≡ Menu


Adam Manz was a great wrestler out of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln. One of the most influential people in the SW Iowa wrestling scene in terms of both the way he competed and trains up-comers on how to compete. The cool thing is, his family has been an influential presence to the wrestling scene in SW Iowa for generations now, for his grandfather was the one who first started a youth program in the Council Bluffs area. Think of all the great wrestlers to come out of SW Iowa who have displayed greatness on the wrestling mat.  Last names like Kjeldgaard, Paulson, Mason, Carruthers, Watters, Rodgers, Canoyer, etc. I wonder if they would have found wrestling if Adam’s grandpa hadn’t started a youth program in the area decades ago. I don’t have any knowledge as to what led to any of those last names getting involved with wrestling, but it’s fun to think about.  

I’ve interacted with Adam here and there for a couple years now and have always been impressed with his insight/knowledge of the sport, general intelligence, the way he treats people, etc. And what’s just as impressive as his familial history in SW Iowa is his SW Iowa wrestling pride and his determination to keep the ball rolling for wrestling in that region. To any current, past or prospective wrestlers from the SW Iowa region who may be reading, be thankful for guys like Adam Manz… they don’t grow on trees and if it weren’t for guys like him, who knows where wrestling would be in your region… This is a great guy right here! 

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

As a youth I grew up in Council Bluffs.  I wrestled for the CB Panthers, St. Albert Youth Wrestling Club, and Golden Eagles Wrestling Academy.  In high school I wrestled for Abraham Lincoln and in college I wrestled at Iowa Central and Dana College.

 

What year did you graduate?

I graduated from Abraham Lincoln in 2005.  I graduated from Iowa Central in 2007 and Dana College in 2010 but it was actually Midland University because Dana closed.

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My grandfather, Leo Cash first started youth wrestling in Council Bluffs so I naturally started wrestling because of him.  My brother also wrestled so he along with my parents put me in wrestling for the CB Panthers.  If it wasn’t for my brother I’d just probably be an average Adam.

 

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

Leo Cash was my grandfather and he started the first youth program in Council Bluffs.  I am very proud to mention that.  Leo was a state qualifier in 1940 for Abraham Lincoln High School.  He then wrestled for the Navy’s Alameda Hellcats during WWII and competed at the national tournament, which I believe was the AAU.  My mother never wrestled but was on the first cheerleading squad for Abraham Lincoln Wrestling.  My father never wrestled but was a blessing in disguise because he could balance the family’s nack for wrestling and put everything into perspective.  My brother wrestled in Council Bluffs and was a 2x state qualifier and wrestled for Chuck Haas at University of Dubuque.  My nephew and niece wrestle, Mahri and Zander Manz.  Watching them wrestle is quite special because they have so many more talents then what my brother and I have so it is exciting to see them compete, develop, succeed, and even struggle.  My cousin also wrestled about the same time as me who had a lot of success, his name is Jimmy Watters.  I also have a son on the way that is due December 13, 2021 and if he chooses he might be a wrestler too, Cash James Manz.

 

What were your youth results?  Any rivals there?

As a youth I was pretty average or below average.  I was a 2nd or 3rd place king at most tournaments, but I had family and future high school coaches that always looked at the big picture for me.  My biggest rival at the youth age would have been Jared Clark from Harlan.  I could never beat this guy in youth.  He kept me out of the AAU tournament a time or two.  I only qualified once for the AAU tournament which I feel helped me in the long run.  I would really like to look back at that bracket.   My first match in high school was Jared Clark.  I thought, “here we go again,” but after the most tiring high school match I had I prevailed for the first time and it helped set the tone for the rest of my high school career.

 

What was your high school record in HS?

I believe it was 147-40???  I can’t quite remember.  I just know I took lumps.

 

How did you place at state/nationals every year?

9th- State Qualifier

10th- State Qualifier- one of the toughest state brackets of all time

11th- 7th

12th- 2nd

Qualified 3x NAIA National Tournament

 

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

I can remember two transition timeframes that could have made me or broke me.  The transition from 8th grade to high school and the transition from high school to college wrestling.  When making my way from 8th grade to high school I had my future high school coach, Clark Allen who cared about me greatly.  His son was one of my best buddies Logan Allen.  They took me to the state tournament as an 8th grader and I saw the barn and said, “this is where I want to be.”  A switch just changed for me and all those youth struggles began to come together.  My second transition period was high school to college.  I went from being the man at Abraham Lincoln to being a backup at Iowa Central.  However, if you are trapped in a room with some of the baddest dudes on the planet and can come out alive making it through the entire season you can transfer to any 4 year school but only if you have the grades, which is why so many went on to be great mma fighters.  My transition to Dana College was a bit different and I was ready wrestling wise but needed to adjust academically.  In this case I went from being the man academically at Iowa Central to being a backup academic student at Dana.  Long story short I adjusted and graduated with a 3.0 at Dana.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

RT1.  I might not always win but you will be sore tomorrow.

 

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

Tough one here but I have to say the Barber twins from Winterset. I’m not sure if I wrestled just one or both. I snuck one out with one of them in high school and one in college but I’d say they got the best of me after that.  They were tough and it always went down to the wire.  Also, Luke Stamp, on paper, is always better than me but I managed to sneak two out on him but he won when it counted at districts.  Same deal with Jay Sherer, I beat him 2 out of 3 times in college but then he went on to win a D2 title.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

I have to say Clark Allen, hands down.  He is a legend of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.  AL used to be the school to go to and it was because of Clark.  Besides my brother, I never met a guy that believed in me more.  I learned how to be “tuff” from this guy.  He was like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne mixed into one.  He helped me become confident in who I was as a wrestler and I always knew he had my back.  Still to this day I look up to Clark and I knew the first day I stepped into the high school wrestling room I wanted to take his spot as a head coach at AL.  I can’t go without mentioning a few other coaches I had that impacted my career, Leo Cash, August Manz, Tom Harm, Jimmy Rollins, Beau Vest, Luke Moffitt, Troy Bennett, and Keith Massey.

 

Leo Cash and August Manz helped pave my passion for wrestling.  August helped me get through some great times and some very tough times.  Tom Harm lugged me around with his boys and took me in.  Jimmy Rollins and I have become great friends but helped me through my Dana days.  Luke and Troy made me understand what “tuff” means and you have to work through your peaks and valleys.  Beau made me understand the importance of family.  Keith Massey helped me polish up my technique while being a wooden roller coaster.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/College?

While in high school we had a stout team my sophomore year.  We came close to beating an in town rival that I believe won dual state.  It came down to the last match but we just didn’t have enough to get the job done.

While at Iowa Central we won Nationals both years along with national duals and I believe the team won it the next 3 years.

At Dana, we finished 5th, an unmentionable year, and 8th as a team.  We had placed each of the three years at national duals.

 

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

Of course Dan Gable is right up there. I was just a huge fan of wrestling and loved taking it in.  When I was young I was able to watch a lot of great events in my area.  I went to my first Division 2 National Championships where I was able to watch some great wrestling at an early age.  I was also lucky to watch the Kauffman/Brand Open every year.  One of the most memorable matches was Tony Davis vs Trent Paulson, epic.  Davis wasn’t aware of the new overtime rules introduced that year. I was also very lucky to have a brother that lugged me to the D1 National Tournament each year and still to this day.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS Wrestler?

This is a tough one but I’d have to say David Kjelgaard.  The amount of Cadet and Junior National titles he won was quite impressive.  After the fact, I realized he beat Cael Sanderson for one of those titles was mind blowing. Winning the Junior Hodge put him in a short list category.  I wish David’s knees held up over the years so that we could have seen his potential, however, it sounds like he is getting along quite well.  Him and his family are a well respected family and held to high regard.

 

How proud are you of your SW Iowa roots?  Do you feel the future is bright for SWI wrestling?

I am extremely proud to be from Southwest Iowa.  I feel that we have great wrestlers here and you see notable teams like Logan Magnolia, Underwood, Creston, and Atlantic do well each year. I would like to help put Abraham Lincoln back on this list. One factor that we run into is that our population doesn’t compare to eastern Iowa.  I think our bigger schools have some work to do to get back where they used to be but I am confident in what my coaching staff and I are doing at CB Abraham Lincoln to do our part to be a notable force in the state.  The last several years (minus COVID) we have put together the SWI Wrestling Series.  It is a traveling series in the summer where all of us schools get together and scrap.  This year the turnout was great and us coaches will look to evolve this series.

 

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

I am going to pick a couple of SWI wrestlers here:

Alex Thompson vs Chad Zaputil

McGwire Midkiff vs Josh Watts

Colton Clingenpeel vs David Kjelgaard

I could go on for days.  This would be a good conversation piece.

 

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

Mitch Mueller, Brad Stockton, Christian Abrams and Andre Vandervelde.  Mitch is just a nice guy but I used to compete against him in high school and he’d kick my butt.  I was in ahh watching him dismantle his opponents.  I remember I was one of the next matches when Zach McCray upset Mitch.  I felt like the air was moving and I couldn’t even hear myself think.  Mitch sucked it up and came back to take 3rd.  Brad Stockton was very similar to Mitch.  Brad was dominant and fun to watch score points.  Andre Vandervelde now coaches with me but he was such a good teammate to me that it really made my freshman year experience special.  Christian Abrams was just a tough Dodger that I was impressed with managing to take 4th  place (2003) in what I feel is one of the toughest state wrestling brackets to date.  I wrestled him my senior year in the quarter finals and it was such a fun battle.  I moved to Fort Dodge the next year to attend Iowa Central and briefly got to know Christian.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Ronnie Gentile, Abner Romero, Spencer Lee, Thomas Gilman, Yianni Diakomiholis, Adam Coon, Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, Kyle Snyder, etc…

 

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

Well I grew up in the non skip cd player era and let me tell ya, it skipped unless I ran with it level in my hand.  Everyday I would get up early in the morning and run to Guns N Roses, Appetite for Destruction.  Then one day when my cd player took a crap.  I was trying to cut weight and I felt sorry for myself.  Luckily I had a dad that set me straight and found a way to motivate me.  My dad treated me and bought me my first mp3 player.  Having a dad that didn’t wrestle really helped me out.  My mom was the one that would let me have my ear full when I needed it.

 

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

Probably my junior year in college at Dana College.  My match to be an all-american, I had majored the guy 3 weeks prior at the conference meet.  I wasn’t prepared and reflect back on that match still to this day but I’ve come to terms with it and have learned.

My senior year in college I was in the same situation, a match before being an all-american I lost a close match to the number 1 ranked wrestler and I left my career not being an all-american.  At the end of the day it didn’t matter if I beat several all-americans/national champs I didn’t do my job.  Those matches trump my state finals loss.  I think the state finals loss made me hungry to be a college wrestler.  I think if I won I would have been content.

 

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

Tough saying because I think any successes or failures helped shape me into the person I am today.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

I would have to say all of the friends I have made over the years in high school and college.  I still stay in touch with all my coaches and a lot of teammates.  It has been a fun experience but now that I am a coach I have had a lot more fun experiences.  Helping coach a top 10 3A team and having coached 2 state champions was pretty special.

 

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

Once I got to high school it became year round.  No doubt in my mind that my freestyle and greco seasons helped me accelerate my career.  The Golden Eagles Wrestling Academy was ahead of its time.

 

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

Winners win.  The sport has definitely evolved but your top notch guys from any era would find a way to win.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Iowa Central from 05-07

Dana College 07-10

 

What other sports did you play?

I was a 3x Junior Varsity Award winner in Cross Country haha.  With wrestling year round it made it difficult to do other sports without having to sit out.  I’m not much for sitting so I focused my efforts on wrestling once I made it to high school.  Prior to high school I did pretty much all your normal sports.  All my wrestling buddies and I were on the “C” team basketball team in junior high.  That was a spectacle in itself.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

I’m not much of a sports fan but I do enjoy the UFC, the Iowa Hawkeyes/HWC, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the NWTC..  It probably helped that I had a bunch of buddies fight mma to hold my interest.

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

I enjoy home repairs.  I am about as amateur as it gets but with the power of YouTube I can make it look like a crapier version of what I watched.  I am a big collector and enjoy going to antique/ flea markets.  I probably have one of the biggest key collections most people have seen.  I collect regular/skeleton keys and my buddy Scooter Davis got me into collecting my hotel key cards.  I’ve been doing that since 7th grade.

 

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

It feels great giving back.  I am very proud to have coached so many wrestlers over the years.  With my grandfather and brother being a coach it makes it even more special. For me it doesn’t matter if the wrestler is wrestling for a state title or for his first junior varsity win.  If they are willing to work hard and put the time in then I got their back.

I am super proud to have two former wrestlers coaching with me.  Nick Mitchell who was a 2x state qualifier and wrestled 4 years at Buena Vista.  I am also coaching with McGwire Midkiff who was a 4x placewinner and state champion.  McGwire just finished up his degree at North Dakota State and competed for the Bison.

 

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

Well it has made me very sore each morning waking up but it’s worth it haha.  Wrestling has paved the way for me when it comes to getting the most out of each day.  I like to stay busy and think of my glass always half full because it could always be worse.  I owe my parents, coaches, teammates and wrestling so much because it has allowed me to reflect back on myself and my accomplishments and be proud.  Now I look forward to being a father and continuing to live that championship lifestyle.

 

What do you do now?

I work for the Council Bluffs Community School District and work for a program called TAP.  I help 14-25 year olds with different abilities find meaningful work.  I take a lot of pride in my job and enjoy it very much.  When I was in school I wasn’t much of a Science, Math, Social Studies, or English type of guy but I did know I could work.  Now I get to teach people how to develop their skill set.  It’s great and I am thankful my district has taken on this program.

 

Are you still involved in wrestling?

For sure and have been since I was 6 years old.  I coached at CB Thomas Jefferson for a long time but now I am back at my alma mater, Abraham Lincoln.  I am very blessed to get to coach with the staff we have at AL.  I have to give them a shout out because they are always helping our wrestlers.  Nate Harm, Luke Harm, Mike Childers, McGwire Midkiff, Nick Mitchell, Mat Daniels, and Andre Vandervelde.

I also coach the Cobra Wrestling Program and have coached at SWIFT for a number of years.  The Cobra youth program has some great coaches as well and I am sorry if I miss anyone but I also coach with August Manz, Colton Downing, Nate Kelso, Jeremy Clingenpeel, Aaron Anderson, John Schorsch, Shea Minor, Andre Vandervelde and Mike Childers.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Wrestling is hard and it doesn’t come easy.  Learn to enjoy putting yourself in uncomfortable situations in a controlled environment and learn to be intrinsically motivated.  I would tell new wrestlers this in a much simpler way depending on the age.

 

Any chance we see you wrestle again at an old times tournament?

I highly doubt it.  My typical rule of thumb is I only work out with you if you still have eligibility.  I try to preserve my aches and pains for wrestlers that compete, however, I’m never against settling a late night bet.  Ask Luke Harm.

 

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

A shout out to my parents and brother for keeping me in line.  Another shout out to all my coaches throughout the years.  Without all that help I would probably struggle.  Last shout out to my wife, Mandy Manz for putting up with me.  I am probably hard to live with and she is barring my child.  I’m sure that’s not easy.

Also, thank you Swaff for doing all these articles and all the content that you have put up.  You have the best intentions in the world and I always look forward to the content Pin Doctors has up.

{ 0 comments }


I am going to keep the intro short and to the point. Brandon’s responses make for one of the best reads I’ve ever come across and I don’t want to shift the focus away from that portion of this article. In short, the Haas family has been one of the most influential wrestling families over the past few decades and especially in the Dubuque region. Chuck Haas, the father (and longtime HC at consistently good HS wrestling program, Dubuque Hempstead) was originally from Illinois, but moved to Iowa to wrestle at the University of Dubuque and went on to coaching after that and has influenced countless young individuals to be better versions of themselves on and off the mat for decades since and all 3 of his sons; Brett, Brock and Brandon have followed his lead in commendable fashion. It has been just real cool to see. 

This one is on the youngest of the Haas boys…Brandon Haas, a 2016 state placer out of Dubuque Hempstead and former UNI Panther.

2016 3A 170
1 Marcus Coleman (Jr.) Ames
2 Deion Clayborne (Sr.) Sioux City North
3 Brandon Haas (Sr.) Dubuque Hempstead
4 Josh Edel (Sr.) Marshalltown
5 Jonah Egli (Sr.) Fort Dodge
6 Garrett Kubovec (Jr.) CR Kennedy
7 Austin Stotts (Sr.) WDM Valley
8 Nick Brushaber Sr.) DC Grimes

 

 

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

– I grew up wrestling in the Little Mustangs Wrestling Club. In high school, I went to Hempstead where I wrestled all 4 years and did a lot of off-season training at the Dubuque Wrestling Club with coach Mark Schultz. I wrestled at UNI for three semesters before coming back to Dubuque to finish my degree and started my coaching career.

 


What year did you graduate?

– 2016

 


Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

– Wrestling was a big part of my life ever since I can remember due to my dad being a wrestler and coach as well as my older brothers being heavily involved in wrestling. I would probably have to say that my brothers are what got me into wrestling, as I was tired of getting my butt whooped on the downstairs wrestling mat all the time.

 


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

– My dad won a state title for Savanna High School in Illinois and was an NCAA qualifier for the University of Dubuque (he played football all four years as well at UD). My brother Brock was a state place winner in high school and played four years of college football at the University of Dubuque. My brother Brett was a state place winner in high school and was on the team at the University of Dubuque before he transitioned into coaching. We all coach together now at Hempstead.

 

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I never really had a ton of success in youth wrestling until I started maturing physically. I placed at AAU’s my 4th grade year and qualified for state each year. I started having a lot of success in 8th grade as I started taking wrestling more seriously. I won the USA state tournament in 8th grade but was unable to wrestle at AAU districts due to a broken hand. Missing the chance to win AAU’s that year seemed like a huge deal until I got into high school a couple months later and realized that youth results are youth results, and it is more about the knowledge and foundation you build upon rather than the results. I had a lot of success after my 8th grade year as I placed high at Folkstyle nationals and went 15-1 and the Schoolboy National Dual Tournament for freestyle/Greco. I never had really any “rival” in youth wrestling, it seemed like I was always wrestling new opponents at all the different tournaments I went to. A lot of this was due to my dad doing his research and giving me the opportunity to compete all over the state and eventually the country. I was never good enough to have a “rival” in youth wrestling anyways, lol. I did know though that I would never win a youth tournament if Max Lyon or Jacob Woodward were in my bracket (or I should say if I was in their bracket).  

 

 

What was your record in HS?

– My high school record was 111-37 with 50 pins. I unfortunately missed quite a bit of mat time due to a lingering back issue which resulted in surgery.

 

 

How did you place at state every year?

– My freshman year I lost in the district wrestle back (got lat dropped and pinned in 15 seconds, lol). My sophomore year I qualified for state but did not place, same thing my junior year. My senior year I got 3rdplace (2016 3A 170).

 

 

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

– Looking back on it now, there were quite a few moments that changed the course of my life for the better. My freshman year I lost in the district wrestle backs to a guy who I beat twice during the year, which really was a big motivator for me. I decided to quit football and put all my energy into the sport of wrestling. I noticed the payoff pretty quickly as I got 3rd place in Fargo that summer. Not placing my sophomore year and junior year was hard because I felt like I was a top wrestler in the state both of those years but just didn’t have the confidence to perform in the post season. I was ranked as high as #3 both years but still hadn’t placed at the big dance, which made me rethink a lot of things. I ended up getting back surgery immediately after state my junior year which was a blessing in disguise. I think anyone who followed me my sophomore and junior year noticed that I started off both seasons with a lot of energy and big wins, then progressively got worse as the seasons went along. I think a lot of this had to do with how mentally exhausted I was, constantly stressing about the herniated disc in my back and if it would hold up if I did a certain leg attack, downblock, etc. It took me until September to step back on the mat (a 6 month layoff), but it felt like I was better than ever when I started wrestling again. I took my rehab very seriously and spent a lot of time watching film and constantly going over different ways that I could get to my sweep single, which is something that made a difference at state my senior year in comparison to my sophomore/junior years. I was hardly wrestling before I entered the pre-season nationals tournament in October my senior year, didn’t even wrestle live until a couple days before the tournament. I went out and had one of the best tournaments of my career, making the finals and ultimately losing to a tough opponent from Missouri. This gave me a ton of confidence entering my senior year, knowing that I finally competed to the best of my abilities at the national stage again. The biggest challenge that I faced in life was the struggle of balance as a college athlete. I felt like I would be considered a guy you could label as a hard worker when I was a high school wrestler, but when I got to college there got to be a lot of distractions. I already was a step behind at UNI as I did not come in with the accolade as many others. It was extremely hard adjusting to the college life and trying to balance wrestling, classes, a social life, injuries, and being away from my closest friends and family members. I let it beat me up to the point where I really started disliking wrestling. This was very difficult because in my personal experience, when your heart isn’t in it, bad things happen. This is especially true in a division one room. I kept getting annoying injuries like a torn knee, high ankle sprain, more back problems, and a broken hand. My redshirt year was a struggle and it felt like many of the guys I wrestled were leap years in front of me skill wise and mentally. The summer after my freshman year I really started focusing in and finding that love for the sport again which helped me gain a lot more success in the room going into my second season at UNI. Season started and I started having pesky injuries again and started losing focus mentally again as the season went along. I knew that I needed to make a change in my life and get back to my roots, so I transferred back to UD where I got my degree and began coaching at Hempstead. This was another huge blessing in disguise. I originally thought that people would judge me and label me as this or that when I transferred back, but it ultimately brought back structure in my life and changed my mindset back to thrival mode which I always seemed to have in life except for my first couple semesters of college where I was in survival mode. There is something blissful about life when you wake up motivated and passionate about the people and things around you, and that was what I found again when I transferred back to UD. I am extremely grateful for my time at UNI and the guys who tried to take me under their wings, but ultimately life happens and sometimes you fail, but it isn’t your failures that define the life you write. I take pride in knowing now that I graduated with honors, found a job right out of college, and have had a lot of success in my early coaching years.  

 

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

– I would describe my wrestling style as a unique blend of athleticism, strength, and plenty of scrambling. I think that this is due to me taking bits and pieces of skills from people with these different skill sets. My brother Brock was athletic and powerful, my dad was very solid technically, my brother Brett taught me a lot of different scrambling positions, and others just added to my wrestling.

 

 

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

– There are a few guys that come to mind when I think of high school wrestling battles. One person that I wrestled probably 10+ times (mainly in freestyle/Greco) was Donovan Doyle from Iowa City West. I seemed to have the upper hand early on in our battles, but he got the last one on me. Always have had respect for him and his family. Another person from the same school that I had some battles with was John Milani. Another guy that I had a lot of battles with in high school was Max Lyon, even though he got the better of me every time. I always knew I was in for an all-out war against Max, which was a lot of fun. I have an immense amount of respect for all of these guys and all of their successes in life.

 

 

Who was your most influential coach?

– I think that the obvious answer here is my dad. He has influenced me in so many ways that I can’t really put it into words, I am just extremely grateful that he has laid the foundation for me to walk on. I thought that I learned a lot from him as a wrestler, but that seems small in comparison to the amount that I have learned from him in my time coaching with him.

 

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

– My freshman year our team at Hempstead was pretty average I would say. We improved a lot every year while I was at Hempstead to the point where we were a top 10 team my junior year and got 4th at the state dual tournament my senior year. That was a fun group of guys to be around. We had a lot of great upperclassmen like Gannon Gremmel and Nate Feldman as well as some young studs like Joe Pins, Alex Ward & Dillon Gottschalk. My redshirt year at UNI we won the MAC dual title, but I would say that I contributed very minimally to that title.

 

 

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

– The most influential wrestler that I grew up watching was my brother Brock. He had a ton of success in all of his sports growing up which only built as he turned into a beast in both high school wrestling and football. As coach Schwab talked about with Drew Foster, I think that Brock winning an AAU state title and having all of the high school success that he had was the tip of the sword and showed me that people from my lineage can have a lot of success in this great sport. He probably doesn’t know how much I idolized him as a kid growing up.

 

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

– From all of the stories and tape that I watched of Dan Knight in high school, I would have to say him. It is incredible to think about the amount of success he had in the sport of wrestling and is now just as successful as a coach for Bettendorf. I have a lot of respect for coach Knight and all that he has done for the sport of wrestling.  

 

 

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

– I don’t necessarily think that my style is one that compares to any person out there. As a high school wrestler, I think that my style changed a lot from year to year as I developed physically and mentally, as well as how much my back could withstand.  

 

 

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

I would love to watch Dan Gable wrestle against any of the great wrestlers in today’s era.

 

 

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

– A couple guys that I will always have a ton of respect for are Max Thomsen and Bryce Steiert. I was fortunate enough to be around them in my time at UNI and it made me realize the amount of energy and time that they put into the sport of wrestling. I have never quite felt pain like pain the day after live wrestling practices against Bryce Steiert. It was awesome to watch them have the high school and college careers that they had.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

– Chad Bellis, Joe Pins, Ben Faber, GGrem (if he isn’t retired), and all other DH past, present, and future wrestlers.

 

 

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

– If it was time to relax, I was probably listening to some pop or country music, but if I was working out or getting ready for a match, always hip hop.

 

 

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

– I can vividly think of three matches that I lost that stick out more than others in my memory. The first one was that district wrestle backmy freshman year. The second came when I got cradled and pinned in the round of 12 match my junior year, which I kind of already spoke about previously. The third one came in a college open up in Wisconsin my second year at UNI. I felt like I was starting to turn the corner as a college wrestler, then a lot of problems started coming again within my wrestling. I lost my first match at this small little college open and then had an opponent who was one of those guys who you kind of just look past in the bracket. I got a quick takedown then put a leg in, next thing you know we got into a scramble and I got pinned. This broke me mentally and lead to a lot of embarrassment for the people following my wrestling career. I was always concerned about how others would view my career back then and the losses ate at me more than they should’ve.

 

 

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

– I would honestly change nothing that has happened to me so far in life. I always get asked why I didn’t finish my college wrestling career or try being a successful D3 wrestler, which honestly made me wonder for the first couple of months why I wasn’t still competing. I now realize that all of these adverse experiences in my life have gotten me to this point, and I am extremely grateful to be in the position that I am in today. Yes, I could’ve had some short term happiness by winning a state title or changing the way my college career went, but it wouldn’t have made me look at myself and change the way that I did things. I always thought that it was cliché when I heard people say that the tough moments and how you respond to them are what will shape your life, but it is 10000% true.

 

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

– My favorite wrestling memory was after my third place match at state my senior year. Even though I always envisioned myself winning state in high school, it was cool to end up winning a tough third place battle and looking over seeing my brother and my dad in my corner. We got to take in the moment for a while and I think that we were all grateful that I was able to have the success I had after going through my back surgeries and all of the mental obstacles that I had overcome.

 

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

– I’ll list off a few here. Beau Breske whooped my butt in the Fargo semis my freshman year and was a beast, Nathan Traxler beat me at Pre-Season Nationals my sophomore year, I had quite a few battles with Max Lyon and Isaiah Patton, I lost to Marcus Coleman my senior year at state, and had quite a few battles against Josh Edel in high school. Our third place match at state my senior year was an all-out war.

 

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

– It was seasonal to some degree until I got to high school. Once I got to high school, it was 12 months out of the year every year to this day now as I coach.

 

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

– There isn’t a lot of time between my class of 2016 compared to these 2021 guys, but I think there would be a lot of fun battles. I thought that I was in a pretty good recruiting class but coaches like T.J. Sebolt, Dylan Carew & Cruse Aarhus are really accelerating the growth of Iowa wrestlers by the day, which is why you see the success that Iowa has had recently.

 

How would you compare and contrast you and your brothers; Brett and Brock’s styles?

– I would say that I am a mix of all of my family’s wrestling backgrounds. Brock was much more powerful that I ever was, my dad was just flat out better than all of us, and Brett had a lot bigger heart and passion for competition than I had as a high schooler.

 


The Haas family has been so involved with Dubuque Hempstead wrestling for so long now that it is difficult to imagine the Hempstead program without you guys.
Do you feel that Dubuque Hempstead wrestling has reached a level where it’s part of your identity and could you imagine where you’d be without Hempstead wrestling?

– I would say that DH wrestling is definitely a huge part of my identity. I grew up in that wrestling room as a kid, developed my skills in that room as a high schooler, and now try to be a leader of young men in that same room. Although it is just a room and a program, it is the relationships that make me feel so attached to it. I have so many great memories of DH wrestlers before me, peers that wrestled with me, and DH wrestlers that I have had the opportunity to coach.

 


Who is the best guy to go through Hempstead in the Chuck Haas era?

– Maybe I am biased because I grew up with him, but Gannon Gremmel being a division one AllAmerican solidified him as one of the best to ever come through the Hempstead wrestling room. Some other great names that my dad has coached are Adam Gottschalk, Ryan Heim, Joe Pins & now Chad Bellis.

 

How proud are you of your father with the prolonged and consistent success he has attained coaching at Dubuque Hempstead?

– Just like as a talked about above, I can’t really put into words the amount of respect I have for my dad and my appreciation for all that he has done for me and thousands of other students, wrestlers, and other people that have had the opportunity to be around him. The success has just come with the great person he is. It is obviously cool to see how successful he has been as a coach, but what is cooler in my mind is the countless people that he has developed into successful adults who have taken invaluable experiences from the DH room and used it in the real world.  

 

 

How would you describe the Dubuque Hempstead program to someone who doesn’t know it? Is there anything that you feel is unique just to Hempstead and no other wrestling program?

– I don’t think you can describe Hempstead wrestling to someone who has been around a different high school wrestling program. I know that Hempstead wrestling is unique and different from any other school because of the amount of respect that the coaches, athletes, managers, and others involved have for each other. It is truly a family atmosphere that goes well beyond people’s years as high school wrestlers.

 

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

– I wrestled at UNI for three semesters.

 

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling? 

– To be honest, most of my life still revolves around the sport of wrestling. When I am not coaching or watching wrestling, I am probably working out. I am getting prepared for the Quad Cities Marathon that is going on in the end of September.

 

 

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

– It gives me purpose to give back to the sport of wrestling and try to help develop young men into adults. I think that I owe it to all of those who have done the same for me.  

 

 

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

– Wrestling has given my life direction when it seems like there is no direction to go, and keeps me grounded at all times. Without wrestling, I would not be the hard working and focused individual that I am today. I don’t really know if wrestling has “shaped my life”, because wrestling is my life. I loved competing and now love giving back to those who have lofty goals in the sport of wrestling.

 

 

What do you do now? Are you still involved with wrestling?

– I just accepted an elementary teaching position in Dubuque and still am an assistant wrestling coach at Hempstead High School.

 


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

 – Not a chance! My body is already sore enough from all of this running that I am doing.

 

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

– My advice to any wrestler reading this is to set a goal, write down ways to get to that goal, find those who have accomplished those goals and surround yourself with those people. After you accomplish those goals, go set the bar higher. You can only do this sport once, don’t settle for anything less than you can achieve. The sky is the limit for any person in our incredible sport, regardless of your skin color, SES status, physical abilities, or background in the sport. Know that just because you didn’t reach your goals doesn’t mean that you need to lower your expectations. Drew Foster never won a state title and ended up being an NCAA D1 champion.

 

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

– I think that I have shouted out every wrestler ever in this article already, lol. One more shoutout to all of the people who continue to lay the foundation for our sport and understand that your coaching is giving people a lot more than just wins in the sport of wrestling.  

 

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

– Nothing more to add. Thank you for all you do for the sport of wrestling. I truly admire all of the articles you write and the amount of energy that you pour into our sport.

{ 1 comment }

Remember The Wrestler: Clint Sellers, Chariton HS ‘02

When I posted the 2002 2A State Champions picture, I noticed that there was one person missing. It was Clint Sellers from Chariton HS and he was the 2A 189 state champion that year. People do miss those photos from time to time and usually if someone misses out, it’s for one of a few reasons. For one, sometimes it indicates that the person who wasn’t present for the picture does not have as much experience under their belt compared to the others. For a lot of guys, the state champs pic is part of the routine and something they were probably looking forward to the moment they finished their finals match. For others who don’t have as much experience watching the state tournament, the thought of posing for a picture with the other state champs may not occur to them. Another thing that happens is sometimes the guy who misses the picture may be an upper-weight or roundabout and are still way too caught in the moment of just winning a state championship to where the state champs photo is likely the last thing on their minds.

Sellers fit both of those criteria that I mentioned. He was at an upper-weight of 189 lbs. Also, as incredible as it may sound, Sellers played basketball until he was in HS… so he got off to an extremely late start with wrestling when compared to most state champions or heck, state qualifiers for that matter. In fact, this was the first year that he had made it out of Sectionals, let alone competed at the state tournament…a testament to his incredible natural athleticism. I mean this guy was just unreal… It’s hard telling what this man could have done at the next level in multiple sports. He was one of the best football players to go through Iowa HS in the early 2000’s.

 

After getting to know Clint Sellers a bit, a couple things stick out. One, it’s a small world. He is friends with some of my cousins who live in Chariton. Secondly, without going into detail, this man has been through more adversity in his life than almost anyone I’ve ever met and I respect him so much because he hasn’t let these moments beat him down or define him… He has used the tumultuous experiences he’s endured in his lifetime to try to help others and that is an incredibly selfless and impressive way to approach life considering what he has gone through.  

 

2002 2A 189 Clint Sellers, Sr., Chariton Ben Strandberg, Sr., Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted Rodney Grap, Sr., Glenwood Nate Buys, Sr., Western Christian (Hull) Jerrad Bourne, Sr., Webster City Matt Garvin, Sr., Davenport Assumption

 

 

 

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

Chariton High School


What year did you graduate?

2002

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

Tom Anderson and Gary Wood pushed me the most to wrestle when I was younger, especially in middle school. I played basketball growing up until my freshman year I was 5’3 or 5’4 and I think 150-155 lbs. I knew basketball wasn’t gonna work for me even though I loved it. So, my dad finally let me give wrestling a chance.

 

 

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

Nobody in our family has ever wrestled beside my nephews for a couple years or so in youth wrestling.

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I never wrestled at a youth age.

 

What was your record in HS?

Started wrestling in high school. Didn’t wrestle varsity as a freshman and I don’t believe I even won a match. No clue on how many matches I had. You would have to check with Coach Andy Fuhs or Coach Tom Anderson.  Sophomore year, I was 18-19. Didn’t make it past sectionals. Junior year I was 27-7 Didn’t make it past sectionals. Senior year I was 30-1. I won the State Championship at 2A 189 that year.

 

How did you place at state every year?

Never made it past sectionals until my senior year and won the Class 2A State Championship 189 lbs

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

Practices! I hated practices with a passion, but I just kept grinding, trying to learn as much as I could. I was so far behind everyone else experience wise it was tough. I was too bull headed to quit I guess.

Cutting weight my sophomore and junior year was absolutely terrible. Came in an absurd amount overweight the morning of sectionals, hit the showers, rode a stationary bike on the bus on the way to the meet, ran, anything I could and made it at weigh-ins by 1/10 of a lb. I got beat bad by Ryan Dunbar because I had nothing in the tank, and he was better, but that was the turning point for me. I realized I could literally do anything that I put my mind to after that morning… especially if someone told me I couldn’t.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Nonstop. Relentless. Pretty basic though. Double, double, double, throw, and get a half in! My senior year, my conditioning was second to none. My dad always said if I had more wind at the end of the match I wouldn’t lose. The only reason I won my semi-final match at State was because he had nothing left in the tank, I got a take down with 7 seconds left because he was spent. Just keep coming!

 

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

The most memorable was Seth Johnston of Albia. Country strong. Long and lanky. Mean. Tough. Great battles with him.


Who was your most influential coach in wrestling?

My head Coach Andy Fuhs. He worked my ass. Pushed me hard to get better and to be better. Taught me so much. He could’ve thrown me off the team, but I believe he saw something better and I still think about that today. He put up with a lot. Definitely wouldn’t have won state without him.

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

I would like to think so. Honestly can’t remember if we won conference, sectionals, or districts as a team while I was there or not. In my 4 years, we had many qualify for state and one other state champion, Taylor Wood-2000. I can’t remember if anyone else placed.

 

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

I never watched wrestling growing up, didn’t know much about it besides the names… Dan Gable, the Brands Twins, and while I was in high school Cael Sanderson had his undefeated run.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Gable, hand down!


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

The team listened to hard rock in the small gym but I was more into hip hop.

 

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

After my loss to Ryan Dunbar from Clarke-Osceola. My grandpa had passed away from cancer and I wanted to get to state for him. I was the only person to blame by not being prepared and disciplined enough to keep my weight under control. I thought I let the family down. It was brutal but my dad met me in the back hallway, gave me one of his famous pep talks and after that, everything changed.


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

Don’t cut all that weight. The most I weighed my senior year was 183. I didn’t cut any weight that year and was full strength and that was a big contributing factor to my title. I was full strength all year instead of cutting 15-20 lbs the previous years.


What was your best wrestling memories and/or accomplishments?

Meeting Dan Gable. Not giving up any back points all of my senior year. Pinning a great wrestler, Ben Strandberg from Emmetsburg-Armstrong-Ringsted for the State Title.

 

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

Jerrad Bourne-Webster City-Semi final match at State. He was a beast! He was so big. Strongest kid I had ever wrestled. I knew it was gonna be a long day as soon as we tied up and I couldn’t push him off the mat. Only time my senior year I worried. To me, he was a man amongst boys out there.

 

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

Seasonal, but did do a little Freestyle and Greco-Roman here and there.

 

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

We’d eat em for lunch!

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

No, college football.

 

What other sports did you play?

Football, track and baseball for a bit

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

Don’t really follow sports anymore. Green Bay Packers but lost interest the older I’ve got.

 

What are your other hobbies?

Hunting, golf, working on trucks

 

What did wrestling teach you that you still use to this day?

Never quit. Keep coming. You can take more abuse than you think you can. Your mind is the most valuable weapon in your arsenal if you let it be.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Refuse to lose. Listen. Learn. Study. Keep grinding.
If you have more wind at the end of the match, chances are you will win. Conditioning should be your best friend. Wrist Control!!!

 

Any chance we see you wrestle again?

You never know, but highly unlikely with my arm. I still feel like I could catch a single though. Lol!

 

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

* Coach Fuhs
* Coach Anderson taught me how to be small out there.
* Gary Wood for the hand work and beatin’ on me.
* Taylor Wood for your tenacity.
* Eric Morrow, thank you for beatin’ my ass all those years and making me realize I had nobody to fear if I made it by you.
* Charles DeBok, Jansen Stuart, Tyler Thompson, TJ Voss, Brian Strife, Eric Runnells, Jack and Marilyn, Austin Roberts, Brandon Johnson, Zach Baughman, and all of my teammates big or small. Whether I was the “punching bag” or you were… all of you contributed to my State Title. Making me want to be better, showing me how to do it, and looking up to my bigs when I was just a little freshman wanting to be like them!

And my sisters- my grandma always said if they weren’t so hard on me and beat me up all the time growing up, I wouldn’t have won a state championship!! Haha!

 

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

When I won my first tournament my senior year, the next tournament I told Fuhs, “might as well win this one too” and we kind of laughed it off, and I won it. The next tournament I said the same thing and won it as well. So on and so on until we got to state and I told him and my dad the same thing but we weren’t laughing this time. “I might as well win this one too.” Believe it and achieve it!

Nothing is given. Everything is earned.

#unfortunatelyfortunate
#teamlefty

{ 0 comments }

Taylor Zippe; Mediapolis’12/US Marine Corps

This is one of the best post-HS wrestling redemption stories you’ll ever hear.

My hometown, Mediapolis has been jam-packed with post-HS redemption stories in the last 4-5 years or so. You know, stories where a wrestler may have ended their HS wrestling careers on what they considered to be a sour note and somehow found a way to defy logic and not only make up for their shortcomings, but surpass them by a mile. The biggest story was what Drew Foster did in 2017. Drew Foster placed 3rd, 7th and lost a close state finals match to future UNI teammate, Jacob Holschlag from Union when he was a Senior. He went on to wrestle at the D1 level for UNI and became a National Champion as a Senior (and AA as a Sophomore). The next year, my baby brother, Brennan Swafford began his post-HS redemption tour. He placed 6-5-2-2 in HS and both finals matches were just painfully close and both against future D1 guys in their own right. In 2020, he won his first NAIA National title and then won his 2nd the next year… This is nothing compared to what Drew did, considering he did it at the D1 level, but Brennan certainly made it clear that he wasn’t done yet, and is now wrestling for the Hawkeyes to try his luck at the D1 level. Drew and Brennan… a couple of cool little redemption stories and kind of ironic that they are both from the same town of less than 2000 people…Mediapolis.

What if I told you that Mepo has yet another post-HS redemption story of the past 5 years? One that may not be as well-known, but is every bit as incredible considering the situation? What Taylor Zippe has accomplished these past few years or so in the Greco scene is absolutely amazing when considering how poorly things ended for him in HS.

So Taylor Zippe began wrestling as a 5th or 6th grader… for the first couple years that he wrestled, he was just a casual wrestler. Meaning he attended practice consistently and went to tournaments here and there, but wasn’t pushed hard like some kids are from the age of 6 and didn’t do some of the bigger tournaments like AAU State… Taylor started taking wrestling extremely seriously around his 8th grade year… and by that time, a lot of guys around his age and younger had already been training vigorously for several years. As we all know, experience in wrestling is a very difficult thing to make up for or to catch up with when someone has a head start on you.

Taylor began HS wrestling as a Freshman in 2009. Now, Mediapolis has generally been a very consistently solid program over the decades, but they did have one era that stands out as being more “down” than others as well as another era where they were more “stacked” than ever. And these two eras were right next to each other. The era where we were down went from around 2006 until around 2011 when some of the kids who were winning youth state team titles every year were starting to become Freshmen. Guys like Adam Drain, Drew Foster, Drew Buster, etc. Taylor Zippe was a 2012 graduate, so he had the unique experience of starting his HS career off when the program was down a bit and finishing when it was starting to become one of the best teams in the state. With that said, Zippe qualified for state as a Sophomore in 2010, which was one year before the first wave of guys from Mepo’s inevitable future powerhouse hit HS. In 2011, Mepo got stuck in a tough district and Taylor as well as some other guys did not qualify.

It was in 2012, Taylor’s Senior season, when the situation became just… agonizingly frustrating for Taylor.  In 2011, the first wave of elite Mepo guys made their way to HS, and the waves would not stop for several years. We were completely stacked for at least 6-7 years there. And in 2012, guys like Cole Erickson, Cody McNeil, Brad Conley, Steven Holloway, etc. started making their way into the lineup. This resulted in a ton of log-jammage in the lineup, which meant that there would be 1-2 really good guys who would not have a varsity spot. Taylor, a Senior and returning state qualifier, had earned his stripes with that team, but his varsity spot was in jeopardy, for these younger guys who were flooding the lineup all had at least 5-6 years more experience than him. With that said, and without listing names, Taylor lost his varsity spot his Senior year and to pour salt on the wound, it was to a Freshman… a really, realllllly good Freshman as they all were. Taylor was understandably upset about this and was basically checked out for the remainder of his HS wrestling career, which was a very sad thing to see, considering how hard he worked and how well he did in his HS career leading to that point. I know my family just felt terrible for the kid… and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person either.

So Taylor ended his HS wrestling career on basically the most sour note you could imagine and he didn’t think he would ever wrestle again… Taylor joined the Marines and at age 23, he decided to try his luck at wrestling again… The success he had with it was incredible and nobody deserved it more than he did… here is Taylor Zippe’s take on how he got back into wrestling and how he did when he got back into it:

TAYLOR ZIPPE: I decided to give it the ol’ college try. I was 23 years old and had not competed since high school, so I participated in an open wrestling tournament at the local level for the Marine Corps in California. There were no place winners, but I beat everyone there (folkstyle) and after that I had a Gunnery Sergeant who was heavily into jiu jitsu tell me about the All-Marine wrestling team. After I found out I could get paid to wrestle full time and workout, well that was a no brainer for me. Fast forward a few months and I tried out for the team and after a 6 month probationary time, I made the All-Marine team and I had my orders changed to the East Coast, Camp Lejeune/Stone Bay, North Carolina. There I wrestled full time for four years with the Marines competing on the senior level in the Greco Roman circuit. I took bronze at the USA nationals in 2017 and qualified for the World Team trials the the next three years. I wrestled at 67 kg, which is always a deep weight class just because that is a weight that a lot of “average” sized adults cut down to or sometimes wrestle up to. To be able to stay permanent personnel on the Marine team, you have to hold a top 10 ranking at your weight class and I held the #10 ranking in the nation  at 67kg.

So Taylor Zippe’s wrestling career went from having the most brutal ending imaginable to trying it out again and becoming one of the best Greco Roman wrestlers in the nation. If that’s not an inspirational story of wrestling redemption, I don’t know what is.

{ 1 comment }

David Walker… man this kid was a gamer. David and his twin brother, Robert were great multi-sporter wrestlers out of Martensdale-St. Mary’s HS and another product from Chad Tunink’s High Altitude Wrestling Club. I’ve mentioned it before and it can not be overstated just how much of an impact Coach Tunink has left on the history of Iowa HS wrestling for the mere fact that the kids who trained in his wrestling club have consistently done so well over the years.  

If you were to accumulate all of the state championships that David and Robert Walker won in HS sports, the number is 10. Robert won 3 state wrestling titles and 3 state baseball titles and David won 1 wrestling title and 3 state baseball championships. That’s just incredible. Davis won his state wrestling championship as a Senior in HS, where I’m assuming the pressure for him to win was extremely heavy on his shoulders considering his twin brother had already won 2 of them and was going for his 3rd. And this wasn’t something that would indicate that one of the two was any better than the other, they just had 2 different overall outcomes at the state tournament to that point and wrestled two different crops of wrestlers. Not to mention, luck wasn’t exactly on David’s side in terms of health, for he got injured badly at the state tournament his Junior year. And man, with the pressure being as high as it likely was for David, did he ever show up in his finals match. He put on one of the best showings of the entire tournament when he defeated a tough Lisbon opponent, Kolbi Kohl in the state finals by the score of 13-3. 

David worked very hard on this and provided a spectrum of wrestling stories as well as insight that can be valuable to anyone. Huge props to David on a great wrestling career and for being a great, well-rounded and wise individual. 

2010 1A 130
1st: Derrick Thomas, Newman Catholic Mason City SR 30- 2
2nd: Brayton Taylor, Prairie Valley Gowrie SO 41- 1
3rd: Nolan Oviatt, Logan-Magnolia JR 49- 1
4th: Drew Proctor, Tipton JR 41- 5
5th: David Walker, Martensdale-St. Mary’s SO 45- 5
6th: Nathan Van Zante, Eddyville-Blakesburg JR 39- 13
7th: Austin Demuth, Don Bosco Gilbertville SO 37- 10
8th: Chad Richardson, Lawton-Bronson JR 36- 9

2012 1A 132
1st: David Walker of Martensdale-St Marys 52-0 Sr.
2nd: Kolbi Kohl of Lisbon 31-5 Sr.
3rd: Jess Hahn of Highland, Riverside 45-4 Sr.
4th: Austin Demuth of Don Bosco, Gilbertville 43-8 Sr.
5th: Marcus Peterson of Clarion-Goldfield 23-4 Sr.
6th: Brady Meyer of Sumner-Fredericksburg 45-9 Jr
7th: Ty Gibson of Graettinger-Terril 31-7 So.
8th: Bryce Jacobs of Clarksville 28-18 Jr

 

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

(K-12) Martensdale- St. Marys, High Altitude Wrestling Club, United States Air Force Academy were the primary places I wrestled.

 

What year did you graduate?

2012 HS, 2017 College

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My Dad started taking my brother and me to the room when we were about 3/4. We were pretty wild children so he needed a way to give us some structure and my mom a break for a few hours.

 

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

My Dad wrestled in High school at MSTM and in college at William Penn for a few years.   My twin Brother Robert was a 3 time state Champ.

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

Placed at super peewee a couple times and we started playing baseball in the spring so we didn’t do AAU.

 

What was your record in HS?

Something like 167-14 or somewhere close to that.

 

How did you place at state every year?

Freshman (130) didn’t qualify (David Ginger and Klint Stapes went out of my district)

Sophomore (130) 5th (lost to Derick Thomas in Semis and Drew Proctor in consi semis)

Junior (135) DNP (blew my left shoulder a/c joint out against Wilton kid first round I want to say his last name is Becker but not sure)

Senior (132) 1st

 

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

Injuries have definitely been a battle throughout my career and post career, HS and college.  The biggest thing I learned from that is you have to be training and working to get better when you’re healthy regardless of the time of year.

Not qualifying as a freshman after being ranked most the season was a big motivation to focus and get better the next year.

Losing a close one in the semis and then losing the consi semis that same night was also a big motivation.

The injury junior year was a real challenge given that a lot of my best friends and brother were winning titles and I was sitting back with a lone 5th place finish.  Going into senior year I really focused on separating myself from the rest of the field to not leave anything to chance.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Pretty well rounded with the exception with not being very good on bottom early on.  I had several solid attacks to both sides a good front headlock and as I got older I was pretty good at leg riding on top.  Always had a great gas tank and wrestled a pretty high pace.   I would also say I was pretty mean.

 

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

David Ginger 2-1, Drew Proctor 1-1, Will Stetzel 1-1.  I’m sure there may be a few more but would have to really think on it.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

Chad Tunink.  He really helped me have fun with the sport and continue to improve.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

My senior year in High school we got 8th in duals and 5th in individual (I think)

 

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

TJ Moen, Nick Pickerell, TJ Sebolt were 3 guys that I really looked up to growing up.

 

Were there wrestlers at Martensdale-St. Mary’s who you really looked up to growing up?

Brandon Lorton, Trevor Gehringer, Brian Stueve and Mike Cassidy were of the main ones I remember.  Mike was the lone state champ at MSTM until Rob won our sophomore year.

 

With you and your brother, Robert not only your sibling, but your twin brother, did you guys cheer and support each other?  How much different would your wrestling career had been if you guys didn’t have each other?

Yeah we were and still are each other’s biggest supporter and hardest critic.  Honestly without Rob I would have probably quit wrestling and went on to play Division 3 baseball somewhere.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

That’s a tough question with lots of very deserving individuals but my completely biased vote goes to Jake Marlin.

 

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

A lot of guys. I wrestled a pretty conventional style for wrestling in the state of Iowa.

 

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

Not particularly I don’t follow close enough to really know.

 

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

Robert Walker, Jake Marlin, Cody Swim, Willie Miklus, Tim Miklus, Brandon Sorenson, Cody Cline, Kane Seeley, Brandon Jones, Dallas Houchins, Brian Warren, Juwan Parrish as well as many more.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Lance Runyon, Spencer Lee, Yanni D, David Carr

 

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

Lil Wayne, Eminem and a variety of everything else (country, rap, rock).

 

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

Semi Finals my sophomore year.

 

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

Injuries and I would have liked to be as motivated to get better as a 7/8th grader as I was as a 10/11/12th grader.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Being at Wells Fargo my senior year and winning a state title on the same night as my brother and many close friends.

 

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

Derrick Thomas (0-2) was the most accomplished HS wrestler and Bryce Meredith was probably the most accomplished College I wrestled (he beat me pretty good lol)

 

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

Mostly seasonal but would usually go to a few summer camps.

 

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

I believe pretty well since it wasn’t that long ago so the styles are pretty comparable.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Yes at the Air Force Academy.  I was in and out of the starting lineup every year except my senior year when I re-tore my labrum in my shoulder.

 

What other sports did you play?

Baseball we won 3 consecutive state titles

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

New York Yankees, GA Bulldogs, AF Falcons

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

BJJ, Disc Golf, Whiskey, shooting/hunting, Traveling, cooking, occasionally fishing.

 

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

It feels good when you get the chance to impact young people’s lives in a positive way.

 

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

It’s given me many of the opportunities that have gotten me to where I am today.  From paying for my college to 5 surgeries, I 100% would be a different person without wrestling.

 

What do you do now?

I am a Captain in the Air force doing Acquisitions for the Air Force Research Laboratories at Wright Patterson Air force base in Dayton, Ohio. Specifically I work for the aerospace vehicles division where we work on developing the next generation of aircraft for the Air Force. I am recently married and living across the street from my brother’s family.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yes. I have my basement full of mats and do lessons down there as well as volunteer at a local high school here in Ohio.

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Just keep working at it.  Success comes at different stages of life for everyone but you have to be willing to put the work in.  Also, protect your joints and take rest and recovery seriously.

 

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

Probably not but maybe a BJJ tournament.

 

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

Too many people to list.

{ 1 comment }

Remember The Wrestler: Thatcher Goodale, Osage HS

One of my favorite wrestlers in my grade (2001) was a 3X state champion from the opposite side of the state as me named Trent Goodale from Osage HS. He was exciting to watch on the mat and he would make you laugh off it. So with that said, when his little brothers, Thatcher and Theron were going through the works, I always rooted and hoped the best for them because they were Trent’s brothers. Heck, they had a lot to live up to being Trent’s younger brothers and experienced their share off pressure to succeed just because of that fact alone, I am guessing.

Thatcher went all in on this and had a lot of interesting insight/stories as well as valuable input that can be beneficial to anyone.

 


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

Osage, PWC (Panther Wrestling Club), Little Devil Mat Club, Caveman(Coach)

 

What year did you graduate?

2015 From Osage High School

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

I definitely grew up around the sport of wrestling.  I would say that Osage as a whole encouraged me to wrestle.  My parents did a great job at not pushing me to wrestle.  They never made me wrestle and this made me enjoy the sport of wrestling even more! I would say it was just expected that I wrestled.

 

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

Basically my whole family wrestled.  All my uncles wrestled, most of my cousins, my brothers, and even my sister!

Uncle Robert Goodale-SQ

Uncle Regi Goodale-6th,SQ,On the 1981 State Champ Team

Uncle Ralph Goodale-6th

Uncle Rod Goodale-2x SQ

Dad Ron Goodale-DNQ

Uncle Rich Goodale-2x SQ

Uncle Russ Goodale-DNQ

Sister Tallia Goodale-1st Osage Girl

Brother Theran Goodale-2nd,3rd,SQ

Brother Trent Goodale-3x SC, 2nd

Cousin Jobe Goodale-2x 5th

Cousin Vinnie Wagner-2x 3rd, 2nd, SC

Cousin Garrett Tusler-Current Wrestler

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

2011 USA State Champion Folkstyle-USA Greco State Champion-USA Freestyle Runner-Up

 

 

I used to wrestle Mac Spotts all the time. I also used to wrestle Nicholas Baumler all the time.

 

What was your record in HS?

121-39

84 pins

 

How did you place at state every year?

Freshman year District 4th.  I was behind Matt Bieber and Oscar Ramirez. Matt placed 5th, Oscar placed 4th at state that year.  Wyatt Forsyth placed 3rd at my Districts behind these two also.

 

Sophomore year Sectionals 3rd. Kegen Fingalsen got 2nd at sectionals behind Beau Sorensen. Fingalsen did not place at state. I got third behind these two.

 

Junior Year District 3rd. Chase Straw beat me first round. Then I pinned Tyler Thomas. Then for true second I lost to Alex Mitchell. Chase Straw got 3rd at state that year. Alex Mitchell got 6th.

 

Senior Year District 3rd. Lost to Max Thomsen first round. Pinned Dylan Wagner. Wrestled Jake Niichel to go to state and lost to him. Max went on to be a four timer. Jake got 5th that year at state.

 

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

My sophomore year when I lost my wrestle off mid year and was not on varsity. It ate away at me. I ended up working my butt off and got back on varsity the week before the Conference Tournament. I ended up getting 2nd at Conference and 3rd at Sectionals that year.

 

Also picking myself back up from a loss. This was hard but you learn quickly how to do it if you want to continue wrestling!

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Very unique and action packed, in other words funky. I do not think I ever wrestled a match where it was 0-0 after the first period. Either I was scoring or my opponent was scoring. I did things most people would not do. I liked to mix it up and have fun with my style of wrestling. I was always known for my funkiness when on the wrestling mat. A lot of people said that they enjoyed watching me wrestle because of the fact they knew points would be scored one way or another.

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

Tyler Thomas was definitely a guy that I went back and forth with.  He was a great competitor.  I think he beat me 3 times and I think I beat him 2 times.  I would say it was always a fun match.  We both respected the heck out of each other but when we wrestled we left it all out on the mat everytime we battled.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

Mr. Brent Jennings.  He was my High School Coach at Osage, Iowa.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

My High School team was very competitive.  We were a team that definitely was overlooked.  We were really solid all the way through. We also broke the Conference Record for most titles and points scored in 2012.

2013 13-13

2014 21-8

2015 25-5

 

2012 25-4 Dual Record –>

106-Chris Hanke

113-Brady Jennings

120-Thatcher Goodale

126-Douglas Perrin

132-Christian Fox

138-Ryan Blake

145-Colin Barker

152-Joe Cockrum

160-Ryan Randall

170-Luke Hanke

182-Casey Palsic

195-Brett Jeffries

220-Joe Roll

285-Dan Church

 

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

My siblings.  I looked up to Trent, Theran, and Tallia.  I wanted to be like them when I was in High School.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Dan Gable is the GOAT of wrestling, no questions asked.

 

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

It is really funny but my style of wrestling is a mix of all my siblings.  I have Trents heavy hands, Therans neutral defense, and Tallias dangerous neck wrench.

 

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

Mac Muller(Son) vs Bob Muller(Dad SC 1994)

Spencer Mooberry(Son SC 2021) vs Mark Mooberry (Dad 4th 1987)

Trent Goodale vs Averee Abben

 

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

Max Thomsen

Tyler Thomas

Dan Kelly

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

David Taylor

 

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

I listened to classic rock during every practice.  Every Monday for Monkey Rolls we would listen to Oh Sherrie.

 

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

Senior year after losing my last chance to ever make it to the state tournament.  I lost to a Niichel from Charles City.  This was the hardest I ever took a loss in my wrestling life.

 

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

I would have believed in myself more.  I would have been a little less nice out on the mat and took what I deserved.  I just needed to believe in myself and I would of been just fine.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

A really fun memory of my High School Wrestling Career would be my senior year at Battle of Waterloo.  Osage had to wrestle the number one ranked dual team in 1A at the time, Alburnett.  Alburnett had I think 3 number one ranked guys, Washburn, Shulista, and Paul.  We started at 138 for the dual and that was Brady Jennings vs Hunter Washburn.  Brady went out and beat Hunter 6-2.  After that it was me vs Conner Shulista.  I pinned Conner.  After this great start to the dual Tristan Johnson had Bryce Paul next.  Tristan went out and then pinned Bryce.  So we ended up beating 3 of their number one ranked wrestlers back to back. Osage ended up winning the dual 26-42.

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

Wrestling Max Thomsen at districts my senior year was a lot of fun! Lost to him 6-0 I believe.

Any of the Charles City guys that I wrestled were very good competitors.

 

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

I wrestled all year besides during football season.  This was my “break”.  I was on numerous National Teams for Iowa and comppeted at Fargo a few times.  The best I ever did at Fargo was one or two matches from placing in both styles when I was a Cadet.

 

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

I don’t know.  People will have to let me know what they think!

2012 Team 25-4 Dual Record vs 2021 State 3rd Dual Team 26-5 Record

106-Chris Hanke                     vs Darren Adams

113-Brady Jennings                vs Tucker Stangel

120-Thatcher Goodale            vs Garrett Tusler

126-Douglas Perrin                 vs Spencer Adams

132-Christian Fox                    vs Averee Abben

138-Ryan Blake                       vs Max Gast

145-Colin Barker                     vs Nicholas Fox

152-Joe Cockrum                    vs Joey Potter

160-Ryan Randall                   vs Kamdyn Blanco

170-Luke Hanke                      vs Colin Muller

182-Casey Palsic                    vs Spencer Mooberry

195-Brett Jeffries                    vs Keaton Muller

220-Joe Roll                           vs Barrett Muller

285-Dan Church                     vs Cole Jeffries

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

I did not. Started coaching after High School.

 

What other sports did you play?

Football, Track.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

Iowa Hawkeyes, Philadelphia Eagles.

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Hunting, Fishing, Wakeboarding, Video Games, and hanging with friends and family.

 

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

I love giving back to the sport of wrestling.  This is what it is all about.  I am an Assistant Coach at Osage.  I take a lot of pride in giving back to the program and sport that made me the man I am today.  If it was up to me I would say everyone should have to wrestle at least for one season.  I am a huge supporter of Female Wrestling.  What this sport does for young females are incredible.  The confidence and positive attitude that this sport gives to them are priceless.  It is much more then winning and losing when it comes to this sport.

 

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

It taught me life lessons.  The most important thing it taught me is how to lose.   It taught me that you can either sit there after a loss and dwell on it forever or you can pick yourself back up and get after it. After my senior year I’m not going to lie, I hated wrestling. It wasn’t until about three years after this that I fell back in love with wrestling. I was at the Independence tournament watching my second cousin, Zach Williams, wrestle. I started out in the stands watching but as the day went on I found myself closer and closer to the mat side.  Long story short, by the end of the day I was in the coaches corner coaching side-by-side with Legendary Coach Brent Jennings. Independence was a two day tournament and after the first day Jennings turned to me and said, “you are coming back tomorrow right?” Since I got my coaching authorization before from coaching football, after that day, I haven’t missed a meet.

 

What do you do now?

I recently just got hired by Osage to teach Elementary TAG and Middle School STEM. I also coach wrestling and during the Summer I work for the Mitchell County Conservation. I also started coaching football again here at Osage.  I would like to say I love supporting each and every sport here at Osage!  Even if I am not coaching, I am usually at all the Osage sporting events!

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yes, I am an Assistant Wrestling Coach for the men and women’s team here in Osage, Iowa. I actually helped start the Osage Women’s Team when we first got it here at Osage.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Be a sponge.  Listen and learn from allllllll the coaches and teammates and whoever else that you talk wrestling with! Take a little from each person and make it fit to your style!

 

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

I won’t be competing. Only Coaching. I am retired from competing myself.

 

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

Shout out to the Osage Community! Our Community loves wrestling! Shout out to my daily wrestling partners, Christian Fox, Tristan Johnson.

 

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

I only beat one Charles City kid in my HS Career. Otherwise I lost to every CC kid I wrestled.

I like to joke around with the guys and say I am the best-worst wrestler to come through Osage.  I say this because I was an above average wrestler, but never made it to the State Tournament.  Trust me I still get crap from everyone for never making it to state! I am 20th on the Osage list. Notice there is DNQ next to my name.  I am the only one there on the left side with Did Not Qualify next to my name.

{ 0 comments }


Cody Alesch has been successful at multiple levels of wrestling and from multiple different angles. He was a youth state champion, a 2X placer/1X finalist in HS, a 3X letter-winner for the nation’s best D3 team in history (Wartburg) and is now adding coaching accomplishments to his already phenomenal resume…and he’s succeeded at multiple levels there as well. He’s had success coaching at the HS level AND at the collegiate level. In 2006, he became the Head Wrestling Coach at Graettinger-Terril High School. In his 6-year stint as the head coach, he had 20 state qualifiers; 14 state place winners, 2 of which who were champions; 2 National High School Coaches Association Senior Academic All-Americans; 4 Team Regional Dual Qualifiers; 2 Sectional Team Championships; and, 2 District Team Championships. In 2007, Alesch was named the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year and had an overall Dual Team Record of 65-38.

After his tenure at Graettinger, he began coaching at Iowa Lakes CC. He began coaching there roughly a decade ago. Just this past season, Cody was named the NJCAA Wrestling Coaches Association’s Man of the Year. In his time at Iowa Lakes, the Lakers have produced 81 national qualifiers, 24 NJCAA All-Americans, eight National finalists, and three national champions.

That’s quite a resume! Cody was generous enough to provide us with the full story behind the resume!

 

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

Graettinger HS, Wartburg College

 

What year did you graduate?

1998

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

Two of my older brothers wrestled…Shane and Mike. Mike was closer to me in age and was a big reason I wrestled

 

 

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

Shane wrestled for the legendary Bob Roethler and graduated in ‘87 he never made state but did well. Brother Mike graduated in ‘94 and was a 4x qualifier and got 3rd as a JR. and SR. He could not get out of the Quarters it seemed like then beat the heck out of everyone to get 3rd. His SR year he was the man to beat and he got beat….he just could not wrestle a good quarter round match. I remember his senior year Mike beating John Whitmore from Eagle Grove pretty bad, by like 12 points or more at districts and Whitmore wins the state title. Paul Jenn got 3rd at that weight and never made it out. Paul gets 2nd year after and goes on to wrestle for Iowa and only wrestler to beat Cael Sanderson in college (unofficially). Mike then went to be a 2x AA at Wartburg getting 2nd in ‘96 when they win their first team title. He was big part of the start of what is now the dominance of Wartburg.

My son Teague is entering 6th grade and wrestles…

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

8th grade- AAU Champ
7th-AAU 5th
6th- AAU 2nd
5th- AAU 4th
4th-AAU 6th I think

Scott Kauffman and I wrestled a few times, I could never beat him….he dominated NW Iowa. We were close so I always knew where he was going weight wise and I went opposite him come state. The headlocks were killing me! Lol!

However we wrestled 1x in HS when we were JR.’s and I finally got him. I tell him that is the only one that really counts. Scott and I have always been close friends….he was that guy I always wanted to be. He motivated me as much as anyone.

 

What was your record in HS?

126-12

 

How did you place at state every year?

SR-4th
JR- 2nd

 

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

Losing my Dad at the start of my junior year at Wartburg. Looking back I understand now why I struggled so much, at the time I was frustrated dealing with so much and not at being able to compete at the level I was capable of because of what I lost. Looking back I was emotionally drained but didn’t even know what that was at the time. Best shape of my life but couldn’t wrestle past first period before becoming exhausted. Was a tough year but man did I learn a lot about myself, about growing up, responsibility and how fragile life was. I looked at the world a lot differently. I learned what was important. Changed my life for the better but it came with great sacrifice.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Tried to be a hammer like my brother Mike but could never be like him fully ….so I was physical but more technical.
Good outside singles and tough on top. Occasional Head Lock—-Kauffman taught me it well! Mainly from putting me in them often! Lol!

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

Didn’t really have that type of rivalry with anyone really, kind of funny now that I reflect back on it.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

Coach Miller at Wartburg obviously had a big impact on me.

Coach Bergman pushed us hard in HS to be well conditioned.

My brother Mike although never was my actual coach was who pushed me to get better on the mat,in the weight room and mentally. He was always coaching me.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

Our team was decent in HS, it could never get to the state level as a team.

Wartburg was a whole different story and that is why I went there. We won a National Title my freshman year.

 

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

My brother Mike for sure, he was 4 years older so he was always doing what I wanted to be doing when I got to that next level. Mike worked hard and I knew he was getting the success he had on the football field or wrestling mat because of his hard work.

 

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Too many that arguably could be that guy. I understand the sacrifices and work that went into all their successes that I don’t even feel right picking one. A guy who I was always in awe watching was Jeff McGinnis. That guy was fun to watch! Mark Ironside also…..I could go on and on but those guys just had a presence about them.

 

 

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

Not really….don’t pay attention to styles much.
I appreciate guys that want to go to war every time they wrestle.

 

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

Scott Kauffman, Bob Koening, Luke Moffit, Jessman Smith, David Kjeldgaard, Jason Payne, Scott Eddy. When these guys wrestled they were fierce competitors, they would rather beat you up then really win the match and that was why they won most of the time.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

The guys I coach. When you see what these guys put into their craft, the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, you as their coach are their biggest fan. You hurt when they hurt and you are filled with joy when they are filed with joy.

 

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

AC/DC, Def Leopard, 80-90’s rock. Still do!

 

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

2 matches are pretty equal.

My sophomore year losing to a guy Blair Thomeson from Eagle Grove first round of districts. I had pinned him earlier in the year. I won my sectional beating a returning state 4th place finisher at sectional finals. Going to districts I had beaten all 3 guys handily in the season and was apparently to confident going in. First round I froze, match was close after first period, I felt the pressure or something and I literally couldn’t do anything with my body, it was the only time in all my years of wrestling I had ever felt such a numbing feeling. To this day it remains a match I can’t explain what really happen….I was helpless in all I tried. I give big credit to Blair. He deserved to win and he went on to place at state that year along with another guy I beat 2x’s that year. I sat home for the 2nd year in a row when I shouldn’t have. It changed me….I grew more from that loss then any other I ever took. Next year I was in the state finals. (Whole different story)

The 2nd is Getting spladeled and upset first round at state my SR year was most embarrassing lose I ever took personally. It was just life shattering….all the hard work to get back to the finals and wrestle for a title again was gone….I nearly didn’t show up to wrestle in my consolation round….but I had the right people around me to make sure that didn’t happen. I got to wrestle the guy who beat me first round again later in consolation, that was fun! Let’s say I didn’t care that I won, I was going to dominate that match.

 

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

Sacrifice more…..and not worry so much about things that didn’t matter.

You always think you are sacrificing enough but you are not. It takes the right people and you listening to go beyond what you think enough is.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Wrestling in the state finals was an experience hard to put into words. The whole process that leads up to that moment, from celebrating your semi-final win, to the morning waking up realizing today is a day you’ve dreamed about and worked hard for, to the Grand March and walking out for the finals match with a sold out crowd looking down on you. Seeing people from your community travel down to watch and be there to support you. Truly special!

Losing sucked and that’s when a lot of reflection begins to happen instantly again.

 

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

In HS Scott Kauffman and I only wrestled once but we kind of ruled the 160 lb weight class in NW Iowa for a few years. Winning that match was pretty awesome for many reasons. Emmetsburg was Scott Kauffman at that time, Scott was that level I was trying to get to. He was a runner up as freshman and sophomore, I watched him from the bleachers those two years trying to figure what I was doing wrong, instead of focusing on what I needed to do. I finally began to figure it out and it paid off.

Scott had always beat my butt growing up, only guy I couldn’t beat as a youth. We were good friends, practiced together often and our towns were close by. I was even dating my future wife who was from Emmetsburg at the time we wrestled, maybe I was trying to prove myself in more ways then one, unsure but whatever it was worked that day. Yep….I still give Scott shit about it to this day! Love that guy!

 

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

Trained a lot more year round after losing as a sophomore at districts. Only time I wasn’t wrestling was during football.

 

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

The best in my day would wrestle with the best today. I believe the overall depth of talent is deeper with so many kids wrestling all year long and competing all year long. However, I believe the best then and best now would be epic battles no matter!

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Yes at Wartburg.

 

 

What other sports did you play?

Football, loved football. Almost played football in college. I was one of the lucky ones who got to play 4 years underneath the lights on Friday nights. My school was class A so we were small class but playing varsity as a freshman gave me more nights in what I would call perhaps the greatest environment an athlete gets to be part of (under the lights in the Fall on Fridays is pure).

I golfed….we made state as a team my senior year.

Played baseball a couple years until I stayed home from state wrestling as a sophomore and realized I needed to wrestle in the Summers much more.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

San Fransisco 49ers and San Fransisco Giants

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Hunting Whitetails, golf, supporting my two kids

 

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

Love it! It is why coach. I don’t want guys making same mistakes I made. Wrestling has done so much for me.
I try to apply it all as a husband, Dad and a coach.

 

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

It defines how I see the world, how I respond to the world, the adversity, the good in my life. My parents gave me the foundation of my character and who I am today, wrestling is many parts of the structure on top of that foundation.

 

What do you do now?

Entering my 10th year as Head Wrestling Coach Iowa Lakes Community College.

 

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

It is my career and a side gig as my son Teague is 11 and loves wrestling. He is beginning to get serious about it and I enjoy working with him and other youth.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

1- put your faith in your coaches….listen to them and believe in them even when you think they are wrong. They do it for you!

2- “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it”

 

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

Nope I am retired from competing. When I took over as head coach at Graettinger the kids begged me to go to a tourney…I went to 1 tourney, I won, showed them I am all in for them. Then retired from competing. Lol! My past is what it is….I have nothing to prove in that area of my life. My competing is being the best husband, father and coach I can be.

 

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

To all the guys and their families I’ve coached for the past 18 years, the hard work and sacrifices are appreciated but the faith in me and my coaching staffs I will forever be thankful for.

Special shut out to the Hoffman family! We lost a great man a few years ago now…Jake Hoffman was a 4x state qualifier, 2x placer for Graettinger that I had the privilege to coach. Jake gave everything he had when he competed, you always knew what you were getting when he put his wrestling shoes on. He was a competitor!! He was even a better person with a huge heart, big smile and larger then life personality! Jake was the definition of why coaches coach! He made us better by just being in his presence.

{ 1 comment }

Remember The Wrestler: Hayden Snyder; L&M/Columbus Jct.

I hadn’t met Hayden prior to doing this, but remember reading about him, with him being a fellow Southeast Iowa .  He actually went back and forth with my first cousin, Jonathan Swafford.  Also, after getting to know him a bit, we found out that his old roommate was in the same band as my brother, Justin…which is The Sapwoods.

Being a Southeast Iowan, I love some of his answers, for I tend to agree with them.  He comes from one of Southeast Iowa’s best programs as well as one of Southeast Iowa’s best eras. 

 

What school did you wrestle for?

I wrestled for L-M in elementary through my freshman year and was JV behind Caleb Bashore who was a stud. He placed at least twice. Then I transferred to Columbus Junction.

What year did you graduate?

I was in the class of ‘09, but a weird loophole let me graduate the summer after my junior year. I technically graduated from Muscatine.
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My dad. He was always a huge wrestling fan.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
I had a cousin, Wes Snyder, who went to Martensdale St. Mary’s in the late 90’s. He qualified at least once. He’s still salty that he lost in the blood round (before they went to 8). My brother in law, Jordan Terrill, was strong as an ox and a serious scrapper but could never get over the hill and never made it to state. He has a 3 year old son that is following in his footsteps and already loves rolling around on the mat. Aside from that my family is mostly just wrestling fans.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I was pretty bad honestly. I made it to AAU state 4 times but always came up just short.

My biggest rival was Tony Simon from Highland. I could never beat that kid. I beat him one time 11-6 in I believe 6th grade. We probably wrestled 30 times. Almost every tournament I went to in SE Iowa I pretty much knew I was gonna get second at best.

 

What was your record in HS?

If we include JV I believe I was 71-13. 51-11 if we don’t include it. I quit during my Jr year.

 

How did you place at state every year?

I only qualified my sophomore year. I won my first match against Tim Neegard from Rock Valley and then wrestled Joe Colon in the Quarters. In the placing match I wrestle Marcus Breeden from Maquaketa and lost 5-4 on a late takedown after a questionable call. He was a though kid. Placed 6th twice I believe.

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

Just my entire youth experience in general. I was never very talented. I could’ve been a lot better than I was. Things finally clicked when I was a freshman and I think I would’ve been a SQ of not for being behind a hammer.How would you describe your wrestling style? I hate to say it, but lazy. On my feet I would try to rope opponents into a carry and the on top an arm lever was my best weapon. It basically took me to state. I was terrible on bottom. My wins usually either ended in a pin or at least a major. If I lost I would usually get pinned. I don’t think I was ever teched.

 

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

I didn’t really have a rival I went back and fourth with multiple times. There was a kid from Wapello, Arturo Jilpas, who was the strongest 103 I ever wrestled by far. He pinned me the first time we wrestled my sophomore year, but I beat him I think 9-3 at conference. He had me struggling to stay off my back the entire third period. Also John Swafford (😡). I pinned him in a dual but he pinned me at the Highland tournament. Never got to wrestle him again unfortunately.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

Plein hands down. God, I hated that guy at the time. But I couldn’t have ever asked for a better coach and mentor.

Was your team competitive in HS/college?
We had some absolute hammers. Obviously Noble and Ball. Jay Meyerholz and Jake Keller were studs too. We were pretty solid.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
Luke Eustice off the top of my head. I loved watching that dude as a kid. Obviously Gable.

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

That’s a though one. I could go with an obvious one but being king of biased I would put Seth Noble into that conversation. If not for a tough loss in the semis his freshman year and the finals his junior, he had a legit shot at being a 4x champ. Jimmy Waters is another one that I don’t think gets mentioned enough.

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

Oof. Im ashamed to say it but…Daton Fix.

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

Sebolt vs McCaffery

 

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

Joe Colon and Ivan Wolfensperger. Those two were absolutely relentless. Brandon helgeson is another one. He never won it but I believe he placed 3rd twice and was an absolute hammer. His only obstacle was Colon and Wolfensperger. Another one is Ryan Mango. He was from Missouri but I wrestled him at Ft Madison one year and he bumped up to 98 from 84 and dominated. He only beat me like 3-0 but I was never even close to scoring.

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Definitely Dake and Burroughs.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
A lot of punk and classic rock. The clash and zeppelin were my go to.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
Losing at state my sophomore year. I was absolutely devastated. It stings more now looking back.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Quitting. I wasn’t in a good state of mind halfway through my jr year and I still regret not sticking it out.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
Winning the Centerville tournament my sophomore year. My bracket was pretty loaded. I beat a kid from Bondurant in overtime who was ranked 5th I think. And I was the only one from CJ to win the tournament, so hey, at least I have that over Ball and Noble, lol.

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

All God dang year.

 

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

I think it’s fairly even. The conversation gets more interesting when you talk about guys from 40 years ago vs now.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

No. Still follow it though.
What other sports did you play?
Cross country. I still hate running.
What are your favorite sports teams?
Raiders and Golden Knights.
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
I like to play guitar badly. I’m a horror movie buff too.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Aside from the obvious, it taught me a lot about just preserving through any situation. I would be lying if I said I have stuck with that mentality all the time but it has definitely helped me throughout the years.
What do you do now?
I work in the meat department at a large Midwest grocery store chain.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
Not as much as I’d like to be. I still follow it. I have a nephew that loves it so I hope to become more involved in the coming years.

 

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Just stick with it. It’s a process. Grind. It’s not gonna happen overnight.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?

Lol if the opportunity happened to arise, maybe. I’d have to take a week or 2 off work in advance to recover though.

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

Brode Hills. I grew up wrestling with him at practice and at tournaments and he always whooped my a**, but he was always humble about it. He was a good kid to have in the room and he’s still a really good dude.

{ 0 comments }

I’ve known of Blake Bauer since before he even started wrestling… which may sound confusing considering he is from Southeast Warren, which is near Des Moines and I am from SE Iowa, which is like 3 hours away from there. How on Earth would I know of this kid before wrestling? Well, here’s how… I went to Loras College from 2003-2007 and was on the wrestling team for 3 of those years. One of my favorite teammates (or people on campus for that matter) was a friend of mine named Brandon Bauer, a 2X state placer from Southeast Warren who had tons of athletic talent. He was one of the nicest people you’d meet there. And when we would all hang out on weekends and what-not, the friendly argument of  “who will win between my brothers Shea and Brennan and Brandon’s cousin, Blake if they meet up on the wrestling mat someday” happened between Brandon and I at least once or twice… Blake was in the grade between Shea and Brennan, so we knew there’d be a chance that he’d encounter at least one of them eventually. And because of his relation to Brandon,  I always rooted for Blake whenever I’d see him wrestle and he always did very well, which was no surprise to me considering who his cousin was.

Funny thing was Blake never met up with either of my brothers until college a few years ago… He and  my brother Shea wrestled somewhere and Blake actually pinned Shea in OT, I believe. I couldn’t quit thinking about those conversations I had with Brandon in college when those two met up. I just thought it was funny that the matchup actually did happen and it took that long for it to take place… And neither of those guys had any idea… 😂

Blake is a product of High Altitude Wrestling Club, one of the best ever wrestling clubs in Iowa wrestling history and it’s run by Coach Chad Tunink. That’s a man who has made such a positive impact on so many lives in his work with his wrestling club… he has produced so many well-rounded athletes and stand-up individuals in his day… huge props to him. 

One of my favorite things about Blake is that he has excelled in multiple sports besides wrestling. I always think it’s a good look for wrestling when wrestlers show that they are able to succeed in multiple facets of life, for wrestling likely plays a role in that. With that said, in HS, Blake was a decorated baseball and football player along with being an accomplished wrestler. 

 

2017 Iowa HS State Wrestling 1A 132 1 Chance Throndson (Jr.) Riceville 2 Blake Bauer (Sr.) SE Warren 3 Cooper Siebrecht (Jr.) Lisbon 4 Kolton Roth (Jr.) GTRA 5 Joshua Tibbits (So.) Martensdale-St Marys 6 George Appleseth (Sr.) Panorama 7 Garret Thompson (Jr.) Logan-Magnolia 8 Mason Wickman (So.) Alburnett

 


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

I wrestled for High Altitude Wrestling Club(HAWC), Southeast Warren High School, Spent 2 years at Simpson College, and have spent the last 2 years at Wartburg with a 5th year left to go there.

 

What year did you graduate?

High School: 2017 ; College: Next year

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My dad encouraged me to wrestle at a young age and I slowly began to love the sport more and more. Chuck Tyler was also a major influence and has always helped me out when needed throughout my career.

 

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

My dad, Ross Bauer, was a 3x state qualifier(never placed),  my cousin Brandon Bauer was a 2x state place winner (6th and 7th I believe), my brother Kaleb Bauer was a state qualifier one year(2019), and my cousin Colby Page was a 2x state qualifier and placed 8th his senior year(2019).  Many state qualifiers on my moms side of my family as well, some who placed at state at time or two.

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I qualified 2x for AAU state but never placed, never had a consistent rival.

 

What was your record in HS?

Roughly like 166-30

 

How did you place at state every year?

Freshman year: State Qualifier, 0-2

Sophomore year: State Finalist, 2nd place.

Junior year: lost in the district wrestleback

Senior year: State Finalist, 2nd

 

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

One major story that shaped me as a person today and greatly impacted my wrestling career was in high school. As a sophomore, I was a state runner up. I was the first state finalist for SEW in 15 plus years. I was on a high going into my junior season. Junior year I had many people in my ear and I decided to cut from around 143 down to 113. It was a brutal cut and definitely one of my dumber moves in wrestling. I missed weight multiple times and was never fully ready to compete because of how much I cut. I lost in the district finals to a club partner from HAWC, and then lost in the district wrestle back in the last 15 seconds to an opponent I had pinned the week before and was 6-0 against in my career. It was the most devastating loss I had experienced. I instantly went from coming off the highest of highs to dropping to the lowest of lows. I was mentally at a point where I had to make a decision to get tough and get better or break. I wrestled a lot of freestyle that year and did HAWC camps and was weighing around 152 for football. I ended up cutting down to 132, four classes up from the year before. I went into the state tournament ranked like 8th. I ended up defeating Kolton Roth who was ranked second at the time, in the semis to make the finals again. This was one of the most exciting moments of my career because when I won that semis match I had just felt like I had overcome a major obstacle. I went from runner up to not even qualifying, went up 4 weights and I felt like I proved myself in that moment by making the finals again. It was a humbling experience because it brought me back down to earth when I was very confident and at times too confident, but losing that match my junior year changed me for the better and to this day I believe that moment was more beneficial than harmful because it changed my career and my mindset.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

My style in college has changed since high school. In high school I wrestled a lot like the Iowa style where I was very physical and didn’t score many points but I looked to pin people. In college now, I look to put points on the board and try to score as many as I can.

 

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

I never really had a guy I went back and forth with, I wrestled my buddy and club teammate Josh Tibbits multiple times in high school and most of those matches were pretty close, many 1 point matches, but he won every time we met.

Who was your most influential coach?

My most influential wrestling coaches were Chad Tunink(HAWC coach) and Dallas O’brien(high school coach)

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

We were good as a team every year in high school, we were state dual runner ups to Clarion Goldfield Dows my sophomore year and placed 4th in the traditional tournament that year.

 

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

The 2 guys I looked up to the most growing up were Robert and David Walker from Martensdale St. Mary’s. Robert was a 3x champ and David won it once. I had known them since I was very young and they were very successful, they also wrestled at HAWC, so I just looked up to them and wanted to be as good as they were when I was younger.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

This is a tough question because of the amount of great wrestlers from the state of Iowa, not sure I can pick one.

 

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

Early in my career I often tried to compare myself to Tony Ramos, you know, the stare downs, the little attitude he wrestled with is kind of what I tried to imitate. I also was a big user of the cattle catcher that Ramos pinned many guys with.

 

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

I have always thought about what the matchups of the old days top guys vs todays top guys in Iowa would look like. The change in styles and everything, I think it is interesting to think about.

 

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

I have a lot of respect for a lot of guys from my era, a couple in particular were Jacob Hoch and Brady Kyner. Jacob was a senior the year we made the state dual finals and he was very talented, he was a leader for us that year. Brady was my age so he and I were practice partners all the way through so the respect just continued to grow and now we are teammates at Wartburg. He’s had a big impact on my career through being training partners.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

I like guys like Spencer Lee and RBY. They score points and each have their own way of doing so.

 

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

I listened to anything that would get me hyped up. I liked listening to like 2000s rap and some of the newer rap songs that you would hear before football games and stuff. I always loved the music at state wrestling because it would help me relax some.  

 

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

Junior year coming off a runner up finish and losing at districts.

 

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

If I could change one thing it would have been to not cut as much weight, especially junior year.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Making the finals as an individual twice was definitely up there as well as making the state dual finals with a group of guys who put in the work and saw it pay off.

 

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

Josh Tibbits, multiple guys from I35, wrestled a couple good matches with Kyle Biscoglia as well in high school. In college I have wrestled some guys at many tournaments who were pretty good from many different schools.

 

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

I wrestled almost all year, I slowed down in the summer as I was big into baseball, but I wrestled during football in the fall and freestyle in the spring. Fargo at the end of summer as well.

 

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

Not sure just because of the styles

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Going into my 5th year of college, and my 3rd year wrestling at Wartburg College.

 

What other sports did you play?

I played football, where I was an all district linebacker, and baseball where I played on some good teams and had a few accolades as well.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

Chicago Cubs, San Francisco 49ers

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

I like to hunt and fish as well as coach baseball and wrestling

 

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

I love giving back, I have had so many people that have done so much for me through the sport so giving back is a big thing for me.

 

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

Wrestling has helped me understand what hard work is and why its important to work hard no matter what. You’re going to fail at times, but its how you respond.

 

What do you do now?

I now wrestle at Wartburg College, and in the summers I am the head junior high baseball, and assistant high school baseball coach at SEW.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yes through competing and running camps as well

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Put in the work and it will pay off, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t accomplish your goals.

 

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

I am not sure about that haha

 

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

I would just like to shout out to my parents for all the time and money spent helping me have opportunities to reach my goals, Chuck Tyler for always supporting me, Chad Tunink and Dallas O’brien for always believing in me. Also my college coach Eric Keller.

{ 0 comments }


When you make the leap from Youth/JH wrestling to High School Wrestling, there are many transitions to make. The matches become twice as long, the intensity doubles, the gyms you compete in become 3-4X more packed and 20X as loud, the girls in your age group seem to take 10X more interest in your wrestling events and the pressure of it all can either add fuel to or interfere with your ability to perform well, for the stakes seem to be 100X higher. You see guys that you grew up wrestling with or competing against who either end up quitting, regressing, plateauing in their development or in many cases, improving immensely out of nowhere. The way a wrestler does or does not make the “youth to HS” transition can depend on a variation of so many things, but generally speaking, I don’t think I am going out on a limb when I say that most people who have followed a particular age group throughout their youth endeavors are able to somewhat accurately predict who most of the hammers will be at the high school level.  Most of the guys who excel at the HS level, excelled at the youth level to at least some degree. Your 4X state champions usually do not come out of nowhere. Most of them were hammers before HS. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t common for wrestlers to make huge, unexpected (by opponents) jumps at the high school level and place themselves firmly among the elite guys of their grade despite struggling to reach the top for years at the youth wrestling scene. I don’t remember this happening more than with my younger brother, Justin’s age group and weight range. This consisted of guys who graduated in ‘02-05 and competed in the lower-to lower-middle weight ranges. Justin’s little longtime group of SE Iowa practice partners consisted of Aaron Drain (Mepo), Logan Frescoln (Cardinal), Chad Hutchinson (Mepo), Riley Ball (Burlington), Micah Keller (Mepo), Zach Walrod, Christopher Johnson (West Burlington) and Steve Reynolds (Mepo). They wrestled with each other for several years at the youth level and all of them generally did well at AAU State every year. After years of relatively consistent success for most of those guys at the youth level, we thought we all had a pretty good grip on who ALL the studs were in their age and weight range(s) and didn’t expect too many surprises in HS, for we figured we saw pretty much everyone already at some time or another. And holy cow we were wrong, for there were several surprises for these guys. Especially with guys from the SW, NW and NE area of the state.

Some of the new names that these guys started bumping heads with on the biggest stages at the high school level included guys like; Ruben Chavez from West Liberty, Levi Heinold from Clarinda, Andre Avila from Assumption, Mitch Zmolek from South Tama, Aaron Helmrich of North Linn, Jay Bjustrom from Algona, Brad Gregory from Glenwood, Judd Wagner from Dyersville-Beckman, Joe and Tom Rodman of Sergeant Bluff, Adam Grell of Dewitt-Central, Josh Marker of Ames, Jeremy Johnson of Clarksville, etc. Pretty much every Osage guy we encountered (Trent Goodale, Joe Uker, Dusty Pollard, Kuper bros, Tom Michels, Jayden Olsen, Tracy Kleckner, etc.) for this description because they generally didn’t wrestle AAU State because it fell on the same date as their home tournament. So we never expected any of those guys to be in the mix until we encountered them…and they were insanely tough, all of them.   And I left a big one out… I don’t think there is a wrestler who epitomizes the type of wrestler I’m talking about more than Willie Harris from Creston.

Willie was relatively unknown to us Southeast Iowans prior to HS, yet became a potential thorn in one of our guys’ side every…single…year at the HS State Wrestling Tournament. When he was a Freshman, it was Steve Reynolds who was in his bracket. When Willie was a Sophomore, it was Chad Hutchinson in his bracket. When he was a Senior , Christopher Johnson was in his bracket… Harris placed ahead of those guys all three years. We didn’t see it coming, for I want to say Willie placed just once in AAU. He placed 6th at state as a 6th grader, I believe, behind our guy, Christopher Johnson, who ironically lost the biggest wrestling match of his entire HS career to Harris as a Senior in the semifinals at state. Other than that one 6th place finish, though…we hadn’t ever really heard anything else about Harris coming into HS. A testament to the great job the Creston wrestling program consistently does year after year, decade after decade in developing and getting the most out of their wrestlers when they hit the HS level.  When we would read Harris’s name in the rankings when he was a Freshman or so, we’d generally look at his name and scoff and kinda make comments about the guy who compiled the rankings as not having a grasp of “who was who” with that age/weight range. And that guy was the late Dan McCool…. and he certainly DID have a grasp of who was who in that group of guys, for Willie showed us pretty quickly that he was going to be an absolute force to be reckoned with for anyone who had to take the mat with him when we first saw him compete at state as a Freshman. He was GOOD. REALLY, REALLLY GOOD. Our mindset would go from seeing his name on the bracket at state and not thinking it’d be that big of a deal if one of our guys met with him to taking a total 180 turn where we thought, “dang… it’d be nice if we didn’t have to deal with Willie Harris every year at state. That’s kind of an unpleasant surprise.” He was a GAMER. I mean, it just took watching him in one match at state as a Freshman before you could confidently conclude that he was the real deal and was only going to get better quick…which he did, every year. He went from somewhat of an “unknown” to most of us from SE Iowa to an undeniable “top dog” in a matter of one weekend. By the time he was a Senior, our area coaches were in full-fledged “scout mode” against Harris, for we knew that either my brother Justin would run into him at 2A 135 or Christopher Johnson would have to face him if Willie decided to go 2A 130. It ended up being Christopher Johnson who was faced with the difficult task of wrestling Willie Harris at state that year and as alluded to earlier…Harris gave Christopher his most heartbreaking loss he ever took. To give you an idea, Chris Johnson was a 3X National Folkstyle Champion in HS (2X Tulsa Champ/1X AAU National Champ) and a Reno World Champion as a Junior in HS…. yet he never won state because of losses he took at state to Jacob Naig (Emmetsburg), CJ Ettelson (Hudson) and Willie Harris. A guy who won 4 National/World Championships did not win state in Iowa… that’s tough… and obviously the guys who played a role in preventing this from happening were absolute hammers themselves.

Willie Harris… one of the best overall wrestlers in that entire loaded 2003 graduating class! And has a ton of cool stories and interesting insight to share with us all to boot!

 

2000 2A 112 1.) C.J. Ettelson, Fr., Hudson 2.) Joe Honts, Sr., Louisa-Muscatine 3.) Bryan Dennis, Sr., Iowa Falls 4.) Willie Harris, Fr., Creston 5.) Judd Wagner, So., Dyersville Beckman 6.) Grant Vanderheiden, Jr., West Central, Stuart

2001 2A 125 1.) Trent Goodale, Sr., Osage 2.) Michael Billings, Jr., Clear Lake 3.) Maury Noonan, So., Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted 4.) Willie Harris, So., Creston 5.) Ruben Chavez, So., West Liberty 6.) Mitch Zmolek, Jr., South Tama

2003 2A 130 1.) Jay Bjustrom, Sr., Algona 2.) Willie Harris, Sr., Creston 3.) Chris Johnson, Sr., West Burlington 4.) Mark Jensen, Sr., Crestwood (Cresco) 5.) Albert McNeil, Sr., Northeast Goose Lake 6.) Robert Struthers, Jr., Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted 7.) Kevin Townsend, Sr., Glenwood 8.) Adam Kurimski, Jr., Fairfield

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

I grew up in the Creston Express program coached by Mark Loudon (Chris Loudon’s dad).  My next-door neighbors were the Long family so Dylan Long beat on me for most of my childhood and would probably now if he got the chance.  Matt Long is Dylan and Andrew’s dad and still a close friend of mine.  In high school I was coached by Darrell Frain, and he really raised the bar on the Creston’s program before handing it off into the very capable hands of Cody Downing.  In the off season, my freshman year I wrestled Freestyle for a club out of Osceola coached by Weiser.  My sophomore year I wrestled for a club that had Winterset, DCG, and Perry guys on it.  And in my Junior/Senior year I wrestled some for Keith Massey on the Golden Eagles.  I went to some events, but I never really bought into Freestyle after the long high school seasons. My senior year I wrestled for Iowa in the Dream Team Classic. In college I wrestled for Wartburg.

What year did you graduate?

2003


Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

I was 5 when I started and it was just something everyone in Creston was doing.  My dad died when I was 10 and I was pretty mad at the world.  If you get into a fight at school you get in trouble, but if you beat a guy up on a wrestling mat you get your name in the paper. It was a good way to channel my energy growing up.  I remember traveling around SWIA with my dad to all the tournaments and having fun with him. After he passed away, I always felt like he was watching even though he wasn’t there so it made me proud and I kept wrestling.

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

My dad and uncles all played basketball and football.  I was the first wrestler in the family.  My brother Jesse was the real stud wrestler of the family, but I won’t admit it to him.  He qualified at 130 his sophomore year but didn’t place, his junior year he got 7th at 140 and his senior year he got 4th at 171 (but he only weighed like 158#).  He was overshadowed by the studs going through Creston during that time like Kaleb Evans, Andrew Long, Trent Tucker, Bret Kautz and Quinn Leith.  My son Heston wrestles now and got 5th this year at 61# in the kindergarten bracket.  He’s already more talented and athletic than I ever was.

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I got 6th in 6th grade, that’s it, haha. I got beat on by Michael Wells and Levi Heinold from Clarinda, I got beat on by Henry Wahle from Underwood, and by Mario Galanakis from Greenfield.  I didn’t really have any rivals and I didn’t have much success in my youth but I had fun.

 

What was your record in HS?

148-17


How did you place at state every year?

Freshman-4th@ 112

Sophmore-4th @ 125

Senior- 2nd @ 130

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

The one that comes to mind was just mentally breaking my junior year.  I put too much pressure on myself and just broke.  I only wrestled about half that year.  I lost a double-overtime match to Mario Galanakis for the first match of the year and just shut down.  I partied and mentally checked out.  I got in trouble and had to sit out the last part of the year.  That’s about the only thing I regret is that I let my team down.  How did it turn out?  That year sucked but it drove me mad.  I signed up for Freestyle tournaments, went to a 30-day J Robinson camp and started training for my senior year before my junior year ended.  As far as college went, I tore my ACL twice and eventually quit wrestling my junior year.  My spirit wasn’t into it because my body couldn’t do the things my mind knew I could.  Sorry, that’s kind a somber way to end that category, but it’s the truth.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

I was technical, funky and confident.  I wasn’t cocky, but I knew I was going to win before I walked onto the mat.

 

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

It was really one-sided.  The only person who beat me more than one time was Mario and he lived 20 minutes down the road in Greenfield and handed me 8 or 9 of my high school losses.  I probably had guys who had rivalries with me but I didn’t know it. Ben Moss was a guy I loved to wrestle from Lewis Central, he always made me bring my best.  I respected him a lot.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

I can’t name one, I had lots of great coaches.  Matt Long, Darrell Frain, Keith Massey and Jim Miller/Eric Keller at Wartburg.  The guy who was responsible for me turning the corner was Matt Long, no doubt.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

In high school, I think Creston placed 3rd in the traditional state tournament all four years I was there. In college, Wartburg had had a strangle-hold on D3 wrestling for quite some time. That college team was full of studs, but the guy I hated wrestling in practice was Bart Mehlert.  Bart was a man among boys.

 

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

Dylan Long, without a doubt, I wanted to be as successful as he was.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

David Kjeldgaard, he won 11 medals and 8 championships in Cadet and Junior Nationals.  He was the first national winner of the Dave Schultz award.

 

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

Maybe a mix between Roman Bravo-Young and Lincoln McIlravy.  Tough, technical, and funky.

 

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

I would love to see Trent and Travis Paulson against any of the guys today.  Those guys were studs and I think they’d show that they were a level above others regardless of the era.  Or Andrew Long against anyone!  He’s like a little brother to me and one of the most talented guys I’ve ever known.


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

CJ Ettleson and Mack Reiter were both 4x champs and my age.  The guys at Lewis Central always had me in awe, Trent and Travis Paulson, Brandon Mason, and Chad Davis.  I don’t think those LC guys ever knew how much I loved watching them wrestle. I was taking mental notes each time they stepped on the mat.


Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

RBY, Spencer Lee, and Jaydin Eierman

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

Hard stuff before matches like Pantera, Danzig, etc. to get my heart going.  Before a match I was getting ready for a fist fight in my mind.

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

After losing the state finals my senior year I was pretty upset.  I ran into Jay Bjustrom randomly the next year and sat on a couch with him in a dorm room at Wartburg and joked around.  He won that day, I respect him for that.

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

I would have walked on at Iowa after high school instead of Wartburg.  But I don’t have any regrets and I enjoyed my time at Wartburg.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

My senior year Creston went to the Lee Summit tournament in KC.  I had 6 or 7 pins to get into the finals and I won by tech fall in the finals.  My Uncle Dennis was there with my Grandma Katie and I was really proud to win in front of my family.

 

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

High school was Mario, he won all the matches though haha.  In college I was battling Dustin Hinschberger, Ozzie Saxton and Tyler Hubbard for a varsity spot.  Those guys won but man it was fun battling them.

 

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

Mostly seasonal, I never went to Fargo or competed much after the season, but I had fun learning and practicing.

 

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

I think we were more physical than the guys today.  In Creston we wanted to beat guys up just as much as we wanted to win the match.  The sport is progressing to being more technical but I’m raising my boy to be physical and technical. Heston Harris will be the best of both worlds.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Yep, Wartburg and a little intramural at Iowa State University.

 

What other sports did you play?

Football, golf and track.  I got cut from the Freshman baseball team and I took it personally.  I spent that whole summer working out with Matt Long.  That is the real reason no one heard my name before high school.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

I’m an Iowa fan even though I went to Wartburg and ISU.  Hawkeyes for everything college, baseball is the Chicago Cubs and NFL is the 49ers.

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

I love getting my kids outdoors for anything. I spend a lot of time bow hunting, pheasant hunting and fishing.

 

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

I love coaching the youth wrestling program in Creston.  I love running into all the guys I know at youth tournaments.  I coached before my son wrestled and will probably continue after he’s done.  I have a daughter who is super-athletic.  I’m still working on talking their mom into letting her wrestle.  If I get that one accomplished Vivi Harris is a name you will know in Iowa Girls Wrestling.

 

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

I don’t know who I would be without it.  It taught me mental toughness and discipline.  I learned that I can accomplish anything I want if I’m willing to put in the work.

 

What do you do now?

I’m a Quality Engineer for Precision Pulley and Idler and I own a couple apartment buildings in Creston.

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yep, the youth program in Creston.

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Don’t give up just because you aren’t winning.  I spent more time losing than most growing up but I didn’t quit.  Learn 1 or 2 moves from top, bottom, and neutral.  Master those and then add to your toolset.  Ask for help from guys who are having success.  In return, help anyone who asks for your help.  No one gets to the top of the podium on their own, it takes practice partners and coaches to get you there.

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

Yep!  Give me a time and place.  I need to show my son how it’s done!

 

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

All the Creston guys are still a closely knit group and deserve recognition.  Cody Downing, Chris Downing, Matt Buck, Chris Loudon, Boone Hayes, Daniel Scarberry; we shared a padded room to beat on each other so that bond will never be broken.  Daniel Scarberry was my practice partner and we wore mouthpieces because we would end up throwing hands, knees or elbows most practices.  He has my respect to this day.  I’d like to thank Darrell Frain for being an all-around great coach, Matt Long for helping me learn the technique and mental aspect of wrestling, and Eric Keller/Jim Miller for giving me a chance to wrestle in college.  Keith Massey deserves a shout-out for teaching me to keep wrestling fun, I still love seeing that guy these days.


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

When I was a kid, the Long’s would take me to tournaments with them.  Matt learned that I got nervous before almost every match so he started entering me into tournaments officially as “Wildman Willie Harris”.  It embarrassed me but I stopped getting nervous and he would laugh and say “Imagine what that other guy is thinking when he hears he has to wrestle the Wildman!”  The Long family still calls me Wildman to this day if they want to make me smile.

{ 0 comments }

At Mediapolis, like any other wrestling program, we have wrestlers who are considered legends of the school/wrestling program. Generally speaking these are the state champs or high placers. 3X state champ, Ryan Cummings is a big one you still hear about today. My brother Justin is held in high regard. Drew Foster and my brother Brennan are likely at that level after Drew’s D1 and Brennan’s NAIA success. State champion, Micah Keller has a fan club. Cole and Luke Erickson, Adam Drain, Steven Holloway, etc. However, out of all of the wrestlers who have achieved “legendary” status in the Mediapolis wrestling room, there is one name who has stuck out for decades as being the ultimate “pioneer” of elite Mediapolis wrestlers. His name is Miles Erickson and he earned this status by becoming Mepo’s first ever state champion in 1981. There has been a picture of Miles on the top of the podium in the concourse or nearby at the school since I was a little kid. He is the one who got everything more or less started at Mepo when it came to collecting hardware at the same tournament. He’s remembered by Mepo wrestlers to this day. An incredibly well-respected person in the Mediapolis wrestling community. And it didn’t just fall into his lap… He endured some tough losses prior to his Senior year state tournament and none were more notable than a loss he took in the state finals as a Junior to a man named Rick Ruebel from Grundy Center.

I have seen the podium picture that has Rick Ruebel on top with Miles Erickson on the #2 spot since I can remember and with Miles being the hero to heroes at Mepo, Rick Ruebel naturally gave off a very “Cobra Kai” vibe when we’d look at that picture…since he beat “OUR” guy. Rick might as well have been “Biff” from Back To The Future as far as we were concerned, since he defeated our Miles. And in a funny turn of events, I actually got to meet Rick on Twitter semi-recently and guess what he’s like?!?! Haha, he’s seriously one of the nicest, enthusiastic and most complimentary people I have ever encountered since starting the site. An awesome guy. I feel better about doing what I do with this site after every time I talk to him. I never would have guessed that he was like this when I was growing up and I am happy I got to meet him and am able to put together his wrestling story for everyone!

1980 2A 155 1. Rick Ruebel, Sr., Grundy Center 2. Miles Erickson, Jr., Mediapolis 3. Tim Holt, Sr., Sigourney 4. Irv Thome, Jr., Don Bosco 5. Todd McKinley, Jr., Osage 6. Randy Thompson, Jr., Lake Mills

What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
GRUNDY CENTER
What year did you graduate?
1980
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
DOUG VAN GELDER, HE RAN THE YOUTH PROGRAM
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
NO
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
WE WRESTLED AT A LOT OF LITTLE KID TOURNAMENTS, RIVALS BECAME FRIENDS.
What was your record in HS?
72-13
How did you place at state every year?
QUAL. 1978, STATE CHAMPION 1980
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
I HAD SEVERAL INJURIES THAT LIMITED ME.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
BASIC WITH A LITTLE FUNK.
How many teams in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
SEVERAL, WE SAW DON BOSCO, HUDSON DIKE ELDORA A FEW TIMES EACH YEAR.
Who was your most influential coach?
CLINT YOUNG
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
YES GRUNDY CENTER HAD A REPUTATION OF BEING GOOD IN NE IOWA
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
DAN GABLE, LEE KEMP,
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
TOUGH CALL THERE ARE SEVERAL,
Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
BARRY DAVIS, JIM ZALESKY
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
NO NICHOLS
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
AEROSMITH, STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
LOST TO AL FROST 1979, HE WENT ON TO BE STATE CHAMPION.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
FOCUS ON GOALS, (JR YEAR)
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
WINNING A MATCH ON IPTV; DRAKE VS MINNESOTA.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
AL FROST, KYLE HASKINS, IRV THOME.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
WE HAD A SECTION OF WRESTLING MAT AT OUR HOUSE WE WOULD ROLL IT OUT IN THE YARD TWICE A WEEK IN THE SUMMER.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
I THINK WE WOULD DO VERY WELL.
Did you wrestle after high school?
YES, AT DRAKE AND UNI.
What other sports did you play?
CROSS COUNTRY
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
HUNTING, FISHING.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
STILL ENJOY WORKING OUT, TRY TO STAY IN SHAPE, HARD WORK PAYS OFF.
What do you do now?
SOON TO BE RETIRED FROM TEACHING 36 YEARS
Are you still involved with wrestling?
AS A FAN. I WATCH FROM THE SIDELINES HERE AT W-SR. CALDWELL AND WHITCOME HAVE A GOOD THING GOING.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
WORK HARD BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
NOT AFTER TWO SHOULDER SURGERIES AND A HIP REPLACEMENT.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
YES AND NO, I WILL JUST LET IT GO.
Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc
WHILE WRESTLING FOR DRAKE, WE WERE IN NORMAN, OKLAHOMA AT THE OU OPEN TOURNAMENT AND BETWEEN SESSIONS DAVE SCHULTZ CAME UP TO BE AND SAID HE HAD WATCHED MY LAST MATCH. HE THEN PROCEEDED TO SHOW ME SOME THINGS I COULD DO TO IMPROVE FROM THE TOP POSITION WHILE WORKING FOR NEAR FALL. IT WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS EVER.
{ 2 comments }

 

2020 1A 126:1 Aidan Noonan (Jr) Cascade 2 Adam Allard (Sr) West Sioux – Hawarden 3 Beau Klingensmith (Jr) Woodbury Central – Moville 4 Kael Brisker (Jr) Wilton 5 Wyatt Reisz (Fr) Logan-Magnolia 6 Michael Mcclelland (Jr) Don Bosco – Gilbertville 7 Mason Dye (Sr) Sigourney-Keota 8 Quinten Aney (So) Mediapolis

 

2021 1A-132 1st Place – Aidan Noonan of Cascade, W. Dubuque 2nd Place – Gable Porter of Underwood 3rd Place – Hagen Heistand of Logan-Magnolia 4th Place – Mikey Baker of West Sioux, Hawarden 5th Place – Quinten Aney of Mediapolis 6th Place – Michael McClelland of Don Bosco, Gilbertville 7th Place – Trey Nelson of Nashua-Plainfield 8th Place – Cael Bridgewater of North Linn, Troy Mills

 

So earlier this year (in 2020), I posted a reel and story about Aidan Noonan from Cascade. At the time, he was a Senior, a 2X state champion and going for 3. Since then, a few things have changed.

1.) He won his 3rd state title at 1A 132.

2.) He committed to wrestle for D1 Wyoming for next fall!

3.) The guy he defeated in the finals was Sophomore phenom from Underwood, Gable Porter. Gable was on track to win 4 himself. If he wins as a Junior and Senior, Aidan will be the only guy other than Joshua Portillo from Clarion-Goldfield Dows to prevent two guys from being 4 time state champions. Aidan prevented Adam Allard from West Sioux and POSSIBLY Gable Porter. Portillo was the only thing standing in the way of Michael Blockhus of Crestwood/New Hampton and Bryce West from Highland/Solon from winning 4.

4.) He finished his Senior season 46-0…he did not lose a single HS match in his final 3 years of HS.

Here is a reel I made for him last year that covers his career prior to the 2020-21 season:

 

THE FOLLOWING ESSAY/INTERVIEW WAS POSTED PRIOR TO THE 2020-2021 SEASON:

Ok, so this article is obviously about Cascade’s 2X state champion and current Senior, Aidan Noonan. I’ve heard about this kid for a long time, for his coaches were teammates/practice partners/friends of mine at Loras College. They’ve been excited about this kid for a while.

To kick things off, I am going to address the elephant in the room that will be ever-present with Noonan, probably forever… And that’s Adam Allard from West Sioux.  Most of you likely heard that Noonan defeated Allard in the finals last year as a Junior in which Allard was a Senior going for his 4th title. And he did it by turning Allard to his back for near fall in the last seconds of the 3rd period. A Senior going for 4 and falling short in his last finals match is something that had never happened before unless you count Topher Carton, from Assumption.  Carton won 2 of his titles in Illinois before moving to Iowa as a Junior and winning state that year and losing a close finals match to Brandon Sorensen in the finals as a Senior.  A lot of people don’t count that… I do. I live right across the bridge from Illinois and we wrestled our share of Illinois competition when I was in high school.  Winning the Illinois HS State tourney is a big deal. There are tough dudes scattered all over that state. In my mind, Allard was not the first person this happened to…Carton was. Regardless, I wanted the dust to settle a bit before even mentioning Allard’s 2020 state tournament anywhere on the site or social media. I met Adam Allard when I wrote his Senior Spotlight article for The Predicament. Incredibly nice person and is much more mature and determined compared to the average kid his age.  And I’ve had one encounter with his family…This was in 2018 when my youngest brother, Brennan was wrestling in the semifinals at state and we were trying to find a good spot where we could actually see the match, but there was some log-jammage with people in that section at that time and we couldn’t see anything…that is until Adam Allard’s mom went out of her way to help clear a path for us to find a spot where we could see his match with no interference.  A random act of kindness was the one experience I had with the Allard family….

So I decided to wait until it appeared that Allard bounced back from it and judging by the intensity the kid has shown in clips of offseason competition this summer, he seems to be on his way to bouncing back in a big way. I think he will do well at the next level. The one finals match he had vs. Aidan Noonan in 2020 should not define his legacy, but if anyone is capable of derailing that from happening, it is him. Best of luck to him.

And there are several other interesting things about Aidan’s last two championship seasons besides just the Allard match. Take a look:

  • Aidan’s father, Jason, wrestled for Cascade when he was in high school.  His coach was Dale Andrews. Dale is the father of Travis, Tom and Tim Andrews. Travis is Aidan’s head coach.
  • Head Assistant Coach, Alex Ressler is a former placer for Cascade in the early 2000’s.  He’s been Aidan’s coach since youth. Alex gave Aidan the nickname, “The Bernard Bulldog” when Aidan was in youth wrestling because Aidan is from a tiny community that is part of Cascade’s school district called Bernard, IA.  He called him a bulldog because he is “tough and will never back down from a fight.”
  • Aidan’s brother, Nolan Noonan graduated in 2019 and placed 6th and 5th at state for Cascade.
  • Aidan is Cascade’s first ever state champion. And now he has done it twice.
  • Aidan was Cascade’s first state finalist since 1985 when Roger Koppes placed 2nd.
  • In Aidan’s two state championship seasons, every guy he has wrestled at state, went on to fight back and place, indicating that Aidan hasn’t been gifted by any bracketing Gods. All 8 matches at state vs. state placers… battle-tested.
  • Aidan defeated Beau Klingensmith from Woodbury Central 4-2 in the finals in 2019 and defeated Allard by the same score.  Those 4 points are the only ones he has given up at the state tournament.  Noone has scored a mere point in the other 6 matches.
  • In Aidan’s Sophomore year he wrestled guys from; West Sioux, Logan Magnolia, Woodbury Central and Denver…. In Aidan’s Junior year, he wrestled guys from West Sioux, Logan Magnolia and Woodbury Central again. Instead of a Denver opponent, he wrestled someone from Mepo.
  •  As you all know, Aidan won his finals match by scoring Nearfall points in the last seconds of the match, but he ALSO won his semifinals match by doing this as well.  He defeated Beau Klingensmith from Woodbury Central 2-0 by scoring nearfall with only a few seconds remaining. I don’t know if this has ever happened before.
  • Aidan defeated Beau Klingensmith in the finals in 2019 and in the semifinals in 2020.  These two go way back. A few years ago, Klingensmith defeated Noonan in the semifinals at USA State and for 3rd and 4th place at AAU State.  These two have a nice little rivalry going.
  • When Aidan won state as a Sophomore, a lot of people kind of seemed to think he came out of nowhere, but Aidan placed 4 times at AAU State and won it once… and that’s without being able to wrestle in the tournament as an 8th grader due to injury.

To go with this, I interviewed headcoach Travis Andrews and he provided some great insight about Aidan Noonan and Cascade wrestling.

 

1.) How long did you know that you had a potential state champion in the works with Aidan?

Coach Andrews: Coach Alex Ressler was a physical education teacher at Cascade Elementary and said that the Noonan boys coming up would be solid if they kept working hard. I don’t remember when Aidan said it, but he said it back in elementary school sometime that he was going to be Cascade’s first State Champion. Coach Ressler spent a lot of time with Aidan when he was in the youth program coming up and coaching him.

 

2.) Aidan was considered an underdog coming into the match with Allard… How did you feel coming in?

Coach Andrews: At the start of the season, Aidan decided to wrestle 126 and knew that Allard would be at that weight and that he is one of the best in the state. There’s no denying what Adam has been able to do in the sport of wrestling. Aidan wanted to wrestle 126 so he could wrestle Allard in the finals at state. Fans from other teams at tournaments early in the season would say, “that’s too bad he’s at 126, Allard is there.” We would respond, “that’s why Aidan is wrestling at 126, so he can wrestle Allard.” However, Aidan did have an injury during the month of December with his lower back. He was off the mat for about a month during the season and didn’t know what the season would exactly look like for him. During that time Aidan would travel north to Dyersville and meet with Jenny Arnold at Intelligent Movements early in the mornings before school. Jenny saw him and began working with Aidan on strengthening his core with Pilates. As coaches, we knew Aidan would do everything he would have to in order to get back onto the mat and he did. Going into the tournament after the brackets came out and saw where everyone was seeded, we just told Aidan that he needed to take it one match at a time. Focus on the one match in front of him and not to be looking ahead. Personally, we were more nervous about his semifinals match than his finals match. Aidan and Beau had a good finals match from the year before and it would be another hard fought match. Aidan has respect for all the kids he’s wrestled and has developed some relationships with them. For instance, Damon Huston and Aidan have become close over the last two years. They wrestled each other a lot when they were freshman at 106, but now they are at different weights and warmed each other up at the districts and state this past year. Coach Ressler and I didn’t look at any of Allards matches with Aidan until after he was done Friday night. Even though we knew Aidan was watching ALL the matches in his bracket at state, even the consolation side. That’s his routine, he come’s back to the hotel, his mom washes his wrestling gear, he’ll relax in his room and watch matches from state. Since Aidan was relaxed before the finals we were relaxed, we told him to go out wrestle hard and have fun.

 

3.) How would you describe Aidan’s style? Is his ability to ride and turn guys consistent with Cascade wrestling?

Coach Andrews: Aidan has his own style of wrestling, but his brother also has the ability to ride. Aidan is kind of rewriting the myth that short guys can’t ride with legs. I know Eric Juergens has worked with him on his riding and spent one whole camp just in the top position with the Noonan boys.

 

4.) How excited are you that Cascade landed its first state champion? How much did it mean to your dad? Is there a possibility we may see your dad coaching in the finals next year?

Coach Andrews: Two years ago, it was really exciting for the Cascade Wrestling fans to have their first state champion. I was more excited for Aidan and what he has been able to accomplish, it’s a testament for all the work he puts in that people don’t see. Having Aidan and Nolan both wrestling in the semifinals together, doing it together that year is a memory they will have the rest of their lives. They’ve been doing it together since day 1. When my brother Tim had his first state champion at Maquoketa Valley, my dad was really excited for Tim and their program. I think it’s safe to say that he was even more excited for Aidan and Cascade Wrestling. It’s something he has wanted for the program since the late 1980’s when he first started coaching at Cascade. The last two years my dad has been right behind the coaches on the mat and that is about as close as I think Aidan will let him get. LOL. Aidan has his routine and it’s something that we haven’t messed with the last two years and are not planning to mess with. We shall see how this season all shakes out and what happen.

 

5.) Has Aidan’s state championship run sparked some excitement and enthusiasm that may lead to more Cascade kids wanting to join the youth program?

Coach Andrews: The last two years the younger wrestlers in Cascade have become more excited about wrestling. Aidan has broken through the glass ceiling here at Cascade shows that it can be done. He has shown them what hard work is and what it takes. Aidan knows he can always get better and improve, he’s been doing that since all summer, working during the day and wrestling at night. There is a small group of kids that have been going out to their barn to have Aidan work with them this summer. It’s great seeing Aidan walk the halls at the elementary school and all the kids are giving him high fives. I would definitely say his run has sparked some excitement in the Cascade youth program.

{ 1 comment }

Celebrities Who Used To Wrestle: Ludacris (Rapper)

Ludacris (Rapper)

So the rapper, Ludacris has some experience with wrestling. This experience took place back in the days when he was known as his real name, Christopher Bridges. With lyrics like “tag team off the ropes,” (from his song, ‘What’s Your Fantasy’), you would assume that I am referring to WWE wrestling, but I’m not. Ludacris has experience in actual wrestling-wrestling. And most sources seem to indicate that he wrestled for a high school program that is now a full-fledged powerhouse called Oak Park River Forest in Illinois (Chicago). OPRF has produced phenoms who have been successful at multiple levels such as Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, Gabe Townsell, Alex Madrigal, Larry Early, Brad Bolen, Sammy Brooks, etc.

Ludacris wrestled there as a Freshman in HS and quit when he moved. He was one of the lightweight guys and a lot of the time had no one to wrestle, so would be the OPRF 98 or 103 lber who would presumably accept an abundance of forfeits. Here is a quote from Ludacris regarding his wrestling career:

LUDACRIS: I wrestled at the very first level, the lowest weight. I weighed around 90 pounds when I was in high school. A lot of the matches we would have, I wouldn’t even have anyone to wrestle against because they didn’t have anybody in my weight class. I quit because I had to move. I was in Illinois and I had to move from high school to high school. It was just something different at each school. Either they didn’t have a team or their program wasn’t very good, or something. So I kind of just lost interest.

{ 0 comments }

Remember The Wrestler: Michael Davis, Shenandoah HS

I do not know Michael Davis personally… In fact, putting this article together is the first time I’ve met him. However, there are a couple interesting things I’ve kind of connected the dots with since I began typing this out. Ironically, his brother, JP and my brother Justin wrestled each other in the AAU State finals when Justin was a 2nd grader. 1993. I remember the Shenandoah crew pretty well because of that and they were all great people. That was an underrated squad at multiple levels. They were underrated at the youth level and they were underrated when we got to high school, IMO. At least that’s how it came off to me sometimes. I don’t think people realized how good that squad was. And from what I’ve heard, the future is looking bright for them. Much respect, Shenandoah wrestling! You guys are great. 

 


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

I wrestled for Saint Alberts and Shenandoah as a youth. I also practiced with the panthers in Council Bluffs often. In high school I wrestled for Shenandoah.

 

What year did you graduate?

2004

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My older brother was already in wrestling so in Kindergarten I started myself.

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

My dad wrestled in high school, my older brother (JP) wrestled, and my younger cousin (Anthony Davis) wrestled.

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I had a lot of success in youth wrestling. 4x AAU state champion, 2x Tulsa nationals champion, several random national championships in folkstyle, freestyle, and greco roman. We moved to Texas for one wrestling season and I was able to win Texas state as well. I wouldn’t call them rivals but I had a lot of fun matches with Gabe Rostermundt and Henry Wahle.

What was your record in HS?

Like 130-25

How did you place at state every year?

Sophomore-6th Junior-3rd

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

Having a lot of success as a youth then going into my Freshman year as a 152 pounder was a learning curve for me. I had an average season and it wasn’t how people thought I would do. I also started to experience burnout my 8th grade year. I didn’t have the best support system and wrestling was always an up and down experience for me. I chose to have a bad attitude and walked away from wrestling my Senior year.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Aggressive but also technical. I was very one dimensional with a double leg and arm bar but it worked!

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

The two that come to mind are Heath Lamp (AHST) and Brock Swisher (Harlan)

Who was your most influential coach?

Blanchard Johnson Jr. (St. Alberts) was an amazing coach for me when I was younger. When we moved to Texas I also had an amazing coach in Henry Harmony.

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

We were not a state powerhouse but my Junior year (2003) we were very competitive for SW Iowa.

 

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

Watching Iowa wrestling on IPTV was a must in my household. I remember watching Lincoln McIlravy and Mark Ironside

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Jeff McGinnis or TJ Sebolt

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

Not that I can think of. I think each wrestler has their own unique style.

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

I’m sure there would be a lot of fun matchups to see between different eras but I also think there would have been a lot of fun matchups to see within the different divisions each year. I always remember saying Id love to see this 1A state champ wrestle this 3A state champ. There would be too many fun matchups to see.

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

I think in general most wrestlers respect each other. Mike Wells (Clarinda) and Willie Harris (Creston) are a couple I really respected just to name a few.

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

I havent paid a lot of attention to wrestling the past 10 years. I do like how Spencer Lee is a go getter.

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

Let the bodies hit the floor by Drowning Pool and oddly enough listening to the national anthem always pumped me up.

 

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

Sophomore year in the quarterfinals to Matt Adreon or Junior year at the hawkeye 10 to Brock Swisher. I was looking forward to wrestling Brandon Mason in the finals but that didn’t get to happen.

 

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

I would change my attitude. I would learn to be okay with getting beat and work my hardest each day during the season and offseason. I wouldn’t have walked away from my teammates my Senior year.

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

As a kid just traveling around and building so many wrestling friendships on a state and national level. Running around the 5 Seasons hotel all weekend for AAU state brings back a lot of memories too!

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

My junior year I had several good matches with Heath Lamb and Brock Swisher. I also had fun wrestling Chris Downing because I was close with the Creston wrestlers and they always tried to psych me out when I wrestled Chris.

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

All year since I was in 1st grade.

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

I haven’t paid close attention to wrestling today but I think everyone always thinks their era is the best.

Did you wrestle after high school?

No

What other sports did you play?

Football in high school, powerlifting post high school

What are your favorite sports teams?

Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Yankees, LSU Tigers

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Going on runs, watching sports, practicing my faith each day.

 

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

Wrestling has taught me to have a lot of discipline in my daily life. Its also helped me self-evaluate myself and learn from my mistakes.

What do you do now?

I am married with 3 kids and a set of twins on the way. For work I am a mental health therapist that enjoys working with teenagers/young adults.

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Not currently

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Win/Loses doesn’t matter. Work as hard as you can but also realize you have a life outside of wrestling. Don’t pay attention to any negativity.

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

Absolutely. I’d love to run it back with Heath Lamb.

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

Reflecting back I’d love to give a big shout out to coach Blanchard Johnston. I wish he could have coached me longer. As far as wrestlers I was close with the Creston Crew so shout out to Hayes, Loudon, Harris, Downing. Also shout out to Emmett Hughes and Mike Wells. Shout out to the Lewis Central crew as well. From my days in Texas shout out to Chas Skelly and Brandon Strong. Both ended up being great wrestlers. I also have to give a big shout out to Robert Baxter who was in my class so we spent a lot of time wrestling together.

 

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

I think we could all share some interesting stories but that might get us in trouble with our fellow wrestlers. One funny story I always remember is after I think my sophomore year I did an after season tournament and wrestled Kirk Artist (Glenwood). It was a close match and I picked down in the 3rd period. I didn’t think he would get his infamous cradle on me but sure enough he did. I was in no danger of getting pinned, but he wasn’t going to let go. We both knew this so we just ended up having like a minute and a half conversation to pass the time.

{ 1 comment }

One of my best friends and roommates for a couple years at Loras College was a guy who won state for Dubuque Hempstead in 2003. His name is Adam Gottschalk. For frame of reference, Adam was the 2003 3A 112 State Champion as a Junior.

Anyways, one time Adam, a huge metal-head, said that he wanted to show me a music clip that he thought I would like. I figured that it’d be one of the metal bands that he had recently gotten into, which was fine, I listen to that genre here and there, but he assured me that it was something from a band that was “more up my alley.” So he started playing this clip of a low-quality concert of the band Tool. I immediately knew who this band was and was like, “dude I already know and like Tool. And I love A Perfect Circle just as much or more.” A Perfect Circle is the name of the band that lead singer of Tool, Maynard James Keenan also fronts. Adam told me to just shut up and watch.  After a few seconds of watching this clip, you notice that this huge Tool fanatic who was in attendance had somehow managed to jump the gates, get by security and join the stage with the band where he began walking towards Maynard James Keenan with his arms outstretched, wanting a hug. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tool, they seem to have that effect on some of their fans. At shows or in general, their fans become enamored and excited to the point where you’ll see big, masculine men weeping and carrying on like teenage girls at a New Kids On The Block or Backstreet Boys concert. I’ve never seen anything like it, and yes, I’ve been to both, a Tool and A Perfect Circle show and have witnessed it firsthand.  Maynard James Keenan’s response to this fan is one that the guy likely didn’t expect, but should have considering he rudely interrupted the show. When this fan reached Keenan, Keenan acted like he was going to reciprocate the hug, but then proceeded to grab his arm and hip toss him to his back. And when he got him here, he put his leg in and locked him up and held him there… and here is the thing that ices this situation as being just epic… HE DIDN’T STOP SINGING. He lit this guy up with a lateral drop and put the legs in and didn’t even miss a beat. He held this fan there while he finished the song and hopefully taught this crazy fan a lesson to not interfere with an artist’s show in the process.

It should be noted, that while Keenan’s wrestling background was very noticeable while watching him execute the hip toss in this clip, that his background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was also on display for the influence of BJJ on Maynard James Keenan is just as much or more prevalent than wrestling. The video clip took place at least prior to 2002 and Keenan started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the mid-90’s under Rickson Gracie. Gracie is a Brazilian 9th-degree red belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and a retired mixed martial artist. Most of us who have followed MMA to even a minimal extent have likely heard of the last name, “Gracie” and are likely aware of the influence they have had on the MMA scene. Rickson is a member of that family. He is the 3rd oldest son of Helio Gracie, and his siblings include Rorion and Relson Gracie as well as half-siblings, Rolker, Royce, Robin and Royler. The Gracie family is MMA royalty and that’s who Maynard James Keenan studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under. BJJ has been and continues to be so prominent in Keenan’s life that it’d be disrespectful to all the work he has put in over the years training as well as the individuals who helped him train if I were to leave it out of this story.

HERE IS THE CLIP TO THAT:

When I saw this happen, I laughed and screamed, “holy cow! Maynard James Keenan was a wrestler!!?!” I mean it was uncanny. Perfect technique. Perfectly executed. The only way he would have the instinct to do that would be if he had a wrestling background or at the very least, a background in a related martial art. You can just tell. And Adam confirmed, yes Maynard James Keenan was indeed a wrestler in high school. I already was a fan of everything Keenan was part of in the field of music, but of course, this made me like him even more on multiple levels.

So of course, I dug into it a little further.

Maynard James Keenan was a 1982 graduate from Mason County Central in Michigan. This was where he wrestled. His father, Mike was the wrestling coach at Mason County Central from the 70’s until 1982. After becoming a rock star, Maynard did not lose touch with the sport of wrestling and some of the skills, values and life lessons he accumulated from his experience with the sport. He has since, continued to give back to the sport of wrestling by means of monetary donations and has even helped coach in the Mason County Central wrestling room.  One of the coolest things I’ve ever heard about any celebrity, let alone celebrities who wrestled, was that Keenan offered to pay for 16 wrestlers to attend an Olivet wrestling camp, but on one condition… He made it a requirement that each kid wrote an essay detailing what wrestling means to them and why it was important for them to go to the camp. How about that?! As we all could likely assume, there is a large percentage of celebrities who were athletes in high school, in which giving back to the activities/sports that instilled within them the life skills and lessons that undoubtedly contributed to their success, would not even think to give back to the sport(s) or the youth who participates in them today. Wrestling, on the other hand , produced an athlete who became a rock star who never lost sight of the influence the sport had on him and further yet, gave back to the sport in a manner that would help the youth in terms of affordability to participate in it as well as tapping into their thoughtful, creative sides in the process. More wrestling coaches should have their athletes partake in these sorts of lessons/activities.

If Maynard James Keenan is not a perfect example of the leadership, determination and selflessness that the sport of wrestling promotes, I don’t know what is. He makes the wrestling community proud in the manner he continues to work hard, lead by example and give back to a sport that did so much for him.

 Maynard James Keenan also co-founded Verde Valley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with first degree black belt, Chris Burns. Classes are held in Old Town Cottonwood, Arizona and they operate under the following mission statement: 

OUR MISSION HERE AT VERDE VALLEY BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU IS THE PRESERVATION AND DISSEMINATION OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU FOR SELF DEFENSE AS DEVELOPED AND TAUGHT BY MASTERS HELIO AND RICKSON GRACIE. SELF PRESERVATION IN AN UNFORESEEN CONFLICT IS THE GOAL. BY BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION OF CONNECTION, BALANCE, LEVERAGE, AND SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, WE CAN GIVE OUR STUDENTS AN ADVANTAGE OVER AN UNTRAINED OPPONENT WHO MAY BE LARGER AND STRONGER. BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU, LIKE LIFE IN GENERAL, IS A JOURNEY FILLED WITH OBSTACLES WORTH  NAVIGATING.IT’S A JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY.VERDE VALLEY BJJ WAS ESTABLISHED TO SERVE AS A STARTING POINT TOWARDS EACH OF THOSE PERSONAL DISCOVERIES. YOU JUST NEED TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP.FOR SELF DEFENSE. FOR SPORT. FOR PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH. FOR LIFE.

Mr. Keenan, if you are reading this, please contact me, for I would love for you to partake in a series we have called “Remember The Wrestler.” I believe your participation could help us with our mission to promote growth in wrestling as well as provide valuable insight that current, future and past wrestlers could utilize to become successful on and off the mat. Please email me at thepindoctors@gmail.com if this is something that interests you. THANK YOU!

“I got involved with the team last year after I found out that Jim Allen was coaching. Jim and I wrestled together and I knew that he would give the kids the type of work ethic and pride that we grew up with. I knew they would have the drive under Jim’s leadership.”

-Maynard James Keenan

{ 0 comments }

One of my favorite bands of all time is a band called Blind Melon. Blind Melon was popular in the 90’s. They were an alternative rock band with their own distinct sound. Most of you probably know them from their mega-hit, “No Rain.” You know, it’s that catchy song that has a singer with a high voice who wails the quirky lyric, “all I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watching the puddles gather rain. And all I can do is just pour some tea for two and speak my point of view, but it’s not sane.” I like this song so much to this day that the band actually retweeted/shared a video to their social media of my daughters and I singing it in the car last year. It was one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me, lol.

 

Anyways, the lead singer of the band was a guy named Shannon Hoon. And this guy was a helluva wrestler in high school, which automatically made me like him and Blind Melon even more.

Most people associate rock stars and who they were before they became one as being antisocial with no direction and nothing going for them other than music. This may be the case for some, but it wasn’t for Shannon Hoon. Hoon was a jock. He was a great athlete who excelled at the pole-vault, football and on the wrestling mat. He also became a black belt in karate at age 9. He was a tough and athletic kid. Shannon was pushed pretty hard by his parents and most notably his dad, for he was an accomplished athlete in his day. Shannon undoubtedly felt the pressure to be as good at sports as his dad and this meant winning was what was expected of him in wrestling. Wrestling was presumably a huge source of pressure for him due to the expectations his family and community had for him. The pressure accumulated in time and Hoon began rebelling when he was in his late teens and developed a lifestyle that included drugs, alcohol, fighting, mischief, you name it. This lifestyle he chose continued to become more and more risky and dangerous as time passed and it eventually led to tragedy. At age 28, he passed away from a cocaine overdose.

 

Shannon’s mother, Nel Hoon has suspected that the pressure put on him to win may have contributed to Shannon’s rebellious and destructive behavior which led him to his untimely death.


NEL HOON: “All he was really required to do in high school was stay on top of things in sports. When he would lose at any sport, his dad had a hard time with that, and it would end up being a family fight. He really wasn’t allowed to lose. It makes me cry when I think back about how hard it must have been on him to be pushed into those things. I honestly believe that the things he did, he did for us. That may have been the reason he just totally exploded after he got out of high school.”

I don’t think it’d be a bad idea for parents of wrestlers to read that and think hard about what she said there.

Here are a few interesting things that I’ve found:

Shannon won a trophy for being awarded outstanding wrestler of a tournament he competed in. I do not know what tournament it was.

Here are some results from the Indiana HS Wrestling Sectional and Regional tournaments that he competed in… It appears he was always in the mix!!!

1982-83 sectionals results

83-84 Sectionals

84-85 sectionals

84-85 regionals

He was described by his mother as being very good at it, hard-working and an extremely competitive guy who would do anything to win, even if it meant being excessively rough on the opponent he was facing. His mom discussed a match he had where he caught this guy on his back and in order to secure the pin, he put his hand on the other guy’s mouth to prevent him from being able to breathe and hopefully force him to quit…which he did. There was another story where he refused to let injury or pain derail him from competing. When he was an underclassmen, he hurt his foot in a match he won and the next match was going to be against a guy who was undefeated and older than him. His foot was apparently hurt so bad that some advised him to not wrestle the match, but he insisted on competing… and he ended up beating the guy. She described Shannon as going into what appeared to be a “trance” when he warmed up and mentally prepared for wrestling matches.

Here is an interview with Nel Hoon about Shannon’s wrestling career:

 

When he became a rock star, he developed a bit of a reputation as being a type that you did not want to mess with. He got into his share of fights and what-not when he would drink alcohol and the reports seem to indicate that the outcome of these fights always went in his favor. Not that I condone fighting or anything, but I’m sure Shannon’s wrestling background helped him become the tough dude he was rumored to be while fighting. Even Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses respected Shannon Hoon… and Axl has a reputation for being hot-headed himself, especially when mingling with musicians who were part of the grunge genre considering the rise of grunge kind of put an end to the Guns N’ Roses era. But he liked and respected Shannon Hoon…the lead singer of a band who is considered by many as a grunge band.

Shannon’s lifestyle eventually reached the level of straight-up dangerous/unhealthy. Dan Gable has a famous quote, “wrestling makes everything else in life easier.” This quote is true and in Shannon’s case, some of what he learned about hard work in his experience with wrestling may have contributed to his success…however, it is important to keep in mind that while wrestling does make everything else in life easier, it does not make you invincible. Just because you wrestled it does not make you more likely to survive a tumultuous lifestyle. I have seen multiple wrestlers fall victim to this mindset. I have come close to it myself.


Blind Melon was a huge success as a band. They sold a ton of records, did well on the rock charts, routinely sold out shows at large venues and were well-received by critics. If Shannon hadn’t died at a young age, there’s no telling just how much more success that band would have had. If you haven’t ever listened to Blind Melon, but would like to, especially now that you know that their frontman was a wrestler, I would recommend checking out the songs; “No Rain,” “Change,” “I Wonder,” and “Galaxie” first and if those songs don’t make you want to dive in to the rest of their collection, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

 

 

I am hell-bent set on doing a “Remember The Wrestler” article on him via interviewing his mom about his wrestling career, but have come up short in my efforts at contacting her. Hopefully I can make this work someday.

“When you feel life ain’t worth living, You’ve got to stand up and take a look around, look up way to the sky,hell yeah. And when your deepest thoughts are broken. Keep on dreamin’ boy, when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die And I don’t want to die.”

-Lyrics from Blind Melon’s song, “Change”

 

This live version of the song, “Change” is absolutely perfect. This song is a life-changer:

{ 1 comment }

There have been 6 times total in Iowa HS State Wrestling History where someone recorded a fall in :10 or less. Here are the guys who did it:

:05 Brian Hessenius, Le Mars ‘00

:07 Justin Koethe, IC West in 2010

:08 Cody Thompson of Graettinger

:08 Matt Purdy of Cedar Falls ‘91

:10 Rocky Lombardi of Valley WDM ‘17

:10 Jeff Schwarz of Sheldon ‘84

 

A few interesting things about 5 of these guys:

* Jeff Schwarz recorded his 10 second fall in the state finals. He also recorded a fall at state in :12 along with that one.

 

JUSTIN KOETHE

* Justin Koethe was explosive off the whistle and scored his quick pin in the consolations and the only reason he was even on the consolation side of the bracket was because he got called for a bogus slam on the winner’s side. That was one of 2 times that happened to him at state. Bogus. He’s one of the best guys ever to not win a state title. People literally feared him. No seriously, with my own ears, I used to hear wrestlers around his age talk about being scared to wrestle him, approach him or try to talk to him because of how intimidating his style was on the mat as well as how intense he was when he competed. Off the mat he’s a really cool dude like the rest of the Koethe’s that I’ve met.

 

ROCKY LOMBARDI


* Rocky Lombardi recorded a 2 or 3 second fall not long before he recorded his :10 fall at state. He’s also one of the state’s best ever HS quarterbacks. He still plays at the D1 level. Played for Michigan State at first and is now at Northern Illinois. 

 

* Brian Hessenius has been looking for video footage of his pin since it happened so if anyone can help him with this, pm me. He had this to say about his record-setting quick pin:

BRIAN HESSENIUS: : “:05 seconds and it is still a record!!! 20 years now! What I did was I snapped his head and then grabbed his wrist and then over-hooked his head and under-hooked his other side/arm and popped him and he went straight to his back. Was able to follow through and finish quickly.”

 

MATT PURDY OF CEDAR FALLS… HAD A :09 SECOND PIN

 

{ 0 comments }

Jeff Gibbons is the youngest of 4 brothers who are considered, by many, the best ever wrestling family to be produced by the state of Iowa. The Gibbons family is wrestling royalty in Iowa, if such a thing exists. And they attained this status by being great in multiple roles of the sport and at multiple levels. Of course they were great competitors, but have also excelled in other areas of the sport, such as coaching and media coverage. They are all positive role models to the wrestling community and if a wrestling family collectively decides they want to be as respectable and successful of a family as possible, they could learn a couple thousand things from how the Gibbons family has carried themselves on and off the mat throughout the years.

This one was done a little differently. Jeff completed his questionnaire, worked his tail off and put everything together via Power Point. Unfortunately, I could not get Power Point to format correctly, so I decided the best route to take for his would be by means of screen shots. This may  say style I may utilize more in the future.

 

Here is the Jeff Gibbons story, as told by Jeff Gibbons!

 

{ 0 comments }

 

The 1985 2A 138 State Championship Finals Between Shawn Voigt of Mt. Vernon and Steve Rogers of Iowa City Regina 

PLACERS:

1. Shawn Voigt, Jr., Mount Vernon
2. Steve Rogers, Sr., Iowa City Regina
3. Monty Andreson, Sr., Audubon
4. Craig Lyons, Sr., Atlantic
5. Shawn Ellingson, Sr., Nevada
6. Scott Aitchison, Sr., Cascade

It’s pretty tough to think of any matches in Iowa HS State wrestling finals history where the chances of winning (on paper) seemed like more of a long shot than it did for Shawn Voigt in this match, despite finishing 3rd the year before. Shawn Voigt stepped on the mat with 8 losses to his name on the season. Steve Rogers stepped on the mat as a guy who had been there-done that, for he was the returning state champion, was undefeated on the season and most importantly, was responsible for 3 of Voigt’s 8 losses on the year.

Steve Rogers did get a 3-0 lead at one point, but Voigt kept plucking away throughout the match and stayed after him until he got momentum in his favor and capitalized on that.

The go-ahead takedown was scored with about 13 seconds left and was off of a shot that Rogers got real deep on and it appeared that the match was going to be won by Rogers at this point, but somehow, Voigt found a way to stop this shot before falling to his butt and did some funky stuff with his hips to secure his own takedown. Voigt rode him out the last few seconds and the state championship was his.

I don’t know what Rogers did after HS, but Voigt went on to become a 4X D3 AA and 1X champ for Cornell after HS and he is now in the D3 HOF.

{ 2 comments }


In college, I wrestled at a D3 college named Loras College. My head coach was a man named Randy Steward who was originally from Dewitt-Central and coincidentally, he was in my dad’s bracket at HS state way back in the horse and buggy days of 1978. Steward did a great job as the HC of the Loras College wrestling program. He was fair and instilled positive, hard-working attitudes amongst the warriors on the team. When word got around that Steward was stepping down as HC at Loras, naturally I hoped for someone good to take his place despite not being there along with the fact that I was not necessarily a good influence to have on the team in my college days. When I heard the person to take the reins would be TJ, it made me happy, for I knew that it is likely that he picked some coaching philosophies and tactics up from his father, Jim Miller, who happens to be one of the best and most decorated coaches to ever coach any sport at any level in the state of Iowa. A full-fledged legend. 

Around the time I began wrestling at Loras, TJ Miller was placing at the Iowa HS state wrestling tournament… During my upperclassmen years at Loras, he was starting to make himself known on the D3 scene, wrestling for Wartburg. He was an impressive high school wrestler, no doubt about it, but man did he bring his game up a level at Wartburg…A 2008 graduate of Wartburg College, Miller wrestled for his father at that level, the legendary Jim Miller, for four seasons and compiled an overall record of 131-9, which included a national championship in 2007 at 197 pounds. His wrestling accomplishments include being honored as a three-time NCAA Division III All-American and a three-time Iowa Conference Champion. Miller was a part of three national championship teams in 2004, 2006 and 2008 as an athlete. His 131 wins rank eighth all-time at Wartburg.

After his competitive career concluded, TJ initially coached at Wartburg as an assistant before accepting the head coaching position at Loras.  2020-21 wrestling season marked the fifth year there. As the leader of the wrestling program, Miller and the Duhawks are coming off the top-two most successful seasons in program history in back to back seasons. In 2019, Loras captured the National Runner-Up trophy at the NCAA Division III Tournament in Roanoke, Va., the first top-four finish in program history. In 2020, Loras won its first ever American Rivers Conference Championship, snapping a 27 year streak held by Coach Miller’s alma mater, Wartburg College.

(Prior to the 2020-2021 season) In four years as a head coach, Miller has coached 17 All-Americans and 13 Scholar All-Americans. As a result, Miller has been named the Iowa Conference Coach of the Year once, the A-R-C Coach of the Year twice, the Regional Coach of the Year three times, NWCA Rookie Coach of the Year and NWCA National Coach of the Year.

I’d say it’s fair to assume that TJ DID in fact pick some valuable things up from his father… In fact, it appears the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree with Jim and TJ Miller. 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

I would have to say my father was probably the first person that encouraged me to try wrestling. I think my first competition was in the West Gym. I think I got second place. Won one and lost one.

 

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

I have two older brothers. They wrestled a little in their youth and one wrestled a little in high school but they never took to the sport much. My parents put us in every youth sport and didn’t push one or the other on us. I grew up in a wrestling room and my first memories were watching my father coach at UNI and then onto Wartburg. He was a 2x National champion for UNI and coached 10 National Championship teams while he was coaching at Wartburg.

 

What were your youth results?

My youth results were not very good. I would get 2nd or 3rd in 4 man brackets a lot growing up. I think I might have won one tournament in 6th grade in New Hampton. I only made it to AAU state one time and don’t think I won a match there in 6th grade. I went to districts a few times which seemed to always be held at Wartburg. All the table workers were Wartburg wrestlers each year. It was kind of embarrassing.

 

Any rivals there?

I would say in high school our rivals were West Waterloo. I probably competed against Danny Dunning the most in high school. He got the best of me probably more than I did of him. We had a few crazy matches in 2002-03.

 

What was your record in HS?

I don’t know my exact record. I never came close to winning 100 matches or anything. I was jv my freshman year at 119 and don’t think I lost that year on junior varsity. I believe I won around 60-70 varsity matches in high school. I had a couple injuries my junior and senior year. One year at state I think I was 15-3 going into the tournament.

 

How did you place at state every year?

In 2002 I was 4th at 160lbs
In 2003 I was 6th at 171lbs.

 

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

I would say the biggest challenges I had to overcome was in youth wrestling. I always thought I was supposed to be good just because of who my father was. It got better the older I got, but that hurdle probably was a battle even into my first couple of years of college.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

I was kind of all over the place growing up. Somewhere around 8th grade I really started to like legging on top. Top was probably my best position. I liked rolling around on bottom and getting reversals. 90% of my offensive takedowns were probably one of three things in college. 1. Slide by. 2. Low single. 3. Go behind. It really was about all I had and the ability to a little.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

In youth, I would say it was Doug Jensen. I became friends with Brock Jensen in elementary school. He would take us to most of the youth tournaments I have ever been to. When Nick Beuter moved to Cedar Falls, his father Jon (All-American at BVU) would take us a lot of places on the weekend in Junior High.

In high school I had a bunch of good coaches but the one that really made an impact when I really needed it was Brian Roberts. He made me fall in love with lifting weights my junior year of high school. I had a knee surgery my junior year and coming back I was petrified with shooting on it. I think he made me hit a slide by 10,000 times that second semester.

In College I was 184 (for a year) and 197lbs. I would have to say Chris Ortner had the biggest impact on my wrestling in those years. My father made a huge impact on every athlete he had in the room but for me it was Coach Ortner.

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

My last college match I took 2nd. That was really tough for me. Honestly, I still think about that one from time to time. For about 5 years it was daily and now it’s something I think about here and there. Probably something I will never get over completely but I think it’s something that has honestly helped me the most in coaching moving forward.

 

Was your team competitive in HS / college?

Cedar Falls was pretty good when I was there. We won quite a few duals and made state duals my junior year. I would say we hung around or near the top 10-15 during the state tournament in 3A.

 

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

I had a lot of them but I will name a few. Zane Braggs is the first guy that I remember being my favorite wrestler to watch. He was 118lb explosive wrestler for Wartburg. Tom Smith, Jamal Fox, Ben Shane and Zac Weglein. I had a lot of heroes that wrestled for my father. Obviously who didn’t like the Gable era growing up in the state of Iowa? When I got to high school I really became a huge Joe Heskett and Cael Sanderson fan. Those two were a lot of fun to watch.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Anyone wearing a Loras singlet. I really like watching Spencer Lee. I’m always in disbelief by the strength that guy must have every time I watch him.

 

Are people real excited about wrestling at Loras these days?

People are really excited about Loras. I have a lot of communication with alumni from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s calling and emailing with enthusiasm. We have had a couple banner seasons the last couple of years. The people and community has really got onboard with what we are doing at Loras. It’s been incredible and a lot of fun to watch it grow into what it is today the last 4 seasons.

 

Are you able to detect “Dubuquian” accents?

I haven’t detected any of those yet. I came from New Orleans before arriving in Dubuque, so I have heard every accent in the book.

 

If so, isn’t it funny that there is an accent that seems like a combination of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota?

Dubuque is interesting because we are literally on 3 borders here. Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. A lot of those states have residents in Dubuque, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was an accent.

 

Are you as blown away by the city of Dubuque as I was? I feel it’s one of the most underrated cities in Iowa.

I have always loved Dubuque. My fondest memories are in this city. The ambience of the city is unmatched in Iowa. I won a National Title here in 2007. I got married here in 2012. It’s hands down one of my favorite places in Iowa. There isn’t another city in Iowa like it.

 

What brings you more joy? Coaching or wrestling yourself?

Coaching. I have never felt anything like seeing one of your athletes accomplish their goals. It’s truly an amazing feeling like no other. It’s an all-time adrenaline rush. I loved competing but helping kids accomplish their goals on the mat, getting them their degree and helping them after graduation is what I like the most about coaching. It’s not just for 4 years, it’s for life.

 

How did the influence of your wrestling coaches prepare you for coaching?

I have been around some good ones. Obviously, like most of Jim Miller’s ex-wrestlers that are in coaching have taken a lot from him. I would say the foundation of my coaching style comes from my father. A lot of times, I feel like I’m impersonating my old man (which I’m good at). I think any of his ex-wrestlers would probably say they use a lot of my father’s style.

Nick Mitchell once told me to steal as much I can and make it your own. So I steal some of his stuff from time to time. He’s got a lot of good stuff he preaches.

 

When you began coaching, were you able to relate to all different kinds of kids and the coaching methods they respond to or was it a learning process?

When I began coaching, I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t even think I could make that big of impact. Then you really start investing into some guys and sure enough you realize you are making an impact.

I think a lot of young coaches will make mistakes and it’s just a process like anything. You learn from them and keep moving forward with enthusiasm.

 

How would you compare and contrast you and your dad’s coaching styles?

I’m guessing there are some similarities. I don’t know if I got it down to where he simplified things so well that they would make sense to everyone. Nothing was too complicated and it all made perfect sense when he said it. I got to see him a lot of his coaching towards the tail end of his career. I wish I could have seen him in the younger days to be able to give a fair comparison. He had a lot of fire. Like a lot of fire.

 

What are some of your proudest moments in coaching?

To be honest, it’s always during graduation. There is something about it that really makes me reflect when each that walks across the stage. It brings a flood of memories from when it’s move in weekend to graduation. I would say graduation is my proudest moments in coaching that I have had.

 

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

Listen to my father earlier. Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

What was your best wrestling memory / accomplishment?

Winning a National Title with my father in my corner. Not many Father-Sons have done that in college.

 

How hard did you work?

In youth and high school i didn’t work very hard. I really didn’t figure it out until college on how hard I needed to work.

 

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

I didn’t start wrestling year round until about my sophomore year of high school. I was actually better at freestyle then I was folkstyle in high school.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

I wrestled for my father at Wartburg.

 

What other sports did you play?

Soccer was probably my best sport until 8th grade. I also played baseball through 8th grade. I played football through 9th grade. Wrestling only from 10th grade on.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

Die hard Minnesota Vikings fan.

 

What are your hobbies?

I watch a lot of movies.

 

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

Wrestling has done wonders for me. Its helped me the best at dealing with adversity. Anyone who knows wrestling knows it comes at any given time in our sport. I think the same is in life as well. Being able to confront adversity and overcome it.

 

What do you do now?

Head Coach at Loras College

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Big Time.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Have fun. Do your best. Take it one day at a time.

 

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

Who else is entering? There are a few old timers’ I wouldn’t mind wrestling.

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

You did one of these on one of my best friends/best man in my wedding (Nick Beuter). That dude raised my level big time in high school. The other would be Blake Gillis. That’s another guys that raised my level big time in college for wrestling. Those are two teammates that made a profound impact on my wrestling life. I should probably give my Wife (Allison) a shout out. I wouldn’t be where I am without her support and love for wrestling.

Last thing I would add… If you are a coach, don’t ever give up on any of your athletes. You never know how they can help you down the road and when it’s going to all going click for them.

{ 1 comment }

After that matchup in the quarterfinals in 8th grade, I know Mack beat Justin in freestyle at least once at the IC High tournament, but I am about 80% sure Justin took 3 out of the final 4 meetings. All freestyle matches. Two of them were at freestyle state duals, but in different years (Freshman and Junior years I believe) and the other win Justin notched was at this tournament (sorry Justin, film for your W’s could not be found):

Interestingly enough, about a half year later Reiter and Pollard won state as Freshmen. Reiter in 1A, Pollard in 2A.  Justin got beat by Pollard in the finals at state that year.  

So these guys continued to meet in high school and I don’t think they ever had a match that disappointed the crowd. Every match was intense, close and hard-fought.  While Justin certainly expressed his low-point as the 8th grade quarterfinals match in terms of how upset he was over a loss, there was one that seems to bug Mack more than some of the other losses as well and that was the last match they ever wrestled against each other… at Freestyle State Duals as Juniors in HS. 

Mack Reiter: I never really took losses well! Wasn’t a skill set I developed! I think the one I struggled with the most was the one at junior freestyle duals at Marion High School. After that I had to do a bit of soul searching. I was at that age where I was starting to take interest in girls and I think I had a girl friend at the time. Anyway, again I don’t think I wrestled to the best of my ability and I think a large part of it was that I wasn’t focused on my wrestling as much as I needed to be at the time. I made some life adjustments after that!

 

And of course, while that loss brought an array of negative vibes to Mack, Justin, as expected couldn’t have been any more satisfied. Mack and Justin are two guys who have some of the most ferocious appetites for winning…

 

How did you feel when you won against him?

Mack Reiter: Usually that meant I was going to win another state title so I felt pretty good! At that time in my life that was about the only thing that mattered to me!

Justin Swafford: Oh so sweet. Felt great to get that redemption no matter how many times we wrestled, especially the first win against him after my loss at AAU to him in 8th grade – which was at State Duals held at Blackhawk Arena while wrestling for Monster USA. This would have been my Freshman or Sophomore year. In my mind he had robbed me of 2 state championships my 7th and 8th grade year, so I always had something to prove against him which made beating him all the sweeter. I was happy to win the last match against him when we were Juniors and as usual, that match was crazy too and came down to the last 1-2 seconds, but this time it was in my favor.

 

Mack and Justin went on to have very successful wrestling careers. Mack is widely considered one of the best ever, for he won 4 titles and was a 4X AA for Minnesota.  Justin had his hiccups, but also had his shining moments and was a 3X finalist in HS and a 1X state champ. His college experience was a negative one, mostly due to the shoulder injuries he succumbed, which shattered his heart for years.  

These two were so intense that if you would have told me back then that I would be writing this, I would have called you crazy.  

To conclude this article, Mack and Justin answered questionnaires based on their rivalry and gave some very interesting answers.  There is certainly a mutual respect there, which is just awesome to see.  I’d love to get these two together sometime, for holy cow did they ever accumulate some memories together doing what they loved to do and were great at it. 

 

Out of all the guys you had ongoing competition with, where does Justin/Mack rank as far as significance to your career? Was he one of your biggest rivals?

Mack Reiter: I think my biggest in state rival would probably have been Corey Kalina. I would imagine that him and I probably wrestled 50-60 times in our careers. That being said, Justin is probably a close second. We didn’t wrestle nearly as many times, but I probably had more losses to Justin from 2nd grade to senior year than anyone else.

Justin Swafford: That’s a tough one. We never really stood in each other’s way as far as winning a high school state championship because we were in different classes, but that sting of that first loss to him carried with me through the years and we wrestled a lot in the freestyle season and every meeting was fiercely competitive. He was one of my biggest rivals up there with Moza Fay, and Jacob Naig.

 

Would you consider the rivalry between you guys as being friendly or heated?

Mack Reiter: I would say now that it was friendly, but I’ve also significantly mellowed out in the last 10 years! I imagine if you asked junior in high school Mack that same question he might have a different answer!

Justin Swafford: Probably heated, based off my first loss to him and the response from the side that was pulling for him to win. That led to a monumental meeting and beginning of a friendship between our dads that everyone thought was going to be a fight between them. We were both fiercely competitive and we both hated to lose so it led to a more heated rivalry at times.  Mack and I became friends, but when we were on the mat, it was pretty heated. There was no love on the mat. The way I looked at it, he was trying to take something that I felt very strongly was mine and I didn’t want to give that up, so it was game on on the mat.  Off the mat, we were great.

 

When you practiced during the season, did you have times where you were practicing to beat Justin Swafford/Mack Reiter  or was it always just to win state?

Mack Reiter: For me it was always just to win state. I didn’t change my style for anyone. I wanted to impose my style of wrestling on my opponent so I never really pictured any one person.

Justin Swafford:  My 8th grade year I did a lot of specific drills and worked on techniques specifically to beat Mack. It was always a mind set of winning state, but I knew that particular year he was one of my biggest competitors and wanted to prepare myself the best I could, all while wrestling my match. When meeting in freestyle, if I knew I was likely to wrestle him, I’d work on defense to low singles and working out of a sucker drag position, but other than that it was just working on good freestyle techniques like tough guts, leg-laces, sealing my hips on finishes to takedowns, and more big move throws and positioning.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Mack Reiter: My senior year I was cutting a lot of weight and I was going through a real tough time. J Robinson brought me into his office and showed me a picture of myself after a win in college where I was displaying a particularly large amount of emotion. He said I needed to get back to that guy. I remember in that meeting he described my style as “wreckless abandonment”. I always liked that description. Going into something wholeheartedly, with no concern for consequences or danger. I was always trying to score, always trying to do more.

Justin Swafford: It is hard to describe your own style, but I’d say slick technical aggression with a side of funk. On top I was mostly an arm bar wrestler who was always looking for the pin. I also had a motor and made sure no one out-worked me in the practice room so my conditioning was always a factor to my style, I kept good positioning throughout the match and always worked to score points.

 

How would you describe Justin/Mack’s wrestling style? Can you compare his style to any other wrestlers?

Mack Reiter: From what I remember Justin was extremely technical and had a length advantage on most people. He was very hard to finish on from leg attacks because of that length and his scrambling ability.

Justin Swafford: Explosive in-and-out style with solid positioning. His style changed through the years, as I’m sure mine did too. Early on it was a lot of dropping to his knees and doing low singles, as he got older it developed more of a style in-line with solid collegiate wrestling skills on his feet; solid positioning and quick explosive high crotches. He wrestled a lot like his brother Joe Reiter with a few more leg attacks, as opposed to Joe who scored a lot more from front headlocks. And of course he had that nearly unstoppable cradle on top – he was always looking for the pin.

Mark Swafford (Justin’s Dad): Mack was an absolute grinder who had an unbelievable sense for always maintaining great positioning. He was smart and was the best situational wrestler in the state.  He was a ferocious warrior in literally any situation you can find yourself in on a wrestling mat. He is one of the greatest wrestlers I have ever seen go through the state of Iowa in my decades of experience.

 

What was your game plan against him when you met up?

Mack Reiter: Win, I guess. I know thats a pretty simple statement, but as I said before, I never tried to change my style to fit the person I was wrestling. I would try to make myself aware if they had a dangerous move to watch out for, but I approached every match the exact same. Impose my style and win.

Justin Swafford: On my feet it was a lot of shot and reshot work as he liked to stay low and beating him with angles as he had a tendency to have short lapses where he tended to be straight forward with low single attacks and high crotches and a difficult to penetrate defense. I felt this was a display of his confidence. He was very confident. So there was that as well as keeping short arms in a go behind situation as he liked to get underneath and score out of a sucker drag position. He was good out of a front headlock too so you didn’t want to hang around and get beat on while underneath of him from the feet. Underneath it was head up and control of hands and never stop moving, and absolutely no stand-ups with the knee up on the side he was riding. On top it was just tough riding and working to my arm bars, tilts, Erickson ride (cross body turk), and cradles as much as possible.

Mark Swafford (Justin’s Dad): When going against Mack, if you were not on top of your game in terms of being “mat-smart,” you stood no chance. You HAD to be in good position with him, you HAD to create angles on your feet against him and you HAD to set up every offensive move that you executed against him.  If you failed to do any of these three things, he would make you pay for it.  Don’t roll with him on the mat, for he WILL bury you…period. You had to have 2-3 moves planned along with the one you hit, for he was good at stopping shots and creating scrambles and was dangerous in those positions. And keep in mind that Mack had an answer for any game plan we could write up, so when it came down to it, we just had to coach him to go out and wrestle fearless.

 

Did you respect their wrestling skills?

Mack Reiter: I absolutely respected his skills. He was extremely technical and knew how to use his length well.

Justin Swafford: Oh absolutely. He was a gamer and matched my desire and fury to win, which I didn’t encounter very often. He was so well-positioned and had a great balance of being intelligent and dangerous on the mat. You had to game plan against him.

 

How confident were you coming in to each match? Did you ever have to battle any nerves when you wrestled him?

Mack Reiter: One of my strongest attributes in wrestling was my mental approach. I never lacked confidence in myself when I put my foot on that line. I wouldn’t let myself walk out there until I had convinced myself I was going to win and I did that for every match I ever wrestled.

Justin Swafford: I was confident before every match I ever wrestled and felt no fear. I knew what I was capable of doing and I had total confidence that I’d find it in me to display the top of my game. I never went into a match with Mack with the slightest notion that I would lose. I never felt this with anyone. That type of thinking will force you to lose. It’s counterproductive.

 

So you guys were practice partners throughout JH and HS… How did it go when you practiced against each other’s Future Hawkeye WC? Still competitive?

Mack Reiter: Absolutely. I think we would roll around with each other quite a bit back at the practices at Iowa City West that Mark Reiland would organize. We had a pretty good room back then and it definitely prepared us for Fargo. We helped each other immensely, but it was very competitive in that room.

Justin Swafford: Oh yes. Reiland pushed a lot of King of the Mat drills where the winner of the takedown stays out, and those got pretty intense. It was always a mindset for me of being the guy out there the longest while dominating on the feet, same as the par terre position – it’s a mindset of “I’m going to turn everyone, and not give up any points underneath.” That was a Hawkeye mindset that I picked up while Terry Brands would be the clinician at those Sunday practices (while staying with the Paulson twins and training at a summer camp in Underwood at the Barn Ray Brinzer described wrestlers’ stubbornness as an analogy of two guys holding onto car battery terminals and whoever let go first loses, lol!). I am the kind of wrestler that always kinetically learns within the sport, which meant the more I wrestled a tough guy and got to figure their style out the better I do against them and can shut down their offense or use it to score my offense and close the gap. That being said I think it went pretty well, good days and bad days in the practice room. The weeknights I was doing track practice from 3:30-5:00pm, then driving an hour to Iowa City to practice at 6pm, so I’m sure I probably had some club practices where I came in already spent, but it made me tougher. I mostly remember Mack being at club practice on Sundays though as it was a haul from Gilbertville to go to Iowa City West high school.

 

Do you know each other well off the mat? Were you guys friends?

Mack Reiter: I never really got to know Justin that well off the mat. I’ve lived in Minnesota for almost 18 years now and haven’t stayed in touch with some of the people I grew up with in Iowa as I probably should have. You (Josh) recently shared a picture with me that I never knew existed of Justin and I from a restaurant I believe in Fargo, ND. Judging by the fun we were having in that picture I’d say we were friends.

Justin Swafford: Eventually got to know him off the mat mostly during training camps for Fargo or though the Future Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Think he let me borrow the self-titled Godsmack album once which was my introduction to songs outside of their radio singles, that was always fun (sharing albums pre smartphone and streaming days). The summer leading into my Freshman year of college at UNI I was working the summer camps and staying with the Ettelson’s off and on through the summer while training for Fargo. Mack and I would see each other around, killing time doing the typical things any 18/19 year old was doing, at places like Club Shagnasty’s in Cedar Falls, hanging out, or golfing/disc golfing with CJ and Charlie, it was always amiable solid hangs at that point. For a brief time there our Senior year I’d say yes we were legit friends. I do recall going to his high school graduation party at the farm just before Highway 20 near the Gilbertville exit and doing more stuff that summer before college. It is hard to wrestle for the same wrestling club for years and not become friends, unless you’re just a difficult person to get along with or you can learn to shut your ego off the mat off lol!

 

When did you first wrestle each other? When you first wrestled against each other, did you know you had someone good, or was it just another guy to you?

Justin Swafford: The first time I ever wrestled him was at the State freestyle tournament in 6th grade, I beat him 6-1. I was told of his success at the AAU state tournament in weight classes below me by my brother at the time, but I was never a wrestler to get too worked up or psyched out by how good another wrestler was – I would focus on going out there and doing my stuff trusting my hard work at practice would pay off.

Mack Reiter:  The first time we ever wrestled was in 6th grade at Freestyle state. Gilbertville and Mediapolis aren’t exactly close so we wouldn’t usually see each other on the Saturday 4 man tournament circuits. The wrestling world is a lot different now then it was back then. There wasn’t Trackwrestling where you could look up someones stats. Amazingly we would almost always win AAU state titles one weight apart, but I didn’t really know a lot about Justin. Obviously that changed quickly because he won the first time we wrestled. 

 

With you being a 4X state champ, you are forever in history as one of the best ever and well deserved… what do you feel the legacy for Justin should be? How should he be remembered?

Mack Reiter: The margin for error at that level is so small. I don’t see any real difference between the career I had up until and through high school and the career Justin had. In some ways, maybe I just got lucky? There is a ton that goes into being a 4 time state champion, but you would be foolish to think that luck isn’t part of it. So in that sense, I wouldn’t say he should be thought of any less than some of the other people we competed with in that era.

 

When you saw Mack at state being inducted to the HOF, were you happy for him? Did part of you want to be up there with him?

Justin Swafford: I was happy for him and it is good for the sport of wrestling. Can’t say it wasn’t painful kind of coming to the realization that I did not accomplish enough at state to ever be voted in myself. I was only a few heart-wrenchingly close losses away from getting similar recognition. I have moments where I can’t help but to think that my rather unsuccessful collegiate career that was riddled with injury, being at the wrong place and some crazy bad luck sealed the deal in terms of me never being mentioned for HOF recognition. The state of Iowa places a lot of emphasis on 4Xers for the HOF. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always my best tournament where I was wrestling my best.

 

With you guys being in different classes, you didn’t meet in HS sanctioned events, but did you follow Justin’s career? His career ended on a discouraging note his senior year… what were your thoughts about that?

Mack Reiter: I know that I followed it when we were going through high school, but I had a way of being extremely selfish through high school. When we would go to Des Moines I didn’t worry about anything other than what I needed to do and what I was doing. And as much as I was only focused on state and winning a state title, as soon as I would accomplish that I would immediately shift focus to nationals. Where can I get qualified for Fargo? What do I need to do to win Cadet/Junior nationals.

 

Mack has made comments here and there about feeling upset with himself for not accomplishing as much as he would have liked to in college… do you think he should feel this way… any words of encouragement?

Justin Swafford: I don’t think he should feel down at all! He’s in the national wrestling HOF and came out his freshman year really proving himself with 40 wins and a 4th place finish. He continued to prove he was a high caliber wrestler that is vital to the Minnesota organization (even today) as a 3x AA, even battling through a knee injury. That’s nothing to feel down about at all. I think I understand his mindset and perfectionism for being one of the best on the mat though. When you have that mindset, the goal is a national NCAA title or world championship and if you fall short it can feel like a death in your life, especially when your goal is that integral to your existence/identity. Best advice I could give Mack as cliche as it might sound is hold your head up and enjoy the success he had in a wrestling program that he really clicked with that took him in as one of their own from the beginning. That’s something special and he should know he is still looked up to among wrestlers in Iowa, Minnesota, and across the nation.

 

Justin has had moments where he has felt ashamed of his career for he felt he underachieved. Do you think he should feel this way? What advice would you give him?

Mack Reiter: I absolutely do not think that he should feel that way. This sport is so dang hard and he accomplished so much in his career. Competing on the stage that he competed on requires so much inner strength and he put it on the line just as much as anyone else.

 

Did you ever follow or hear about Mack’s younger brothers? Was it cool to see their success?

Justin Swafford: Oh yeah! I was not all that surprised to see Bart’s success because I saw him in the wrestling room for freestyle club and I knew that family lived for wrestling – it was cool seeing his success. Eddie was tough too and I enjoyed watching him as well, he had a different style than the other Reiter’s due to his length. I also watched Joe Reiter wrestle Nick Lee in the finals in 1999 while at home with my brothers watching it on IPTV channel 12, and win his title in 2000 and followed his career as well.

 

Justin’s baby brother Brennan developed a nasty cradle and a lot was based on watching your instruction video on YouTube… how does that make you feel?

Mack Reiter: I love that! I spent a lot of time working on my cradle series and I love showing it. I think there are so many small details that get missed to often, but if you do it right it works!

Brennan Swafford (Justin’s Brother): Mack Reiter? Hell yeah. He was a household name for Shea and I growing up with he and Justin’s battles. When I watched his tape/technique clips, he immediately became one of my favorites. A cradle guy like myself appreciates other cradle guys and when someone like Mack Reiter masters it and is willing to show young wrestlers like myself tips on how to do it, it’s awesome, for now my already great cradle has become almost unstoppable.

 

Should Mack be remembered as one of the best ever in Iowa HS history?

Justin Swafford: Absolutely, anyone who puts the hard work and dedication into winning 4 titles deserves to be considered among the best in Iowa History. He had a nearly unstoppable cradle that was rightfully feared by his opponents and made him pretty famous in the state for being a hammer on top.

Mark Swafford: Anyone who doesn’t classify Mack as one of the greatest is just very, very…wrong.  I’ve never seen anyone who I can say with a straight face is a better wrestler than Mack Reiter.

 

With you guys being in different classes, you didn’t meet in HS sanctioned events, but did you follow Mack’s career? Were you happy with him winning 4?

Justin Swafford: Of course, he was another top wrestler my age who I had a rivalry from middle school with. I was happy for him winning 4.  I have had times where I have felt down on myself, because that was the goal I set out to accomplish…which I had to settle for only becoming a 3x finalist and 1x state champion, which was crushing.

Mark Swafford (Justin’s Dad): I was absolutely elated for Mack after he won his 4th title. I saw how good he was and how hard he worked and noone was more deserving.  The fact that Doug Reiter was his father made it even more sweet to see. I will remember all 4 of the Reiter brothers for the great class they showed on the mat as well as their amazing wrestling skills.

 

Any chance we could see a rematch with you and your rival at an old man’s tournament?

Mack Reiter: Ha I don’t think I will be wrestling at an old timers tournament ever! I still wrestle with our guys at PINnacle, but my competitive days are done.

Justin Swafford: Very unlikely, I’m far too out of shape and don’t know how I’d ever get time to train when I’m chasing around my 2 boys and daughter(who is still a 7 month old baby). Might be fun, but I’d have to have the time to fully commit to it, because you know, I’m far too competitive to just fake it haha!

 

If you are to think back on your wrestling career, would it be the same without Justin Swafford in it?

Mack Reiter: I don’t think my career would be the same. I learned a lot from the losses I took in my life and Justin gave me a couple losses when I probably needed them the most.

 

If you are to think back on your wrestling career, would it be the same without Mack Reiter in it?

Justin Swafford: No, it wouldn’t be the same at all. As competitors we sharpened each other, gave each other the first experience of having a top notch wrestler in our sites to beat and a target on our own back. I’d like to think we left an impression on each other.

{ 0 comments }

Gary McCall was a name I heard growing up through my dad and uncles every year at the dinner table during Christmas. Discussion of all things wrestling was an inadvertent family tradition of sorts for the Swaff’s. When they discussed guys they respected and looked up to, it was almost as if they depicted these individuals as larger than life…celebrities, if you will. With that said, whenever I notice that someone I grew up hearing about and looking up to like Gary McCall  joins and interacts on The Pin Doctors social media, it gives me a surreal feeling. I can’t quite pinpoint what that feeling is, but I do know that I love seeing it. And Gary’s presence has been so positive and personable in regards to every topic or individual that is mentioned on The Pin Doctors and I just couldn’t be anymore impressed by how cool he is. On and off the mat, Gary McCall is one of the best wrestlers to go through the state of Iowa. Just an absolutely wonderful person and I’m honored to put this article together for him. 

 

This is a story that I wrote and posted just on Facebook a couple months ago. It chronicles a true story about Gary McCall that could inspire anyone to never give up at anything: 

Here is an inspirational story for ya. In 1984, Gary McCall of Cedar Rapids Washington was beaten in the semifinals at districts, 8-3 by Joe Whitters of Prairie. He needed a break to even qualify for state. To qualify, Gary first had to win his 3rd and 4th place match and hope for Whitters to defeat Rich Deutsch from Cedar Rapids Kennedy to set up a wrestle back match for true 2nd between McCall and Deutsch.

Gary McCall: “Right after the semifinals loss, I thought, ‘oh no, I blew it,’ but I went into the locker room and coach Hal Turner told me to not give up and that I still had a chance.”

And he did get that chance. Whitters defeated Deutsch, 3-2, McCall won his 3rd place match and then defeated Deutsch 4-0 to earn true 2nd and qualify for state.

To make things sweeter, McCall ended up WINNING state that year and then repeated in 1985. He was recruited by Iowa State, who he became a 3X AA for in 1988-1990.

Had McCall hung his head and given up hope at districts, who knows what would have happened with the rest of his career. He wouldn’t have qualified in 1984 to start, Iowa State may not have recruited him, his confidence may have been halted going into the 1985 season and who knows how that could have affected him that year… But things worked out for him due to an optimistic coaching approach by Hal Turner as well as Gary’s ability to be coachable and mentally tough.

So to all of you upcoming wrestlers out there, if you feel that a goal may have become out of reach following a setback, get your chin up, for you never know what could happen. Gary McCall is proof of this.

 

INTERVIEW WITH GARY MCCALL:

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

– CR McKinley Jr High and CR Washington. No clubs. I did work at Lisbon, CR Jefferson and CR Prairie each year in the summer, Xmas break and week of state tourney.

 

What year did you graduate?

– 1985

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

– My older brother Tyrone (5th in state) and my cousins Chuck Jones(2nd & 1st in state) and Glenn Jones (3rd & 1st in state).

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

– I didn’t start competing in wrestling until 6th grade. No rivals.

 

What was your record in HS?

– 72-13

 

How did you place at state every year?

– 9th graders weren’t allowed to wrestle varsity at CR Public Schools back then. Sophomore (State qualifier), Junior (state champ) senior (state champ).

 

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

– Junior yr I was #4 rate in state & #1 seed at districts. Lost in the Semi’s and had to wrestle back for true 2nd, but needed the guy I lost to beat the #2 seed in the finals. Well, he won and I won true 2nd then when on to upset the #1 seed Steve Waddle and defending state champ Mike Guthrie to win the 1984 state title.

Tore both of my groins at the beginning of my sophomore yr @ ISU and had redshirt that year. Then tore them again my senior (126 lb. weight class)after starting the season 13-0, ranked 3rd in the nation, just beat Terry Brands from Iowa at the Wisconsin open. Out for 2 months, then Dan Knight and I decided to switch weights. I went down to 118lbs and he went up to 126. At 118 I lost 13 straight matches, finished the Big 8 in 5th place and made it to NCAA’s on a wildcard (returning 2x all-American). I went into nationals unseeded with a losing record and ended up beating returning all-American Steve Martin(Iowa) 1st rd, then went on to upset #1 seed Jeff Thieler of (NC) in the quarter finals. Lost in the semifinals to Jack Griffith (Northwestern), then wrestled back to Ken Chertow and beat the #1 seed again for 3rd place! At the time it was the 1st time an unseeded wrestler defeated the #1 seed twice at the NCAA’s. It was a great ending to a rough season and to my wrestling career!

 


How would you describe your wrestling style?

– Constant leg attacks with inside tie and moving my opponent’s head. None stop movement on my feet and in the mat.

 

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

– Mike Guthrie (1984) and John Moore (Marshalltown) 1985

 

Who was your most influential coach?

– Ed Banach (college)
– Hal Turner (high school)

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

– High school team was not very competitive.
– In college we competed for National championship every year.

 

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

– My cousins Chuck & Glenn Jones and Nate Carr

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

– Tim Kreiger (Mason City)

 

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

– Steve Hamilton, Eric Akin and Dwight Hinson

 

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

– Barry Davis vs Spencer Lee

 

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

– Mark Schwab Osage
– Tim Kreiger
– Mike Guthrie
– Mike Van Arsdale
– Steve and Dan Knight

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

– David Carr
– Spencer Lee
– David Taylor

 

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

R&B, Hip Hop -Rap, Jazz

 

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

Getting pinned by Jack Griffith in Semifinals of NCAA 1999.

 

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

– I’d change absolutely nothing. My wrestling career made me the man I am today. I learn how use my wrestling experience to succeed in business and in life. Success is not about winning, but about working hard and enjoying the journey.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

-Winning the 1984 state championship!

 

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

– Mark Schwab
– Steve Waddell
– Steve Martin
– Terry and Tom Brands
– Jason Kelber
– Kendall Cross
– Ken Chertow
– JJ Stokes (NC State)
– Jim Martin (Penn State)
– Duane Martin (UNI)

 

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

– During the season and Spring and Summer only.

 

When you were a Junior in HS, you had a scare at districts to where you were almost eliminated and almost didn’t get the chance to wrestle at state. But you overcame that and then WON state a couple weeks later. Describe this experience. Do you i think if you didn’t qualify that it may have affected the next year for you in terms of confidence?

– It was crazy. We had 4 guys at my weight that were ranked or was ranked that year in our districts. Joe Whittier was my toughest competitor that year and he was seed 4th. It was probably 2nd most devastating loss of my career. I remember my coach telling after my loss to just focus on the things I can control and dominate your next opponent and cheer like hell for Joe! Joe was probably the 3rd toughest opponent I wrestled that year. He was big and tall and could ride and turn you. But I think he was cutting too much weight for 112. If I would’ve not qualified for state think it would have made me work even harder. But I never look back at things like that. I’m a man of faith and things happen for a reason.

 

How do we make the sport of wrestling more appealing to the African American community?

– Growing up I never saw wrestling as a black/white thing. I saw it as an opportunity to compete thing. If my cousin didn’t wrestle and if Jane Boyd Community Center in CR didn’t provide me the opportunity as a kid to try it, I don’t think I would have considered wrestling. I feel local youth clubs have a responsibility to reach outside their comfort zone and into the minority and financially disadvantaged communities and introduce them to our sport. They will find out it will make there entire club and community better.

 

Akeem Carter mentioned something interesting to me that he experienced more racism in his life before he got into wrestling…. And when he became a part of a wrestling team, it was the first time he felt a sense of unity amongst everyone on the team regardless of culture. Have you had any similar experiences? Do you feel wrestling is a good sport to promote peace?

– OMG! I agree with him. I learned so much about life being apart of a wrestling team. As a team you sacrifice so much together that you learn to appreciate one another just for who they are and not what color they are, what they wear, etc. You become a band of brothers who come from different communities and experiences.  Like I said earlier, wrestling helped mold me into the man I am today!

 

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

-Very well. When it come to winning it’s still the basic techniques that win you championships!

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

– I had a full ride scholarship at LSU, but they dropped wrestling before I was able to attend. So I followed Kevin Jackson to ISU. 3-x All-American and Team Captain.

 

What other sports did you play?

– Football and track.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

College Sports – ISU and Alabama
Pro level – Cowboys, Laker, Cubs, Yankees

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

– Some include; fitness training, biking, going to sporting events and traveling.

 

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

It is a great feeling. I owe the sport of wrestling a lot and I love sharing it with young people.

 

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

It taught me how to set goals. Work ethic. Over come adversity. Help others.

 

What do you do now?

I’m a salesman for RMH Systems. I sell Robots automation and material handling equipment 28 years.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

I’m not currently coaching (but hoping to this year). I’m on the Board of Cyclones RTC wrestling club.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

– Dream big! Set you goals high! Come to practice ready to work and learn! And be a good teammate!
– Also learn to use what you’ve learned from wrestling in your daily life, not only for your self but help others.

 

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

– Absolutely not! 😂😂

 

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

– The cousins Chuck & Glynn Jones & my brother Tyrone for introducing me to wrestling.
– Mark Schwab, Mike Guthrie (RIP), Steve Waddell, John Moore, Kevin Tann, Jason Kelber, Kendall Cross, Tom&Terry Brands, Dan & Steve Knight, and Jeff Gibbons.
– All my CR Wash and ISU teammates!
– High school coaches Hal Turner and Dick Briggs
– ISU coaches Les Anderson (RIP), Ed Banach & Jim Gibbons
– My ISU big brothers Kevin Jackson, Stewart Carter, Bill Tate, Larry Jackson, Michael Carr and Mike Van Arsdale.
– my Mom (RIP) who helped instill in me that “You can achieve all things through Christ, who strengthens me”.❤️

 

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

– I was assistant high wrestling coach at 3 different IA high schools: DM East for Larry Jackson, CB Lewis Central for Keith Massey (Part of 2 state championship team and State Assistant Coach of the Year), DM Saydel for John Crippen and Jon Garvin. Helped TJ Moen become the 1st and only 2x State Champ in Saydel history.

– Made a rap song for one of my Saydel wrestlers, Nate Jones, to get him to loosen up before competitions! 😂😂😂

{ 2 comments }


If you haven’t read Part 1 to this story (Josh Budke Weighs In), you can do so by clicking here: “Inside The Rivalry, Josh Budke vs. Jesse West Part 1: The Josh Budke Perspective.”

Jesse West transferred to Iowa City High, from Kansas for his Senior season in 1997. Back then, wrestlers transferring from out of state in to Iowa was not a common occurrence and it ruffled Iowa HS wrestling fans’ feathers badly when it did happen. On the rare occurrence that this did happen at the time, fans became upset because they would perceive it as either a coach cheating by actively recruiting or they’d perceive it as if the transfer wrestler was there because they had some sort of ax to grind with Iowa wrestling. In the case of Jesse West the fans perceived his transfer in both of those ways and despite the narrative that seemed to be collectively pitched by the Iowa HS wrestling fan base, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact it was quite the opposite. Jesse West possessed an abundance of competitive fire and a desire to always improve. He felt that in order to get himself to the highest level he could, he had to work out with who he considered the best wrestlers around, which in his opinion at the time, you found the toughest guys to compare with in Iowa. Jesse had a high opinion of the passion and mental approach to wrestling that was consistently displayed in Iowa. He developed this perception whenever  he’d encounter an Iowan wrestler on the national scene or by watching interviews and inspirational speeches from the state of Iowa’s own legend, Dan Gable.  These encounters and observations were proof to him that Iowa was where he belonged, for these were people that he could relate to. He moved to Iowa because he respected the Iowa wrestling scene and wanted to be part of it.

Unfortunately, when Jesse arrived, he quickly found out that Iowa’s wrestling community did not hold him in the same high regard as he held Iowa. In fact, he was treated like a villain…and the Iowa fans did not hold back when it came to ensuring he knew they felt that way about him. Frankly,  Jesse West was treated like crap when he moved here by seemingly everyone who wasn’t from his own wrestling community of Iowa City High. And this was noticeable by most everyone in his season-long rivalry vs. Josh Budke, from Cedar Falls.

Here is a side of the Josh Budke vs. Jesse West rivalry that has, until now, been unheard. This is the Jesse West perspective!

 

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

Flint Hills Wrestling Club, Emporia Kids Wrestling Club, East Kansas Freestyle/Greco, Emporia High School, Iowa City High School, Iowa State University, University of Missouri

 

 

What year did you graduate?

1997

 

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My mother.

 

 

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

My uncle wrestled and had some decent success, I think my dad was a state placer also.

 

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I won more than I lost, 4 or 5 x youth state champ,  some great rivalries and kids (Robbie Rogers, Nathan Lawrenz, Jason Blanding, Trent Stefec, Robbie wrestled for Brown, and Nate went to UNI

 

 

What was your record in HS?

142 – 5

 

 

How did you place at state every year?

1-1-2-2

 

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

There always seemed to be someone telling me I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t achieve something, so I learned how to focus on what was in front of me, and I usually had a chip on my shoulder.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Aggressive – I like being aggressive, attacking, constant pressure.  I like scoring points!

 

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

In high school there were only 3 kids who beat me.  Beau Vest, who beat me twice my freshman year both times the score was 3-2, I beat him convincingly in the state finals that year.  He had not lost a high school match until then.  The freshman from Dodge City who beat me in the finals my junior year, I beat him 17-0 a month before the state tournament.  I am pretty sure I teched him in some freestyle events as well.  And then there was Josh Budke.  I beat Josh 3 times in the regular season, I think I beat him twice in the preseason, he beat me once in the state finals.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

My most influential coaches would be Brad Smith and Bobby Douglas.  Both were phenomenal.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

Yes.

 

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

Eric Akin changed my life when I was 14.  I could have listed him as a coach, but it was different.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Jeff McGinness  – Brad Smith did tell me that I was the best HS wrestler he ever coached.

 

When you decided to make the move to Iowa  your senior year, how did you perceive the wrestling atmosphere compared to Kansas?

Iowa is the mecca of wrestling.  The fans in Iowa are awesome! They are passionate about wrestling and knowledgeable.  I bet you can’t throw a rock and not hit a national champ.

 

Was the Iowa fan reception to you positive, negative or mixed?

I was the most hated man in the state of Iowa for a year!  Iowa City was awesome, and very welcoming.  All of this made for a cool, unique senior year.

 

How awesome was it wrestling for Brad Smith the year you did?

Pretty F’n Awesome! I love Brad Smith.  He is the epitome of cool, treats you like you’re his best friend, would do anything he could (twice) to help someone.  One of the best pure athletes to walk the earth.

 

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

I tried to emulate and imitate many, but I doubt anyone was copying me.  I watch a lot of kids today that I wish I could wrestle like.

 

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

David Kjeldgaard – he was a beast… Budke … Justin Holdgrafer, Cory Connell…

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Yanni, Fix, Spencer Lee, all the senior level freestyle athletes.

 

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

Metallica, Notorious B.I.G, Tracy Chapman, Dave Mathews, Dr. Dre, Stone Temple Pilots,

 

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

I was really pissed after I lost my junior year in the finals.  Yeah, that one stung.

 

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

Nothing.  I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of bad choices, but that is how you learn and get better.  Take your lumps and your lessons and keep moving forward.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was being named the freshman with the hardest work ethic at Iowa State U.  There were a lot of good freshman that year.

My best memory is getting home from the state tournament after my freshman year, and all of my non wrestling friends were at my house with a lot of toilet paper, and streamers!

 

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

Stephen Abas, Teague Moore, Josh Budke, Silverstein, Jeremy Hunter.

 

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

I loved freestyle.  If I have one regret it is not finding Freestyle sooner.

 

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

The technical level is through the roof right now!  But these kids have guys from my day training them! There are only a few Brad Smith’s out there, but I think the level of coaching, training, all of it has gotten better.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Yes. Iowa State.

 

What other sports did you play?

Soccer, baseball.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, K.C. Chiefs, Chelsea FC

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Hiking, Gardening, Climbing, Boating

 

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

I think the sport is still giving to me!!

 

What do you do now?

Operations Management.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yes.  I run a youth club, a Freestyle/Greco club, and I Officiate Freestyle/Greco

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Work Harder… the answer is always WORK HARDER!!!

 

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

Maybe

 

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

Tony Brown, Paul Myers, Erik Akin, Brad Smith, CT Campbell, Jamie Sauder, so many people… I could probably start listing names and it would take up 10 pages.


What are some of your general thoughts about your Josh and the rivalry you had with this person?

I didn’t know Josh… He was a tough kid who wanted the same thing I did… tough matches…

 

When did you first wrestle him? How long did the rivalry last?

The first time I wrestled him was probably in the Hawkeye wrestling room September of 1997, I think the rivalry ended in Des Moines in Feb. of ’97.

 

When you first wrestled against each other, did you know you had someone good, or was it just another guy to you?

I expected everyone to be tough in the Hawk Club, but you always know when you grab a hold of someone that knows what’s up.

 

Out of all the guys you had ongoing competition with, where does Josh rank as far as signicance to your career? Was he one of your biggest rivals?

Josh was a tough S.O.B., one of the toughest guys I’ve wrestled.

 

Would you consider the rivalry friendly or heated?

It wasn’t friendly, but was never personal, I did enjoy beating him though.  But he was one of those guys, that when you beat them, you felt like you did something that day.

 

When you practiced, did you have times where you were practicing to beat Josh Budke or was it always just to win state and take  one  match at a time?

I don’t remember ever practicing to beat someone specific in High School ever… I’m sure Josh exposed some weaknesses that we would see on tape and try to improve on though…

 

Do you remember wrestling vs. Josh in  practice?

Nothing specific, but if he took me down, then I bet the rest of that practice was not very fun for him.

 

How confident were you coming in to each match? Did you ever have to battle any nerves when you wrestled him?

Nerves were never my thing… Normal pre-match butterflies before big matches…Always confident, knew I was going to win.

 

What was the best/closest match you and Josh had?

They were all close.  My favorite was beating him in the dual at Cedar Falls.  Standing room only, then half the crowd left after 125!!! That was pretty cool.

 

What was your game plan against him each match?

Win.

 

Do you know Josh off the mat?

Nope

 

Did you respect Josh’s wrestling skills?

Yes

 

Who were some other talented IA opponents you faced?

Bob Koenig, Kentral Galloway, I think I wrestled Juergens my freshman year of college, I probably left out several names…

 

What is your take on how the Iowa HS wrestling fans perceived and  treated you?

The Iowa High School wrestling fans did not want me to be successful… I was an outsider that was a legitimate threat to dethrone a golden boy of Iowa wrestling.  It got built into a KS Vs IA thing, and I just wanted to wrestle, prove myself against the best.

 

Do you regret the one year you spent in Iowa HS and would you change it if you could?

No regrets, wouldn’t change a thing

 

How did you feel when you won?

Like I did my job, I take pride in a job well done.

 

How did you feel when you lost?

Losing is one of the worst feelings on the planet… I do not like losing… at all… at anything…

 

If you are to ponder on your wrestling career, would it be the same without Josh  Budke in it?

No, he’s definitely a part of my story.

 

Any chance we could see a rematch with you and Josh at an old timers tournament?

I’ll do it tomorrow!  Neutral Ground… Lisbon High School!!!

{ 0 comments }

Payton Rice was born into some pretty hefty wrestling expectations. This goes without saying when your father is 3X state champion and maybe the closest 3Xer ever to being a 4X state champion, Stacey Rice of Storm Lake. Not to mention, his grandpa, Steve Rice was a 3X placer/2X finalist/1X State Champ himself.  Payton, by my standards, lived up to those hefty expectations. He was a 4X state placer who made the finals 1 year and placed in the top 3 at state 2 years and was right in the thick of some absolute savages for competition. And he was right there…every year.

The Rice family is one of Iowa HS wrestling’s greatest wrestling families. They definitely make Western Iowa wrestling proud. And he continues to give back to the sport by coaching…Check out his story, it’s a good one!

 

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

Wolf Pack (Alta), Sioux Central, Manson in high school and Upper Iowa in college

 

What year did you graduate?

2014

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

Family I guess but was just something I grew up around and loved on my own

 

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

Steve Rice (Grandpa) – DNQ, 1st, 2nd, 4th
Stacey Rice (Dad) – 1st, 5th, 1st, 1st
Skyler Rice (Uncle)- 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd
Chance Rice (Brother)- DNQ, SQ, DNQ, SQ

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I won 3 state titles and 2 national titles. The 2 rivals that come to mind are Dougie Miner from Spirit Lake and Kyler Kiner from Ogden.

 

What was your record in HS?

180-16

 

How did you place at state every year?

6th, 2nd, 5th and 3rd

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Attacking with some funk…if you hadn’t seen me wrestle before, I could pin you quick and score in bunches but along with that came growing pains of taking unwarranted risks trying to score and giving up falls in matches I should have won otherwise.

 

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

The only one I had an opportunity to beat after they beat me was Ryan Hall from Jesup. My freshman year I was up 4 in the 3rd period and gave up a throw to lose by 1 which knocked me to 5th/6th. My sophomore year I wrestled him in the semifinals and pulled out a tight 5-4 decision.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

My dad was and is always in my corner.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

High school – we qualified for state duals my freshman year but fell at regionals every year after to Don Bosco my sophomore year and Clarion Goldfield my junior, senior year.

College – placed 4th if I remember right at national duals my only year there.

 

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

Richie Thacker from Sioux Central now AD at Eagle Grove.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Brandon Sorensen if I’m not bias and pick my dad.

 

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

From my feet definitely my dad, but my best position was top which is more comparable to Spencer Lee style wise…obviously not to his level but I ran those types of tilts.

 

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

I loved watching the guys I grew up wrestling with like: Kyler Kiner, Thomas Gilman, Cash Wilcke, Brandon Sorensen.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

All my West Benders.

 

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

After my semifinals loses my junior, senior year.

 

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

I’d love to say I won a title, but only if it didn’t change where I’m at today.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

My favorite memories are definitely with my teammates and athletes I coach! Too many to list, but the one that stands out the most is after qualifying for my sophomore year for state my workout partner, Caleb Smothers, chanting “Roommates! Roommates! Roommates!” as I walked off the mat.

 

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

Logan Mulnix in the finals my sophomore year and Montel Marion at Corn Cob after my freshman year of college.

 

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

All year around.

 

How would you in your prime do against your dad in his  prime?

Not even close! Easy tech in the first, lol!

 

With your dad being Stacey, what was it like growing up  as one of Iowa HS Wrestling’s all-time greats?

Honestly didn’t feel it much…I put more pressure on myself to be the best I could be than trying to out do him.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

1 year at Upper Iowa.

 

What other sports did you play?

Football was my only other sport.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

Minnesota Vikings

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Coaching wrestling and being with the family.

 

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

Awesome! Nothing better than helping great young men attempt to achieve their goals.

 

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

Made me mentally strong. Not to many things bother me when I have a full tummy, lol!

 

What do you do now?

Correctional officer.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Head coach at West Bend-Mallard.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

It’s not an easy road but embrace the grind and enjoy the little things it goes by fast.

 

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

Nope my competition days are over unless you talk to my wrestlers they still try to push me to go.

{ 0 comments }

Jesse West! I won’t lie, I am straight-up proud to put this one together. This is the first of 2 articles coming from Jesse. The second one will be an “Inside The Rivalry” article and will include his take on his rivalry with Josh Budke from Cedar Falls.

The thing that makes me most proud of this one is the fact of that when he wrestled in Iowa the one year he did, a large percentage of fans actively rooted against him because they didn’t approve of the fact that he was a transfer from Kansas.  This was back when this wasn’t a common thing. These guys were treated 10X worse back then. I feel that time had probably healed things with most who didn’t approve of him wrestling and our state and he has been kind enough to give us a second chance at getting to know Jesse West, the person.  Because to be honest, the state of Iowa more or less collectively refused to get to know him when he was here.  I was 14 at the time and I was certainly caught up in the villainization of him, which I regret now, for now I’ve met him and interacted with him a few times and he’s one of the nicest, down to earth and coolest people I’ve met in a long time.  PLUS! He’s a fan of the Cardinals, KC Chiefs  AND the Stone Temple Pilots…In which, In obsessed with all 3 of those as is the rest of my family. 

Here was an essay I wrote in the Intro to the Inside The Rivalry article: 

A rather big storyline of the 1997 Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament was a highly anticipated 3A 130 lb. finals match with Iowa City High Senior, Jesse West and Cedar Falls Senior, Josh Budke.. Budke was not only the returning state champion, but he had won it the previous two years coming into that tournament. However, West was also a returning state champion and had beaten Budke 3 times over the course of the regular season. This provoked collective and mostly shared feelings of anger amongst wrestling fans across the state of Iowa, for West wasn’t Iowa’s returning state champ….he was a transfer from Kansas. These days, people don’t get as worked up as they used to about guys who moved into the state or transferred there, but back in 1997, the act of someone transferring for wrestling seemed like such an uncommon, foreign idea that the transfers weren’t treated like the rest of the Iowan wrestlers by the general spectators, but treated like…well, foreigners. With Jesse West, some people were so dramatic about it that it was like we were being invaded by the evil Russian from Rocky 4, Ivan Drago and it gave a lot of people who weren’t used to it a feeling of, “why did THAT GUY move to OUR state to compete in OUR sport! He must be booed!!!” People got ugly with it. Transfers received very cold unwelcomes back then and in retrospect, it wasn’t fair to them. Not to sound holier than thou, for I have been guilty of being overly unwelcoming of transfers myself until about 5-6 years ago, when something that changed my mind about it. 

 

 

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

Flint Hills Wrestling Club, Emporia Kids Wrestling Club, East Kansas Freestyle/Greco, Emporia High School, Iowa City High School, Iowa State University, University of Missouri

 

 

What year did you graduate?

1997

 

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My mother.

 

 

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

My uncle wrestled and had some decent success, I think my dad was a state placer also.

 

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I won more than I lost, 4 or 5 x youth state champ,  some great rivalries and kids (Robbie Rogers, Nathan Lawrenz, Jason Blanding, Trent Stefec, Robbie wrestled for Brown, and Nate went to UNI

 

 

What was your record in HS?

142 – 5

 

 

How did you place at state every year?

1-1-2-2

 

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

There always seemed to be someone telling me I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t achieve something, so I learned how to focus on what was in front of me, and I usually had a chip on my shoulder.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Aggressive – I like being aggressive, attacking, constant pressure.  I like scoring points!

 

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

In high school there were only 3 kids who beat me.  Beau Vest, who beat me twice my freshman year both times the score was 3-2, I beat him convincingly in the state finals that year.  He had not lost a high school match until then.  The freshman from Dodge City who beat me in the finals my junior year, I beat him 17-0 a month before the state tournament.  I am pretty sure I teched him in some freestyle events as well.  And then there was Josh Budke.  I beat Josh 3 times in the regular season, I think I beat him twice in the preseason, he beat me once in the state finals.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

My most influential coaches would be Brad Smith and Bobby Douglas.  Both were phenomenal.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

Yes.

 

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

Eric Akin changed my life when I was 14.  I could have listed him as a coach, but it was different.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Jeff McGinness  – Brad Smith did tell me that I was the best HS wrestler he ever coached.

 

When you decided to make the move to Iowa  your senior year, how did you perceive the wrestling atmosphere compared to Kansas?

Iowa is the mecca of wrestling.  The fans in Iowa are awesome! They are passionate about wrestling and knowledgeable.  I bet you can’t throw a rock and not hit a national champ.

 

Was the Iowa fan reception to you positive, negative or mixed?

I was the most hated man in the state of Iowa for a year!  Iowa City was awesome, and very welcoming.  All of this made for a cool, unique senior year.

 

How awesome was it wrestling for Brad Smith the year you did?

Pretty F’n Awesome! I love Brad Smith.  He is the epitome of cool, treats you like you’re his best friend, would do anything he could (twice) to help someone.  One of the best pure athletes to walk the earth.

 

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

I tried to emulate and imitate many, but I doubt anyone was copying me.  I watch a lot of kids today that I wish I could wrestle like.

 

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

David Kjeldgaard – he was a beast… Budke … Justin Holdgrafer, Cory Connell…

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Yanni, Fix, Spencer Lee, all the senior level freestyle athletes.

 

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

Metallica, Notorious B.I.G, Tracy Chapman, Dave Mathews, Dr. Dre, Stone Temple Pilots,

 

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

I was really pissed after I lost my junior year in the finals.  Yeah, that one stung.

 

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

Nothing.  I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of bad choices, but that is how you learn and get better.  Take your lumps and your lessons and keep moving forward.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was being named the freshman with the hardest work ethic at Iowa State U.  There were a lot of good freshman that year.

My best memory is getting home from the state tournament after my freshman year, and all of my non wrestling friends were at my house with a lot of toilet paper, and streamers!

 

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

Stephen Abas, Teague Moore, Josh Budke, Silverstein, Jeremy Hunter.

 

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

I loved freestyle.  If I have one regret it is not finding Freestyle sooner.

 

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

The technical level is through the roof right now!  But these kids have guys from my day training them! There are only a few Brad Smith’s out there, but I think the level of coaching, training, all of it has gotten better.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

Yes. Iowa State.

 

What other sports did you play?

Soccer, baseball.

 

What are your favorite sports teams?

St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, K.C. Chiefs, Chelsea FC

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Hiking, Gardening, Climbing, Boating

 

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

I think the sport is still giving to me!!

 

What do you do now?

Operations Management.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

Yes.  I run a youth club, a Freestyle/Greco club, and I Officiate Freestyle/Greco

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Work Harder… the answer is always WORK HARDER!!!

 

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

Maybe

 

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

Tony Brown, Paul Myers, Erik Akin, Brad Smith, CT Campbell, Jamie Sauder, so many people… I could probably start listing names and it would take up 10 pages.

{ 1 comment }
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)