always refreshing, knowing that someone is actually listening to you when you talk to them.

What is interesting about the Glynn father-and-son duo is that they both had similar and rather unfortunate conclusions to their tenures wrestling for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  Paul Glynn Sr. was ranked 2nd in the nation for the Hawkeyes and lost his varsity spot in the last week of challenge matches to Brad Penrith, who went on to become a National Champion. Paul Glynn II was the 133 lb. starter for the Hawkeyes his Sophomore year and the projected 133 lb. starter for the remainder of his career until he lost his spot to Austin Desanto, who  transferred in Paul’s Junior year and is now a multiple AA.  Both situations obviously unfortunate for them, but on the bright side, they have so much to be proud of just being on that team, and they both undoubtedly played roles in the success the starters had via working out/practicing and just being supportive in general… which from my experiences with the Glynn’s, is the way they naturally are (supportive).

Paul Glynn…A GREAT wrestler and a very intelligent, insightful person. Here is his story!!!


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

– I wrestled for Bettendorf my whole life. I wrestled in the Bettendorf wrestling club and young guns throughout middle school. In high school, I went to Big Game wrestling club and was mainly coached by Joey Slaton in the offseason.

PinDox: What year did you graduate?

-I graduated in 2015


PinDox: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

-My dad got me into wrestling once I could start walking. He was the main reason why I became a wrestler.


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

-My dad wrestled and my uncle Mike did as well. My dad won the Iowa High school state tournament as a Senior and my uncle Mike got 4th. My dad went on to wrestle under Dan Gable In the 80’s where they won five national titles while he was in college. My dad was ranked 2nd in the country as a senior and was eventually beat out by teammate Brad Penrith who then went on to win the Big Ten’s and NCAA championship.


PinDox: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

-I was always the kid who would qualify for state, but never had any real success as a kid. I played 4th in 7th grade and took 6th in 8th grade. My rivals growing up were Nolan Hellickson, Travis Willers, Hunter Washburn, Shea Swafford, Carter Happel, and Matt Wempen.


PinDox: What was your record in HS?

-Not sure on my exact record in High School but I believe I had it was something like 115-29.


PinDox: How did you place at state every year?

-I was on JV my first year of high school. My sophomore year I was a qualifier, my Junior year I took second to Alijah Jeffries, and my senior year I lose to Michael Zachary.


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

-There are so many moments in the sport of wrestling that gave me challenges and adversity and that is what makes this sport so great. You really find out who you are as a man and what you are made of. The top moments that really stick out to me while looking back at my career is my semi finals match at state my Junior year where I beat Michael Zachary to make my first state finals. In that moment, I had a lot of satisfaction. I had fallen short the year before and was on JV just two years before that. It took a lot of work and positive self talk to get there. In college, the big adversity I faced was when Austin Desanto transferred in my Junior year after I was the starter the year before. While most people would have transferred and switched schools, I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I wanted out of this sport and stuck it out at Iowa. That moment and event taught me to stick to your guns and fight for what you want. In the process of chasing the starting position at Iowa, I knew nothing was going to be guaranteed and it wasn’t going to be something easy. I was cutting a lot of weight to make 133. I remember going for runs at 9 at night on a Saturday night in college by myself, visualizing chasing down that spot. Nobody knew the work I was doing other than my roommate Michael Kemerer. I think what I am trying to say is that you learn to fall in love with the process in moments like that. There’s something exciting about chasing down something that is challenging and hard. At the end of the day, I fell short of beating out Desanto. But in the end, looking back, I know I gave it my all and because of Austin Desanto transferring in, it elevated me. And in the moments where I got to start my Junior and Senior year, I was ready.


PinDox: How would you describe your wrestling style?

-Passionate and Gritty. Someone who would fight for every point. I wasn’t the most talented or gifted, but when I went out on the mat I gave it everything I had.


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

-Brenden Gould from Assumption and Henry Pohlmeyer from Johnston. One guy that sticks out to me also is Nathan Sands. I ended up winning every match, but they were all super close. I think we wrestled 15 times in three years.

PinDox: Who was your most influential coach?

-My dad, Dan knight, Joe Slaton, And my college coaches. They all taught me so much not in my sport, but In life. I still keep in touch with most of them today.


PinDox: Was your team competitive in HS/college?

-Both high school and college teams were competing for the championship every year. My senior year in college, we went undefeated and won the Big 10’s. Unfortunately, our season was cut short because of Covid.


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

-My dad.


PinDox: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

-Cory Clark


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

-That’s a tough question. Not really. Maybe Alex Meyer who was my teammate in college. We both had a lot of matches where we came back and won. Both of us grinded out matches and were gritty.


PinDox: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?

-My dad vs me. We always joke about who would have won.

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

-There’s so many to name. I take a lot of pride being from Iowa and all the kids I grew up wrestling with. Carter Happel and Nolan Hellickson sticks out to me a lot because we wrestled all the time in the off-season together. Another that I always looked up to in high school was Max Thomsen. He was extremely driven and always worked super hard. I always respected him for that. Besides that, everyone who I would wrestle on summer teams with.

PinDox: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Michael Kemerer, Spencer Lee, Thomas Gilman, Alex Marinelli, and Jacob Warner. Pretty much any of my old teammates. I love those guys and want to see them do great things on the mat and in life.


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

-Anything that made me calm and fired up at the same time.

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

-My senior year state finals. I remember being in tears on the award stand and was made fun of a lot for that. But it broke my heart because I put in everything for that moment. Everything is earned in this sport and nothing is given. That’s what makes it great. There are no guarantees.


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

-Obviously there is stuff that you always reflect on. However, I would say nothing. I believe and accept that everything in my career shaped me and taught me lessons for a REASON. When I was wrestling, I had the decision then to make the choice to be as good as I could be. That’s why when looking back, I don’t wish I could go back and change anything in my career because I also know that I poured my heart into it.


PinDox: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

-Placing 5th at the midlands as a backup at the Midlands or beating Dylan Duncan from Illinois as a Junior. I say this because the year before he beat me 10-0 at the big tens. It showed how much I improved in one year. Also, beating Phillip Laux in my wrestle off as a sophomore. No one believed I was going to be able to beat him before the match.


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

-In high school it was Brendan should from Assumption, Carter Happel from Lisbon, Nolan Hellickson from SEP, Michael Zachary from Dowling, and Kade Brock from Oklahoma. I think I wrestled Kaid 10 plus times throughout highschool. In college it was Dylan Duncan from Illinois, Colin Valvideaz from Northwestern and Garret Pepple from Michigan State


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

-Year round


PinDox: How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys from your dad’s day?

-I believe my generation of wrestling is truly something special but his was as well. With the way wrestling has evolved, I believe that my era would definitely win. However, the guys back then would have been studs today as well so it’s hard to say. Can’t give the old guys to much credit now.

PinDox: What stories do you remember hearing from your dad growing up about his wrestling career? What were some names you remember hearing about? Do you think his era was tough?

-His era was incredibly tough. So many good guys came from that time period. There are to many stories to bring up. He had multiple from high school and college that he would always tell me as a kid growing up. I really think that’s how I fell in love with the sport.


PinDox: How proud are you to be a 2nd generation Bettendorf Wrestling product?

-I am proud of that but always wanted to write my own story. I am super proud of my dads accomplishments, but this journey of wrestling was about writing my own story.


PinDox: How would you describe some of the personalities on the Iowa Hawkeye team you were a part of?

-To many to describe and go over. So many different personalities but love all those guys.


PinDox: How strong willed does a person need to be to make it through an entire college career as a Hawkeye wrestler, as you did?

-Extremely strong willed and passionate. I have a few guys I graduated with that never started a match and stuck with the program for five years. I respect the hell out of them.


PinDox: Did you wrestle after high school?

-Yes at Iowa.


PinDox: What sports did you play? How did you do in each of them?

-Growing up I played legit probably every sport. Soccer was by far my best and I ended up quitting in 8th grade to focus on wrestling.


PinDox: What are your favorite sports teams?

-Cardinals, Lakers, and the Raiders.


PinDox: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

-I loved to fish and do stuff outside.


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

-I love giving back to the sport. It has taught me so much and it’s hard to imagine my life without it.


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

-It has shaped me into being able to deal with hardships and adversity. It has also taught me how to have extremely good work ethic.


PinDox: What do you do now?

-Medical Sales for a company called Stryker.


PinDox: Are you still involved with wrestling?

-I took a lot of time off of the sport this past year. However, I wrestle sometimes up in Indiana with a high schooler named Jesse Mendez and just started as a volunteer assistant at the University of Chicago.


PinDox: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

-Just enjoy the sport and the memories. At the end of the day, it really is just a sport. Learn to have fun and work hard. Never give up and never let anyone tell you what you can do or be.


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

-Maybe one more match


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

-Michael Kemerer. He was my roommate for 5 years in college and has been with me through a lot of hard moments and great moments as well. He’s a loyal friend, who I still talk to a really good amount. I consider him family.


PinDox: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.

PAUL GLYNN-Nothing else to add. I love this content you put out!


PinDox Profile: Cory Connell; Iowa City High HS/Iowa Hawkeyes/Wartburg College

I’ve been meaning to put something together for Cory for a long time… whether it was a “Remember The Wrestler” article, one of these, etc. I mean, it was just a matter of time, for anyone who has known me and talked wrestling with me since I was a kid, one thing that has always remained constant was how high of a regard I hold this guy in. I’ve stated, on several occasions, that Cory Connell was the best wrestler I ever faced in my entire life…And I stick to that. I wrestled him competitively in youth and practiced with him during the off-season in HS. There is not a wrestler I ever faced who I would consider better than this man. And he’s one of the best people you’ll meet.

So what better time to pay tribute to someone who I consider to be one of the best wrestlers I have ever met than his BIRTHDAY!!!! Today is Cory Connell’s birthday…. Number 40, I assume! If you see him around, make sure to throw him down and give him 40 birthday spankings!!! Good luck with that, btw. Unless your name is Jeff McGinness or something similar, I don’t expect you to get very far with this quest.

Ok, to start… when I was a 3rd grader and Cory was a 4th grader, we met at AAU State in the quarterfinals and he beat me 5-4. The match was so close and so heated that there was a flurry at the end of the match where I think I almost scored a TD which would have won the match for me, but it was called out of bounds or time ran out or something. Whatever the case, one of my coaches, “Coach John,” had me convinced that I had been ripped off in that match and boy, was I ever mad about that. Funny thing is, the match was probably officiated perfectly. I think Coach John just liked to get me riled up.

Fast forward a year and a half to the Mt. Pleasant Youth Tournament at the beginning of the season my 5th grade year. I looked at my bracket and immediately got fired up. That Connell kid was in my bracket. “Finally I can get my revenge,” I thought to myself. I started warming up and possessed the intensity of a crazed chimpanzee who’s territory had been raided and his bananas stolen. I was ready to go. I couldn’t wait to kick the crap out of this kid. How dare “the ref” let this kid beat me at state 2 seasons ago.

So I took the mat with an unshakable snarl on my face, shook hands with Cory and boom…. I was taken down and pinned in :45 seconds. That’s right… I was taken down, put in some sort of arm bar that was basically foreign to me, went to my back without realizing how I got there and pinned as if my shoulders were metal plates and the mat was a magnet. He recorded the fall in :45 seconds. 45….. seconds…. I ended up wrestling until my Junior year in college and that was the ONLY time I ever had a match where I was simply taken down, turned and pinned right away like some jabroni… I think it was the only time I was ever pinned in the first period…ever. Cory, to me,  went from being this kid that I thought I could beat to the absolute prototype of the wrestler I wanted to become. My entire youth and HS career, if my parents or I mentioned the name “Cory Connell,” he was THE standard of wrestling greatness. I never held anyone in higher regard than him in his wrestling career. That season ended up being a great one for me… I didn’t lose another match until state, where I was beaten 10-0 by JJ Butteris second round, but then I wrestled back like 6 matches to take 3rd place. JJ took 7th, somehow. The winner? You guessed it… Cory Connell. He breezed through it. Cory went on to win several more big tournaments in his youth career.

When Cory got into HS, he started out as a very undersized Freshman with some log-jammage in the IC High lineup if memory serves me correctly. He’s one of these guys who would have been better off had they not gotten rid of the 98 lb. division a few years before. He wasn’t able to make a splash at the state tournament until his Sophomore year in 1998 at 3A 103. He started out by beating Tom Paulson of Urbandale first round by the score of 10-0. The next round, he pinned Adam Olson of CR Prairie in :45 seconds. :45 seconds… hmm, that sounds familiar. That’s just the speed he operated at I guess! That was a big win, for Adam Olson was good… he wrestled a lot of freestyle and did well in that scene. In fact, they used to have him show freestyle technique before tournaments being started. In the semis, Cory was pinned by Brian Hessenius of Le Mars. I don’t know what happened in this match, nor do I know what the score of that match was before the fall, but I do know that Brian Hessenius was a very dangerous wrestler who put a lot of people away quickly… He holds the records to this day for the fastest fall at the state tournament.  Anyways, Cory rebounded and fought back to place 3rd. His loss to Hessenius was his only loss on the season.

Between Cory’s Sophomore and Junior seasons, he took a huge growth spurt from 103 to 130. Lurking in those waters was a foe who he had a history with. In fact, this was the guy who beat him in the AAU State finals when he was a 4th grader and I was a 3rd grader. His name was Ryan Heim from Dubuque Hempstead. After beating Matt Sharp of Cedar Falls first round (he wrestled back for 6th) and Joe Malsam of SC Heelan in the quarterfinals (he wrestled back for 4th), Cory and Heim met up and had a match that my mom always described as one of the closest and most intense matches she ever witnessed. I don’t know what the final score was, but my mom remembers that match to this day and apparently, Heim pulled out a squeaker to advance to the finals. Connell fought back hard on the backside and had to settle for 3rd place again.

As a Senior in 2000, everything finally fell into place for Cory Connell. Cory defeated Josh Pratt of Spencer in the first round 9-4, Josh Peterson of Clinton in the semifinals via TF and defeated Adam Olaby of DM Lincoln in the finals by the score of 9-2. However, the match that sticks out above all others in this one was his 1-0 win over Travis Paulson of Lewis Central. This match is the ONLY match that prevented Paulson from being a 4X state champion. A huge win for Cory. Cory concluded his HS career with an undefeated, state championship season. He finished his HS career as a 3X placer with a career record of 146-12.

Cory went on to initially wrestle at The University of Iowa. After a couple years there, he transferred to Wartburg and had a great collegiate at the D3 level in which he became a 2X AA and a National runner-up.

After Cory’s competitive career was finished, he went on to coaching. He started out at Waverly-Shell Rock High School for a year where he helped coach the Go-Hawks in 2006 to a third place finish at the State Tournament and a fourth place at State Duals. He then went on to accept the Eddyville-Blakesburg HC position, where he built one of the best programs in the state.  Under Coach Connell EBF had the six best years in the history of the program. He coached the first three State Champions in school history, 17 State Place Winners, 27 State Qualifiers, and 43 District Qualifiers.  Cory was named the Iowa HS 1A State Coach of the Year in 2010. He was the District Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2010. 

Cory took over the head coaching position at his Alma Matter, Iowa City High in 2012.  Since then, the Little Hawks have prospered under his tutelage. Connell was voted District and MVC Conference Coach of the Year in 2018.  In 2018, City High won their first Conference Dual and Tournament Championship since 2002.  They finished 8th at the Individual and Dual State Championships and won a District Championship in 2018 & 2019.  He also coached Individual State Champions in 2018, 2020 and 2021.

Cory has also spent some time coaching several Iowa National Teams on the Freco scene and has spent some time working on the USA Wrestling board. He is also staple as a referee in Freestyle/Greco. Seems like you’ll see him officiating every Freco tournament around in the Eastern Iowa region.

He’s one of the greats, in my book… from multiple angles (wrestling, coaching, administration) and is a perfect example/reason as to why the sport of wrestling prospers in the state of Iowa. We have been blessed to have him here. I have two nephews, Jensen and Asher Swafford (Justin’s boys) who wrestle for the City High MatPac Youth Wrestling Club and live in the IC High school district. I couldn’t be more happy about that, for I know they will be in good hands with the legend, Cory Connell as their Head Coach.

Happy birthday, Cory! You are THE MAN!!!

1998 3A 103

1. Brian Hessenius, LeMars

2. Chad Davis, Lewis Central

3. Cory Connell, IC High

4. Sullivan Baccam, DM North

5. Nick Voss, Pleasant Valley

6. Cody Lowman, Johnston

1999 3A 130

1. Ryan Heim, Sr., Dubuque Hempstead

2. Matt Vasey, DM Lincoln

3. Cory Connell, Jr., Iowa City High

4. Joe Malsam, Sr., Sioux City Heelan

5. Matt Sharp, Jr., Cedar Falls

6. Rob Holub, So., West Des Moines Valley

2000 3A 130

1. Cory Connell, Sr., Iowa City High

2. Adam Olaby, Sr., Des Moines Lincoln

3. Brett Stedman, So., Sioux City Heelan

4. Jim Tripp, Sr., Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln

5. Travis Paulson, So., Council Bluffs Lewis Central

6. Josh Petersen, Jr., Clinton


PinDox Profile: Brian Forgy; Winterset HS

PinDox Profile: Brian Forgy; Winterset HS ‘85

Yesterday, I posted an article on John Ites from Iowa Falls and in the article, I made the claim that John Ites from Iowa Falls, like Dan Sinnott of Albia, is one of the greatest wrestlers from that era to never win state. In the comments, someone brought to my attention yet another wrestler that was right in that mix that I had yet to notice. His name was Brian Forgy.


After looking into this, holy cow does he have a point! Brian Forgy had one of the most frustrating careers I’ve seen on paper. And most certainly a heartbreaking 2nd half to his postseason career. He accomplished a lot, but the line drawn between him and multiple state champs is razor thin. He deserves some major credit for how good he obviously was.

Brian Forgy made his first appearance at the state tournament in 1982. He was in the 2A 98 lb. division and had an impressive record of 23-1. He won two nice matches over Lenny Goetz of Creston and Jake Ressler of Cascade, but fell in the semis to Mark Schwab of Osage, who was en route to winning his 1st of 4 state titles. Forgy bounced back with very impressive wins over fantastic wrestlers, Grant Eckenrod of Benton, Van Horne and Don Hoffman of East Union to place 3rd. He finished the season 27-2.

The next year, Forgy came into the state tournament with an unblemished record of 20-0. He won via injury default first round over Grant Eckenrod and then defeated Mike Stilson of Hampton to reach the semis, where again, he faced Mark Schwab of Osage. It appears Schwab won this one 9-2. Forgy bounced back to place 3rd again by defeating Lenny Goetz of Creston and Jon Anderson of Waukee to finish 3rd again. He finished the year with a season record of 24-1. His career record at this point was 51-3.

Forgy’s presumed frustration began at the state tournament his Junior year in 1984. He came into the tournament at 2A 112 with a 24-4 record and was defeated by phenom Freshman, Steve Hamilton from Emmetsburg first round by the score of 3-0. He was eliminated… did not get a chance to wrestle back. Steve Hamilton would win 2 state titles in his HS career. Forgy’s career record was 75-8 at this point. 

In 1985, Forgy was a Senior and came into the state tournament at 2A 119 with a sparkling 24-0 record. He was beaten first round by Darron Jones in OT. He did get a chance to wrestle back this time, but was eliminated when he lost another close match to Mike Malcom of Glenwood, 4-1… Who knows, Forgy may not have been on top of his game in that match after his dreams of becoming a state champion were shattered first round. Mark Schwab would win that bracket as well. Mark Schwab won ALL 4 of the state brackets that Forgy was in. Forgy finished that season with a 24-2 season record.

Brian Forgy finished his career as a 2X 3rd placer with a career record of 99-10. Great career, Brian! You deserve tons of respect for your accomplishments!


1982 2A 98

1. Mark Schwab, Fr., Osage
2. Jeff Schmitz, Fr., Don Bosco
3. Brian Forgy, Fr., Winterset
4. Don Hoffman, So., Afton-East Union
5. Grant Eckenrod, So., Van Horne-Benton Community
6. Kent Sesker, Fr., Tipton


1983 2A 105

1. Mark Schwab, So., Osage
2. John Ites, Jr., Iowa Falls
3. Brian Forgy, So., Winterset
4. Jon Anderson, Jr., Waukee
5. Lanny Goetz, Sr., Creston
6. Don Hoffman, Jr., Afton-East Union


PinDox Profile: G. Wyatt Schultz; Postville HS; Owner Of “The Predicament” (RIP)

Wyatt Schultz aka the owner of “The Predicament” passed away a few weeks ago and pretty much every wrestling media publication, personality, outlet, etc. weighed-in on it and expressed their sympathies/sentiments. Pretty much everyone other than me, which obviously raised some eyebrows, considering the fact that a large part of the wrestling world knew that I was a contributor for The Predicament for a long time before starting The Pin Doctors. And well, the reason I hadn’t, was because I posted something about him a couple days before he passed, asking for people to keep him in their thoughts, for I had received several pm’s from people telling me that he was sick and I just simply wanted to get the wrestling community behind him. I wanted to crawl in the world’s deepest hole after finding out how terrible of timing it was to do that. I didn’t realize how severe it was and I didn’t realize how few people knew when I had posted it. Not a proud moment for me.

Anyways, here is my belated tribute to Wyatt Schultz… without this man giving me a chance, The Pin Doctors would not exist.

Wyatt is a very influential and prominent figure in wrestling media, for he owns “The Predicament,” which is Iowa’s oldest and award-winning wrestling media outlet. The Predicament has been covering wrestling longer and better than about anything out there. In fact, The Predicament (which has gone through transitional periods in ownership since it’s formation) has been providing wrestling coverage since 1970. Wyatt was a graduate of Postville HS and while there, participated in football, wrestling and baseball. He attended North Iowa Area Community College after HS. Wyatt started out as a sports photographer for the local newspaper when his youngest son was in high school. He took photos for football, baseball and of course, wrestling. It wasn’t long before he made such an impression that he was hired in the 90’s by former owner of “The Predicament,” Ron Seaman. Seaman wanted Wyatt to take pictures for him at wrestling events to be published in “The Predicament.” Wyatt agreed and did great in this role, to such a high level where he was named the 1998 USA Wrestling Photographer Of The Year.

As previously mentioned, Wyatt eventually became the owner of The Predicament and as owner he wore several “hats” including, but not limited to; photographer, editor, publisher, host of “The Pinning Combination” podcast, etc. He received the Russ Smith Community Impact Award in 2013, which is given to people who demonstrate exceptional local impact on wrestling in Iowa. His photographs have appeared in Wrestling USA, USA Wrestler, Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine and Sports Illustrated. Wyatt was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2013 and the Iowa Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2020.

If any of you have ever wondered where The Pin Doctors came from or what it was a derivative of, the answer would be “The Predicament.” I was a contributor for “The Predicament” from 2007-2019, mostly on the forums, but for the last few years, doing a little bit of everything for him. He was the first person, after many unsuccessful attempts with other sources, to give me a chance to write for his publication. I do not have a background or education in journalism. I do not and never will consider myself a “journalist,” like some of your professional and very good journalists out there like Matt Levins, KJ Pilcher, Craig Sesker, etc. They have rules and guidelines to follow, for they are professionals. I don’t…and won’t ever, so I shouldn’t ever be considered by anyone as a “journalist,” but rather just a storyteller or writer. The downside of that is not being taken seriously by large publications. The positive side to it, however is having the freedom to write whatever I want, however I want to write it. Anyways…It can be kind of a risk for a publication to hire someone who doesn’t have journalism credentials to write for a widely respected outlet like “The Predicament” and Wyatt took that chance with me and it has been a pretty decent ride since. Since I have known him, he has always been congenial and respectful towards me and has been an ongoing source of encouragement and support since the day he decided to take a chance on me. He was even willing to stick with me when I was going through a personal low point in my life, in 2019. When my brother, Brennan won his first NAIA National Championship in 2020, Wyatt was right there celebrating with us and was moved to tears for he was so happy for our family. The man has done a lot for me when he didn’t have to and I will never lose sight of that.

We lost a good one when we lost Wyatt. And we lost a good one when we lost The Predicament was shut down permanently last week. Both Wyatt and The Predicament will forever own real-estate in my heart. A genuine, heartfelt “thank you” to Wyatt Schultz for taking a chance on some random message board junkie. It means the world.


PinDox Profile: John Ites; Iowa Falls ‘84

PinDox Profile: John Ites; Iowa Falls ‘84

A couple months ago, I published an article about one of the best wrestlers to never win state named Dan Sinnott. Sinnott was a 3X placer/2X runner-up who wrestled two of the all-time greats in the finals; 4X state champion, Mark Schwab of Osage and 3X state champion and future D1 champ, Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall. And while writing that, I realized that you can’t really mention or discuss Dan Sinnott without also mentioning another guy who was a 3X state qualifier/2X runner-up. This guy lost to the same two guys that Sinnott did in his finals matches. In fact, Sinnott and this guy actually met up first round at state when Sinnott was a Sophomore and this guy was a Senior and had a barn-burner, 1 point match. His name is John Ites from Iowa Falls… and he was right in the mix with some of the best wrestlers our state has ever seen in one of the best eras.

As a Sophomore in HS in 1982, John Ites qualified for state with a 14-4 record and was beaten first round and eliminated. However, the experience was obviously valuable for him, for he did very well at state in his last two years of HS.

As a Junior in 1983, John came into state at 2A 105 with a 22-1-1 record and made a statement on his way to the finals. In the quarters, he defeated the returning 2A 98 lb. 4th place finisher from the year before, Don Hoffman of East Union and followed that up by defeating Jon Anderson of Waukee in the semis. Anderson had a record of 24-1 coming in and went back to place 4th. In the finals he fell to Mark Schwab, and while Schwab won in convincing fashion, Ites did have his moments in that match and did give Schwab a better match than what you were used to seeing.

As a Senior in 1983, John Ites had one of the best state tournaments out of anyone who participated that year and it is crazy to think that he did not bring home a state championship with the way his first 3 matches went. Ites came into state at 2A 105 as the returning runner-up at 2A 105 as a Senior and as mentioned earlier, defeated Albia great, Dan Sinnott first round by the score of 3-2. Sinnott went back to place 5th. Ites followed this up by beating returning 4th place finisher, Brett Sweeney of Osage by the score of 8-2. In the semifinals is when Ites put the entire place on notice. He defeated Scott Mangrich of Don Bosco, 9-2 to advance into the finals. Scott Mangrich was the returning 2A 98 lb. state champion that year. I’m assuming most people were anticipating a repeat showdown between Mangrich and Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall, for those two had a wildly close match in the finals the year before, but Ites wrecked those plans and did so convincingly. In the finals, Ites lost to Kelber in a close, 4-1 match.

John Ites… one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time to not win state. You will likely be hard-pressed to find any wrestler from that era who will disagree with that statement.

1982 2A 98:


1983 2A 105

1. Mark Schwab, So., Osage
2. John Ites, Jr., Iowa Falls
3. Brian Forgy, So., Winterset
4. Jon Anderson, Jr., Waukee
5. Lanny Goetz, Sr., Creston
6. Don Hoffman, Jr., Afton-East Union

1984 2A 105

1. Jason Kelber, So., State
Center-West Marshall
2. John Ites, Sr., Iowa Falls
3. Mick Harding, Jr., Emmetsburg
4. Scott Mangrich, Jr., Don Bosco
5. Dan Sinnott, So., Albia
6. Lee Hilligas, Sr., Brooklyn-BGM




The Luther Open 2021 Recap 157-285

The Luther Invite 2021 Recap 157-285


In the Elite division at 157, there were 3 different Iowa HS state champs. Chance Throndson (Upper Iowa/Riceville HS), Ryan Steffen (Upper Iowa/Crestwood HS) and Will Esmoil (Coe College/West Liberty HS). And Kaleb Young of Iowa either Majored, pinned or teched everybody he faced in this bracket, including two of the state champions… He scored a 13-4 MD over Ryan Steffen of Upper Iowa and a 20-4 TF over Chance Throndson in the finals. Great day for him! Kinda an odd way this bracket unraveled… The guy who got 3rd was AJ Patterson of Coe. He was sent to the consolation side by Ryan Steffen. Steffen beat him 13-5….  But styles make matches, I guess and Patterson fought back for 3rd and Steffen placed 5th. Tough, balanced bracket!

In the Silver bracket, this kid named Cole Hansen of UW-Platteville had a great day. Won 4 matches to make the finals and capped it off with a 12-2 win over Sebastian Robles of Iowa. Robles had a good day himself. He won 4 nice matches just to make the finals.


The top 3 in the Elite Division at 165 were all from Iowa. 1.) Alex Marinelli, 2.) Patrick Kennedy and 3.) Joe Kelly.  Marinelli and Kennedy would both have a shot at going 1-2 at Nationals if they were both in the bracket. We will get to that. Joe Kelly’s only loss was vs. Patrick Kennedy. You’ll have that. Kennedy is something else. But man, he was absolutely solid in his other matches. I don’t know if people realize how nice it is to have Joe Kelly as depth there. His ceiling is higher than people realize. He was from my area…SE Iowa… West Liberty, to be exact. He and Brennan competed in track, football and wrestling for years growing up, for our schools have a nice little athletic rivalry. I’m not sure how many people realize this, but Joe Kelly is an athletic beast! Very explosive! He was one of the best athletes in his age group in our entire region since he and Brennan were little kids. He was first team all state in football as a running back, I believe. He sprinted at state track. He was runner-up and 3rd at state twice. He placed 8th as a Freshman. That kid can be molded with his high athletic ceiling if he buys in, which he does buy in. He hasn’t had a whole lot of mat-time, for he’s spent a lot of time at Iowa battling injuries, so he still is in the mode of trying to adjust to the speed of the Iowa room, I’m sure, but man…. If he gets completely settled in and acclimated, don’t sleep on this kid…I’ve seen this kid do a lot of impressive things in multiple sports over the years. And his dad, Mitch was a Hawkeye. He had a huge win over one of the Carr’s from Iowa State back in 1987…. Watch how Mitch wrestles in this match….That is what Joe Kelly looks like. That’s how he’s looked for years. A fun, dangerous style when he lets it fly.

Mitch Kelly (Iowa) vs. Carr (ISU):




I’ve seen a lot of people make comments about how much they liked the Marinelli vs. Kennedy match, but to be perfectly honest, that was my least favorite match out of both of those guys throughout the entire day. They were much more fun to watch when they were wrestling against someone they didn’t know like the backs of their hands and in an odd setting when compared to the setting they are used to battling each other in. Everything about that match just felt… awkward. I mean think about it… those two are both almost perfect at the craft of wrestling and have gotten to that level, largely in part thanks to each other, for they’ve spent hundreds of hours by now practicing against each other within the confines of a wrestling room… That was the first thing I thought when they took the mat with each other… “hmm… I wonder if these two have ever wrestled each other in an atmosphere where there aren’t walls nearby to crash into.” At first it literally did just kind of seem like they were trying to get used to each other in an open setting, for there was no score at the end of the 1st period. It got a bit better after that… The match was settled on a takedown by Marinelli in the 3rd period. He won 3-2. Both of those guys are good enough to win an NCAA Championship. Kennedy can still win 3-4 of them. He’s that good. It was a lot of fun watching them in the earlier rounds.

The way that Marinelli is able to continuously flow from one move to the other to this counter to that counter without ever stopping, just flowing…. it’s something that amazes me. Kennedy and Marinelli are wrestling artists at this point.

Great tourney by a kid named Matt Rogge from Augsburg, winning the Silver Bracket.


The man at 174 in the elite division was Zane Mulder from Wartburg. Zane went to Iowa State for his first couple years and spent his share of time as the starter and did pretty well there, but transferred to Wartburg and placed 2nd at Nationals. He beat my brother, Brennan Swafford of Iowa in the finals. Brennan was a 2X NAIA Champ before Iowa. Prior to the match, I had a pretty good idea of how close it would be. Those two go wayyyy back. Way back to 2nd or 3rd grade. They’ve wrestled in the semis, finals, placing rounds, etc. in several big tournaments since they were little. That’s not including the several they had at other various youth tourneys. Their matches were always close. Always, always, always a back and forth dogfight between the two of them… and look at them now… wrestling in the finals at the Luther Open as upperclassmen wrestlers…and as expected, close match. Zane wrestled Brennan perfectly… Exposed some things he needs to change in his game and with that said, I believe it was a good loss for Brennan. Coaches have been on him about his spurty, opportunistic style on bottom… and they will be on him about it even more now. I’m just happy because it seems like this loss got through to him in terms of knowing that he needs to change it up, because the first thing he said when he met us in the bleachers was, “alright, no more messing around, I need to start doing what Nelson Brands does and explode out of there on bottom and not wait for an opening… because sometimes there’s not an opening.”

Great job Zane! Can’t wait to see you win D3 Nationals this year!

A couple people were a little down on Brennan after that match, which is something to expect after a loss,  but I’m not sure these people realized how sneaky good his 3 wins to get to the finals were. First match he wrestled a kid named Jacob Herrmann from Wartburg. He teched him in the first period. I got to know Herrmann a bit when he was a Senior in HS… great kid! He was undefeated coming into the state tournament as a Senior and wrestled a 1-2 point match with Cade Devos of SE Polk in the finals. Devos was a Senior that year as well and was just cruising that year… that was one of the only close matches he had all year. Herrmann is tough. Next match, Brennan wrestled a Freshman from UW-Eau LeClere named Jared Stricker. I personally don’t know why Stricker isn’t D1. Last year he was an undefeated state champion in WI, won Greco and Freestyle at Northern Plains Regionals, had a combined record of 11-0 at Greco and Freestyle National Duals for Team Wisconsin, he was 4th at Fargo Nationals in Freestyle and 2nd at Fargo Nationals in Greco this past summer. Brennan won 8-6, 2 of those points he gave up were questionable stalling calls… We beat a stud there. And in the semis, Brennan got up big before pinning a guy named Nolan Paar who got 2nd at Folkstyle Nationals behind Anthony Zach of Waukee a couple seasons ago. That kid ended up beating Stricker for 3rd… So although he lost his finals match, it doesn’t omit the fact that he put together 3 wins over quality competition. Peaks and valleys

Told ya Zane and Brennan went WAYYYY back!

Props to LJ Richardson of Coe for winning the Silver Bracket.


The kid who won 184…yes he was a HS kid. He is a guy from Askren’s Wrestling Academy named Clayton Whiting. This kid was a monster. He looked older than me, and I’m 38 years old. He beat Iowa’s Abe Assad in the finals. There is no way around the bad day for Assad and he would be the first to admit that, I’m sure… I don’t see how he could possibly think of any positives on how the tournament went for him. There is a lot of razz about him on social media about this loss right now which is unfortunate, for I’m sure he already felt bad enough about it.  BUT, it is NOT doom and gloom simply because Assad had a bad finals match. Assad is fine. He looked great in the matches leading to that one. And we’ve seen him in years past start out slow before cranking it up a few weeks later.…2 years ago, he lost in the finals of the Grand View Open to Kendrick Jones of Grand View who ended up placing 5th at NAIA Nationals. The next weekend, he was beaten 8-3 by Julien Broderson of Iowa State at the Lindenwood Open… He seemed to have Julien’s number prior to that tournament, when they were HS kids…I’m sure he was feeling pretty awful about both of those losses. One month later, he was runner-up at Midlands and in doing so, beat some now proven D1 standouts… Max Lyon, Tanner Harvey, Travis Stefanik, Zach Braunagel and just a couple weeks after Midlands, he beat Taylor Venz. Abe Assad is a very methodical, skilled, intelligent wrestler who is going to be fine. In a few weeks, it will seem like that match never happened.  A lot of these guys will be different animals in a month. I think Assad will be one of them, considering he has shown this pattern before.

Props to David Papach of Wartburg for winning the Silver Bracket.


I wish I had more to say about this weight. I didn’t see much of it. What little I saw basically consisted of Jacob Warner of Iowa literally looking like Jack and the Beanstalk amongst a couple of brave grasshoppers who were brave enough to step on the mat with him. He squashed the 2 guys I saw him wrestle. I am not sure I saw Zach Glazier (Iowa) wrestle. I’m not sure what he looks like, TBH… but he was the champion of the bracket after Jacob Warner took a Medical Forfeit to him. Tyler Hannah from Wisconsin-Platteville placed 3rd. He beat the guy who put him in the consolation side, Kobe Woods of Wartburg for 3rd and 4th.

Jared Voss from Coe won the Silver Bracket. I believe he’s from the family of Voss hammers from Manchester, West Delaware HS. Great job kid!


I didn’t get to see much of this weight, but holy cow, not much has changed with the tendencies of Kaleb Reeves of Coe. Kaleb is from Sigourney, IA… another SE Iowa school that is in my general vicinity. I’ve watched that kid wrestle probably 100 times since he was little… and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wrestle a match that lasted past the 1st period…ever.  Yesterday he won 4 matches to take the title. He scored falls in 3:28, :56 seconds, :23 seconds and :13 seconds. The :13 second pin came in the finals. This dude is a beast. Great job, Kaleb! Aaron Costello (Iowa) was cruising his first two rounds until he medical forfeited in the semis. Not sure what happened there.

Big props to Walter West out of Luther for winning the Silver Bracket in his own gym.


The 2021 Luther Open Recap: Intro and 125-149

The 2021 Luther Open Recap: Intro and 125-149

* To any fans out there who feel upset, discouraged, let down, disappointed, etc.  in any wrestler that you may have been rooting for or following…Ease up on them a bit. This was the first tournament of the year. So much changes throughout the course of a full season.  A lot of guys who looked sluggish today may look unbeatable in another month. A lot of guys who looked great today, may have a bad tournament in a few weeks. This tournament, for most can be used as a measuring stick for them in terms of where they are at and what they need to work on. A lot of rust is still being worked out right now for a lot of guys. It is not doom and gloom if “your guy” didn’t win their bracket today.  There is a LOT of time for each wrestler who was there to learn throughout the duration of the season… If “your guy” had a bad day today, but learned a few things they needed to improve on and ultimately go on to improve these things, then I would assume that someday you may look at this day in retrospect as a good, valuable day.  You never know.

So today was kind of a different situation for me, for I came in representing and rooting for what was undeniably the super-power of the group especially when compared to the smaller (but awesome) teams they faced in this tournament. Of course I am talking about The Iowa Hawkeyes, which is where my youngest brother wrestles. I don’t think I have ever been on the side of an uncontested “Superpower” squad at any event and certainly nothing comparable to Iowa at the Luther Open, and it was kind of interesting how much different this was compared to the above average squads I’ve always been a part of or affiliated with.

To start, Iowa wrestling is widely popular due to a reputation of greatness that goes back multiple decades, so they were the only squad who had a crew of non-family member fans that came to support them aka Hawkeye wrestling fans. You don’t see this with the other schools and you’d think the extra cheers from non-family fans would be an advantage, but the truth is, for every Hawkeye fan in attendance, there was a fan or affiliate of another team who was cheering just as loudly against them. Sure, Iowa Hawkeye fans root for Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers when they are out there, but man is it ever undeniable just how badly every other person in that gym who was affiliated with another team wanted them to lose every single time…. Why? Because they are Iowa and it’s generally an upset if an Iowa guy is beaten by a smaller division wrestler. And people love to witness upsets and some just plainly love to hate Iowa. It was crazy, it felt like every time an Iowa guy got beat, the entire gym would go crazy… And I’ve been on that side of the fence before myself when I wrestled vs. Iowa in college opens. It makes you feel a little different about it when you experience it from the superpower perspective. But the Hawkeye guys didn’t seem to notice all that jazz. That’s why they are Hawkeye wrestlers. They are mentally resilient and don’t get their feelings hurt over silly stuff like that.

I’ll tell you what HAS to be frustrating for the Iowa wrestlers in terms of anti-Iowa biases and that’s the inconsistency of the officiating. The officials would call the matches that had an Iowa guy in it differently than they would others. With a couple of the referees, it seemed like the Iowa guys never had calls go their way and if anything, the calls would go against them if it was questionable. Like with stalling… I would see an Iowa guy called for stalling in a certain position and then two matches later, they’d be in the same situation, but reversed roles… and it wasn’t their opponents who got warned for stalling in the same situation they did earlier by the same ref. The Iowa guy would get called for it. And it didn’t seem like the 2 officials who were guilty of this all day had some sort of “anti-Iowa” ax to grind, it just seemed like they were officiated with different standards set in place for them by the officials since they were Iowa wrestlers. It’s like the officials expected them to be “high octane” every single second of the match since they were Iowa guys and if they weren’t, they would get dinged and the other wrestlers were not held to that same standard.

With that said, the Iowa wrestlers who competed at Luther had to be on top of their game and be dominant to the point where they didn’t have to worry about inconsistent officiating. Not to mention, every one of those kids who wrestled against an Iowa guy would consider it a badge of honor to simply beat one of them at a smaller tournament, so a lot of these D3 guys came at the Iowa guys with everything they had because for real, what do they have to lose? Some of these guys really brought it, for this would be one of the only opportunities of the year to beat an Iowa guy. With that said, this was a tourney where if a guy did not wrestle sharp, he could be upset by a guy from a smaller division…An Iowa guy can’t come into this one and not take it seriously because they are wrestling D3 guy. That target on their back to some of these smaller school guys is like the color red to a bull… They had to bring their A-game to avoid being upset and a few of these upsets did happen.

I’ll just go weight-by-weight and will cover what I saw, noticed or heard about from someone.




The first thing that stuck out to me at this weight was something in the Silver Bracket. Averee Abben out of Upper Iowa has done a great job adjusting to the D2 level already and I think he is going to be a D2 force to be reckoned with for years to come. Averse, I believe was a 4X qualifier/3X placer/1X finalist for Osage HS. He had that wild finals match with Brandon O’Brien of Linn-Mar at 2A 126 (I believe) last year and was just short of becoming a state champ. It appears as if he kept his foot on the gas since his finals match, for he was impressive yesterday.

Jesse Ybarra from Iowa won the Elite Division and I hear he looked great in doing so, but to be honest, I didn’t see any of his matches and I’m not even sure which guy he is yet… I need to find out, though, for he really impressed some people out there.


Cullan Schriever out of Iowa really impressed me. This kid is extremely coachable and gets better and better  every time he walks out on the mat. With him, it seemed like there were two things that set him apart from being a fringe-placer and an NCAA title candidate… 1.) Sometimes it seemed like it took him a while to find his groove. Cullan is a unique wrestler in which he seems to get better and more physical as the match goes on. Fatigue doesn’t seem to even be a factor with him, for he would look better in the 3rd period than he would in the first. He is one of the best 2nd and 3rd period wrestlers I saw there, for his style is so methodical that it is like death by 1000 cuts for his opponents in the later periods and it is enough to get guys very frustrated.  There were a couple moments, mostly in the 1st period, where he would seem just simply less physical, but if he just brought his intensity up a hair to start the matches and continued to increase it as the match goes on as he is able to do now, then watch out… He is just as good of a wrestler as anybody. His crazy-impressive HS resume that he had that included the multiple Fargo titles and the Super 32 Championship… yeah, he hasn’t lost any ground since those days. He’s still one of the best. Just needs to come out as intense and physical and he finishes them.  The kid he beat in the semifinals was a kid named Joe Pins from Wartburg. Schriever won 12-3. That was a NICE win for Schriever. To start, he recorded the major. Secondly, Pins is EXTREMELY good. He was a stater champion in HS and won it in only his 4th or 5th year of wrestling. Pins was still improving at a high rate in his wrestling game around the time he won state. And he got off to a great start at Wartburg, placing 3rd at D3 Nationals last year. He didn’t wrestle a bad match at all vs. Schriever… He had moments where he put Cullan on his heels for he is like an explosive ball of muscle that always stays in good position and is always looking to attack. This kid could be D1 right now, easily… But that doesn’t matter, for he is obviously in great hands with that Wartburg staff. Other than his loss to Schriever, Pins had 2 Major Decisions and a tech to place 3rd.

Austin Desanto wrestled good yesterday and his fireman’s carry to the opposite side is the best I’ve ever seen. Austin Desanto, if you read this, I hear you like to read. Check out the book, “Old Man And The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway if you haven’t yet. There are some very interesting underlying themes in that book that I feel can be used as valuable lessons of perseverance and remember, victory is not a prerequisite for honor. Instead, glory depends upon one having the pride to see a struggle through to its end, regardless of the outcome. However, none of those themes would be present had Santiago (The Old Man) failed to set his drag. His line would have snapped. 


Jaydin Eierman looked like a cat pawing with a ball of yarn out there. He is really fun to watch. Looked flawless. I didn’t see it happen, but Leif Schroeder had a win over Brock Henderson out of Coe. Henderson was a 2X state champ in HS for North Linn and was a D3 Champ last year. On the backside, Henderson didn’t look like himself, but it was a big win for Schroeder no matter what the situation.

The guy who made probably the biggest splash out of the Freshmen yesterday was Wyatt Henson from Iowa. Wyatt was in the Silver (Freshman) bracket and placed 1sr. Wyatt, I believe won 1 state title as a Sophomore in Mizzou and 2 in Pennsylvania and holy cow were his skills put on display yesterday. Best Freshman I saw there. He won 4 matches yesterday. The scores of those matches: 21-6, 23-8, 28-13 and 19-6 in the finals. He is off to a great start and it will only get better from here. He’s a hammer. I’ve had a ton of people ask how he looked yesterday . He looked untouchable, really. For those who didn’t already connect the dots, he is Sammie Henson’s son. For those of you who don’t remember Sammie, he was a two-time NCAA champion at Clemson, a world champion and an Olympic silver medalist…


I did not see Bretli Reyna (Iowa) vs. Vince Turk (Iowa), in which Reyna won, but it seemed to be all that a few people in the stands could talk about for a while there. The real story here was the day that Cobe Siebrecht had. He defeated Brady Fritz from Wartburg 16-1 and Kristian Rhumph from Wartburg 6-4. I believe BOTH those two were D3 runner-ups last year. That was a huge say for Cobe and if you are a Hawkeye fan, you should feel very happy with how he is coming along. He looks GREAT.




Former wrestler, Andre Vander Velde; Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln ‘02/Augustana University Nominated for OEA Music Awards

Andre Vander Velde was a standout wrestler for CB Abe Lincoln HS ‘02 and Augustana University. He was a 2X placer at state in HS, placing 4th as a Sophomore in 2000 at 3A 119 and 5th as a Senior in 2002 at 3A 130. Collegiately, Andre was a 4X Division 2 National Qualifier for Augustana and was an All-American for them in 2005, making him a key contributor to Augustana’s runner-up finish that year as a team at Division 2 Nationals.

Off the mat, Andre is a very talented musician. In fact recently his solo music AND his band, Jaguar James was nominated for a couple musical awards for The Omaha Entertainment and Arts (OEA-Awards). His solo music was nominated for the “Best Folk/Americana” music award and his band, “Jaguar James” was nominated for the “Best Soul” music award.


I have some of Andre’s music on Apple Music and it is fantastic… he is able to cover a wide range of genres and I would encourage anyone to check out his music. If you like slow, chill, acoustic music like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews Band, etc., he does that well… If you like music that is comparable to Jimi Hendrix and even Prince, he is able to play that at a high level as well. So PLEASE, check it out! Not only would you be supporting a fellow wrestler, but you’d be supporting a great human being as well…

Make sure to follow “Jaguar James” on Facebook! Look up his music on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc. You won’t be disappointed!


Here was a cool quote from Andre in his Remember The Wrestler article:

PinDox: Do you have any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

ANDRE VANDER VELDE: “Get your priorities straight as soon as you can: faith, family, school, wrestling. Don’t get too hung up on early success. Never stop being a student of the sport. And if you put in the work and never give up you’ll go far in life on and off the mat.”


PinDox Profile: Luis Rascon; Fort Madison ‘83/US Army

PinDox Profile: Luis Rascon; Fort Madison ‘83/US Army

Luis Rascon qualified for state his Senior year with a 22-2 record and won a couple of matches against a couple of the biggest names in the bracket en route to placing 3rd at state. First round he defeated Tim Coppock of CB Abraham Lincoln and followed this up with perhaps one of the biggest wins of the tournament… he defeated returning placer and runner-up, Chuck Pearson of Waterloo East in the quarterfinals. Pearson would win state the following year as a Senior. Luis fell to eventual state champion and future Hall Of Fame ISU Cyclone, Steve Knight of Clinton in the semis, but he bounced back and won another two big matches to finish 3rd.

Luis went on to wrestle for the Army and competed for their base team. He has given back to the Fort Madison program for years as an assistant coach and is in the Fort Madison HS Hall Of Fame.

1983 3A 112

1. Steve Knight, Sr., Clinton

2. Bobby Thompson, Sr., Fort Dodge

3. Luis Rascon, Sr., Fort Madison

4. Chad Duckworth, Jr., DM Lincoln

5. Steve Ugolini, Jr., Ankeny

6. Brian Makinster, Sr., Linn Mar-Marion


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