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Remember the Wrestler: Frank Marchant, Humbodt

Frank Marchant is from the opposite side of the state as me, 4 years older and he always stuck out to me for a few reasons. For one, he defeated one of our local standouts, Rob Hoback from Columbus Jct. in the state finals when Hoback was a Junior. Hoback went on to win state the following year. However, I also remembered him all these years for this: After he won his finals match, he jumped higher and further into his corner than I’ve ever seen anyone do. I mean, he looked like a “Battle Toad” from Nintendo. IIt looked as if he were a rock star, crowd surfing via jumping off the stage. The stage in this scenario though was a wrestling mat, but Marchant was able to jump high enough to make up for the platform and the crowd being at an equal level. I always figured that he HAD to be extremely athletic. And he had a mohawk haircut that year, I believe… This dude was fun to watch, even if you didn’t know him or anyone who knew him. After getting to know him a bit, he is every bit as wise, insightful and entertaining off the mat as he was on it. Great dude and anyone can put some of his insight to good use if they choose to do so.


Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

– Our Junior high coach, Larry Leibold is who I remember being relentless with me as far as talking me into giving it a try… He is an outstanding coach and human being. I believe he is in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame as well..


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

-I have an uncle, Dana Long that wrestled in the “Joe Fitch” era and, in my opinion would probably be at the very top of wins, state championships, etc. for Humboldt, but ended up getting a very bad staph infection that almost killed him and ended his wrestling career.


What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

-I didn’t go out for wrestling until eighth grade so I didn’t have all the accolades some of the other kids had…I ended up breaking my hand the weekend before my first wrestling meet horsing around with friends…I stayed true to my coach and ran halls and what-not during the season and I believe ended it at something like 4-1.


What was your record in HS?

– I am not huge on keeping track of stats, but I believe it was 126-20…we didn’t wrestle all that many matches back then.


How did you place at state every year?

– I was a match from the the top six as a sophomore, placed 4th as a Junior and went undefeated and won state as a senior…


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

-There were many challenges, and that’s why this sport is the greatest at teaching and shaping the values needed to succeed and overcome obstacles in life that will come…

For me personally, it would be my senior year…I set one goal, and that was to be undefeated, plain and simple… I ended up hyper-extending my elbow in the conference finals against a great competitor named Mike Fertig who was a state finalist the year prior…The biggest challenge on top of it would be getting strep throat and some other things two days prior to the state tournament. What it taught me is that your mind can overcome any illness for six minutes…our mind is 300% stronger than our bodies if you just tap into it and let it go to work…


How would you describe your wrestling style?

Man, I don’t know…..I guess it would be just RELENTLESS!!!


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

-Now you are making me think…I ended up avenging most losses as I got older, but the ones I didn’t or didn’t have the opportunity to avenge still stick with me a bit for some reason….Doug Schwab, Luke Moffitt, Mark Rial, Nick Mitchell….pretty sure Moffitt owns like 5 of my losses from my sophomore year…lol…..All phenomenal competitiors and all are still involved in the sport and are top level coaches….


Who was your most influential coach?

That’s a hard one ….Ron Wasoba was my head coach and he was a great, inspirational coach. Kevin Tellier was the assistant at that time but was instrumental in shaping me in who I am today. Through circumstance I took to Kevin like a father and still hold that bond and will forever…


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

-Without a doubt it would be Jamie Heidt…In high school we kinda had the same upbringing and he more or less took me under his wing…His advice to me while growing up was invaluable at that time…I respected (still do to this day) his opinion and take his advice to the max. Jamie and I both moved to Minnesota and to the same area unknowingly just a few weeks apart in 2003. Long story short is that he got involved in the Kasson Mantorville wrestling program and I joined in eventually as well. In  my opinion, Jamie is one of the best high school wrestling coaches in the nation and I feel privileged to have been a part of it all.

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

-I love watching Spencer Lee from the Iowa Hawkeyes…His ability to score points and get the job done is phenomenal. Another is a best friend and like a son to me and that is Patrick Kennedy. He is in the same grade as my oldest daughter, so we have grown up together and become very good friends the last several years. To me, to be successful in this sport you have to be coachable. Whether that is on the mat or just in life in general. Every single day, you have to be open minded and learn something. I have had the opportunity to coach under Heidt, be around some of the best High School wrestlers in the nation and learn from them.  It is amazing to see kids come in with a mindset that they want to win a world title…not just a state title, but world and Olympic medals…This is all coming from a small community in SE Minnesota…To me that is invaluable as a person and coach to see and understand the thinking and dedication that it truly takes to be at the top of the world in our sport.


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

I liked to listen to a variety..Tom Petty, Golden Earring, George Strait, Garth Brooks.


What was the most upset you felt after a loss?

-Probably the 1996 state quarterfinals where I got beat by Ben Scorpil. Close high scoring match and it prevented me the opportunity to wrestle Doug Schwab again.  I wrestled Doug in the finals of a tournament that year and got beat by decision.  The match wasn’t close, in my opinion and he dominated me in every category.  I actually kept that match in my head and tried to replicate that style my senior year. I remember him just being relentless and I couldn’t keep his pace and got my tail whipped. In a weird way, I looked up to him as well even after getting beat up bit, lol!


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

This is easy. To get good grades and give effort in the school portion. In my mind at that time I thought if you were undefeated and won a title you could go wherever you wanted to.  Very ignorant and that is not the case, obviously…I had to go down a road that I didn’t want to go down, purely because of my shortcomings in academic effort and ended up getting a career ending injury.  You learn and teach by your own failures sometimes and this is a big one.  Do not pigeon hole yourself by not giving effort on something as important as academics.  They need to come first and the doors will open even further with it.


What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

I would say for myself it would be never missing a match or tournament for any reason.  I hit my goal of being undefeated my senior year l and that was important.  But I knew my team relied on me and I never missed a match no matter the circumstance…injured, sick or whatever the case…I always made weight and I always showed and gave my best no matter what.


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

Well, unfortunately my college career was cut short.  However, I was still fortunate to wrestle some of the greats during high school…Off the top of my head they are Doug Schwab, Luke Moffit, Nick Mitchell, Mark Rial,  Ben Scorpil, Mike Fertig… A lot of great competitors and I am sure I am missing many more.


When you won state, I don’t think I ever saw someone jump so high in celebration. Was it adrenalin or athleticism…

-Lol, it was a little over the top. Pry a little of both, I guess…To be honest I was just relieved to finalize it. Getting sick before the tourney and what-not, I truly found that digging deep mentally can overcome it all. I talked myself into it and to be honest there was no other choice. I wasn’t going to get better out of nowhere and tapping into the mental part of it is where I had to go.   At the NCAA Championships this coming year, I will bet that not every athlete feels 100%.  Sometimes you just have to get tough and get the job done, no matter the sport or situation.


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

I didn’t give wrestling a try until middle school.  I was all baseball? but I fell in love with wrestling because of the pure one-on-one aspect. I didn’t have to rely on teammates or coaches deciding what was going to happen or who was going to start. I encourage all young athletes to know that its never too late to start wrestling. You don’t have to come up through a club at an early age or anything of that sort to be great. Effort is all that is needed and I would take the kid with heart and want over someone who has wrestled their entire life without the desire or motivation any day. Not saying it’s a bad thing to start young. It’s just more of an emphasis on the fact that it is never too late… Any good coach will tell you they want that kid who comes out swinging when their back is against the wall, the gamer as they say.


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

Man I think we would get beat up a little bit. Wrestling has evolved a ton in the last 20 years.  We never thought about the fact of going to a far ankle off an opponents attack and then scoring with it. Many things of that nature that just didn’t come in to mind in my day.  You will see the best teams in high school are the ones that have the coaches and personnel that have evolved with the sport.  If you are a high school coach and you come in just expecting to win because its been the norm, you will be in for a big surprise eventually…It takes a coaching staff with want, a community, a school system, etc. backing it up. Eventually, you create something great and a culture for the youth.  It all starts with the youth knowing what is expected in this type of wrestling culture for wrestling to not fall off or be placed on the back burner. I have seen many programs go downhill because they don’t give the effort to evolve with the sport… Feelings may get hurt, but that’s the way it is.  I was fortunate to be part of something that still operates on this philosophy and I am so thankful to have learned from the best.  Do you want to be in the top half of your conference or do you want to be in the top 25 in the nation? That is the ultimate question in my mind..


Did you wrestle after high school?

I did. Like I said I put myself in the corner by getting crummy grades and ended up getting injured pretty badly that I fought and ultimately didn’t come back from…It took me awhile to come back to wrestling at that time because I think I was mad at myself and maybe a little sore about it all a little bit, but being involved in coaching has helped me with the woulda, shoulda, coulda type of things…


What other sports did you play?

-I played baseball and ran cross country…Cross country is the closest thing to wrestling as a sport could possibly reach, imo.  It is a sport I would encourage to all kids to try if they aren’t already out for football, volleyball, etc.


What are your favorite sports teams?

-I am a life long 49ers fan, Cincinnati Reds fan and for college it is the Hawks all the way.


What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

-I like to pheasant hunt and do carpentry work.


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

-It has definitely been instrumental.  Nothing in life is tougher than what you endure as a wrestler.  Wrestling will prepare you mentally and physically for the challenges life will ultimately throw at you.  Hard to explain unless you have been through it, but all wrestlers will tell you that their hardest times mentally came with this sport, and you have no choice, but to get through it. Thats what we do, and ultimately builds us as good human beings.


What do you do now?

I have currently made a life transition and moved to Clear Lake, IA and am a Route Sales Manager for Interstate Batteries.  I have a great girlfriend that supports what my future goals are in wrestling and in life in general and we are currently working in that direction a little bit.  As you have figured out, I am an honest, open book.  With that being said you definitely run in to road blocks with maybe some that don’t like change or maybe aren’t open minded to something that is different than what has been the norm. I am very interested in starting to help the local wrestling in some capacity if given the chance/approval to do so. I am confident I will find my place in the community and all will be good for everyone involved.  The ultimate goal is giving each and every kid the best opportunity available.  Shouldn’t matter where you are from or whether a kid can afford it or not. I am all about promoting opportunities for everyone.  Question is, can you get the job done at a high success? I feel we can build something special.


Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Be coachable and surround yourself with right-minded people.  Never, ever think you are too good to be coachable at any age…Learn something every single day and incorporate it into your thinking.  Surround yourself with the people that are going to fuel your passion, not poison it.


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

-Patrick Kennedy, Keaton Schorr, Brady Berge, Noah Ryan, Travis Wuiff. Pretty sure I whip all of them in fantasy football yearly, so a shout out is needed.


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

Nothing more than this this…If being average is what you strive for, keep doing what your doing and know that what you are doing fits the definition of idiocracy. If you want to elevate to a different level than be open minded and pull the trigger…

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