Damon Loyd is the first state champion that I knew who they were when they won it. It was the first time I was able to make sense of what a “state champion in wrestling” actually was. And he was a New London guy, not a Mepo guy. The reason it stuck out to me was because my dad used to take my brother and I to watch New London practice. I remember my dad in his tiny little gym shorts, working out with him and Shane Arnold. Loyd is the first person who I ever connected the dots with when it came to hard work, dedication and goals reached. It was very cool. And to this day, Loyd has remained a staple for New London wrestling. His name is more or less synonymous with New London wrestling. His son was a very accomplished wrestler for them and is still doing his thing at the NAIA level for Grand View. Simply put, New London wrestling would not be New London wrestling as it is known today if it weren’t for the Loyd’s.
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
I had two older brothers, Dewey and Darrin that were doing it at the grade school level, so I pestered my father when I was in kindergarten to let me do it as well. I bugged him until he said, “ok go get your butt kicked.” That I did & got it kicked a lot!!
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
Son: Samuel 2018. State Runner-up 2016 4th @State 2018. Currently wrestling at Grand View University.
Brother: Dewey 1985 District Qualifier.
Brother: Darrin 1988 State Qualifier
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
I’m old and didn’t have all this AAU and USA stuff back then. (HaHa) But had plenty of rivals that I wrestled a ton. Our big tourney back then was the Bettendorf Bi-State tourney. Rivals were Damon Malcom from Mepo, the Lozano twins from Fort Madison and David Beik from Burlington. Not to mention the rivals I had in my own room which were kids I wanted to be as good as or beat everyday. Jeremy Bitting, Shane Arnold, Scott Farris. I could sit here and name names all day..
What was your record in HS?
How did you place at state every year?
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Most memorable would have to be my Jr. year heading into the State tourney ranked #1 and undefeated and getting knocked out literally in the qtrs. I tucked to granby out of a TD and the guy from Turkey Valley lost control and I fell and landed on the back of my head and neck. Out cold…woke up at the ER. The worst thing my Dad ever said to me in all the years of wrestling was in the ER when I woke up. He was there and said “I don’t care if you ever wrestle again.” Well of course it just drove me, cause not only concussed, but the kid lost next round, so I was done anyway. Worked out fine, though. It just drove me all the way to a State Title and a 41-1 record my Sr. year.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
I was a legger, underhooks and high crotch guy. Learned to leg out at Estes Park Colorado at camp. Liked it, learned it and it became my go to. Loved it cause it punished people. Put pressure and pain on their neck and hip which eventually led to pins.
Who was your most influential coach?
I would have to say my first youth Coach Bob Ensminger, because when I started down at the YMCA in Burlington, I was terrible. Bob stuck with me and taught me the basics and taught me to love the sport that I still love to this day. My HS Coaches, Chiri and Swaff…well they’ve been doing it forever now, so apparently they know what they are doing. Swaff really pushed me my Sr. year to get me physically and mentally where I needed to be.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
As discussed above, Jr. year quarterfinals. Sr. year, my lone loss to Neamia Simms in the finals of the Quincy tourney. I lost 5-7. A good loss though for it really got me to another level for the final push at the end of the year in the practice room.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
Yeah, except for when we wrestled Coach Siegel and Morning Sun.. Competitive duals with standing room only and a ton of fun. I believe we only beat Siegel once in a dual my HS career.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
John Carpenter, NL’s 1st State Champ. 1st State tourney I ever went to was to watch Mike Hanson in the state finals, and of course my brothers Dewey and Darrin. I always wanted to do what they did or try to be as good or better.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
That would have to be my son Samuel Loyd who is in his Sophomore year of college at Grand View and is wrestling 141. I also love seeing the SEI boys at the next level when I am at opens cheering on Samuel. This would include the Swafford boys Shea & Brennan, Bryce Esmoil, etc. I will always be rooting for them since they are from our area. That’s what it’s all about.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Not a thing. My experiences made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What was your best wrestling memory/accomplishment? How hard did you work?
Watching my own son become who he is within the sport of wrestling. Would have never guessed he would be wrestling in college. His work ethic is insane and he teaches me new stuff all the time. Love the kid !!
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
Damon Malcom- Mepo
Donnie Orr- Columbus Jct.
Savage brothers from Morning Sun
Everyday in my practice room against my teammates.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Went to camps in the Summer.
Did you wrestle after high school?
What other sports did you play?
What are your hobbies?
Coaching Wrestling & Softball.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Made me who I am. Love the sport & what it teaches the athletes.
What do you do now?
Maintenance at a factory and volunteer coach wrestling at Notre Dame with Coach Plein.