When I was a Sophomore in high school, a guy who ended up becoming one of my best friends moved to Mepo. His name is Kirk Whipple. His dad was a former wrestling standout, coach, official, etc. and he occupied the Superintendent position at our school. If you didn’t have the experience of having a superintendent who was a huge wrestling advocate/fan, then trust me, you missed out. The Whipple’s are great. They came to Mepo from Nodaway Valley and from the moment I first met Kirk, he filled me in on some of the talent in their former area, mostly Creston and Nodaway Valley guys like Mario Galanakis, Adam Benton, Chris Loudon, Chris and Cody Downing, Willie Harris, the Hayes family, etc. Some of the Hayes’s from Creston that I am aware of consist of Andrew, Jake, Beau, Boone and Dan… I am sure there are more, but these guys alone compiled multiple state championships and place finishes if you accumulate them all…All of these guys were very good. Kirk told me to follow Boone Hayes and what he did on the mat, so I did… Kirk was not exaggerating about these guys. I met Boone after a big win that I had at the Fort Madison Tri-State tourney a couple weeks after my Senior season concluded and he was a very nice guy as well and it was cool to catch up with him for this article.
On a side note, I’m glad we never got into any heated scrapes with this Creston bunch. Very respectful people when I’ve spoken to them, but I always got the impression that they were be a very tough, “walk the walk” type of crew if they felt disrespected. This is the first of 3 Creston guys I have completed these articles for and if all goes as I’d like them to, I’ll cover them all!
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My dad got me into wrestling.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
My older brother, Beau Hayes, my dad, Dan Hayes, my cousins; Manolis and Mario Galanakis, my cousins Jake Hayes and Andrew Hayes.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
Placed at nationals couple times as a kid. As a kid Bryce Carruthers was my biggest rival. I never beat him in an actual match, but after high school, he came down and partied with me and we had a wrestling mat in our garage and I got the best of him.
What was your record in HS?
High school record was 147-26 with 107 pins.
How did you do at state?
Placed every year 4-5-4-3.
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
My cuz, Manolis Galanakis’s death my Jr year was right before Districts. I wrestled even though it bothered me. My whole world was crushed. Not only was he my cuz, but my best friend.
Who was your most influential coach?
Best coaches for me I would say were Jer Osgood, Dennis Smith, Darrel Frain and my dad.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
I looked up to a lot of Iowa wrestlers. Tom and l Terry Brands, Mile Mena, Lincoln McLlravy, etc.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
My favorite current wrestlers are Spencer Lee, Desanto, The Bull (Marinelli), Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder, Zahid Valencia, David Taylor, Kyle Dake and JO.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
We should have won state my senior year. If me and my Friend Chris Downing didn’t fall on our faces, we would have.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
My senior year after I lost in semis. I still feel I got screwed, but it us what it is.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
If I could change anything it would be to work harder and listen to my Dad and coaches more. I feel like I didn’t accomplish what I wanted too.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
Most notable competitors were Brett Ray, Justin Hanson, Aaron Conway and Tobyn Ward. Fiercest competitior would be Aaron Conway or Justin Hanson.
How do you think your era would stack up against the guys in today’s era?
I think wrestling has gone downhill in the state of Iowa. When I wrestled we placed top 6 not top 8.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Yes, I wrestled freestyle in the off-season.
Did you wrestle after high school?
I wrestled at Ellsworth first semester. I wish I would have stuck it out.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
My style in wrestling was to have great balance and implement a lot of funk. I had great hips and could scramble.
What other sports did you play?
I ran cross country .
Did you have good practice partners to help push you in the room?
My practice partner, Stoney Stuart was a great practice partner. Also, Tyler Lindeman.
What are your favorite sports teams?
My favorite sports teams are Iowa Hawkeyes football and wrestling.
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
Hobbies include wood-working, fishing, playing pool, spending time with my two girls, etc.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Wrestling did great things for me. It taught me to never give up and that sometimes you do not get what you want, but you can learn from it.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
Not as much as I should be.
What do you do now?
I am a carpenter now.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
Practice hard everyday. Matches are won in the practice room. Also, listen to your coaches.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
No I hung to the shoes.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
I’d like to give a shout out too all my coaches. Thank you for your time and your energy.