I’m posting this little article, partially because this guy’s mom has a Mat Mom of the Hour article that will be posted sometime very soon, but also because it’s just awesome, especially for a guy like me who grew up in Mepo during this era. At Mepo, I always kind of think of things in eras… like the early 80’s was the “Erickson Era.” The late 80’s was the “Jamey Cummings Era.” When I first started learning how to wrestle, Mepo was in the depth of the “Ryan Cummings Era.” And what an era that was! To start, we had some great guys up and down our lineup in that era; Bill Tarasawisc, Damon Wick, Corey Baker, Ben Thomson, Heath Hillyard, Doran Massner, etc. So Mepo won a lot of duals and tourneys in that era. And the unquestioned star of the team and arguably the most legendary wrestler to ever go through Mepo was Ryan Cummings.
Ryan was a 4 time state qualifier and 3X State Champ. He won one of his titles in MN. He finished his HS career with a record of 133-13 and went on to wrestle at UNI. To someone who didn’t experience the Ryan Cummings Era, I’ve always struggled to explain it. You just had to be there. To start, there was a buzz in the air with the fans. Always. This guy would wrestle placer after placer after state champ after placer after state champ and would impose his will upon them, bending them into a pretzel before savagely pinning them and did so as if it were easy to him. And as mentioned, there was always a noticeable buzz in the gym before Ryan took the mat. Mepo was always assured to have the best guy on the mat when Ryan stepped on it and it gave fans somewhat of an empowering feeling. Something in the air. He had the wrestling community really excited. A lot of fans attended dual meets just to watch him.
As noted, I’ve always had difficulty explaining this era, but recently, Ryan’s mother, Deb showed me the following pic… and this pic seriously says it all. It brings you right back to that time. Watching Ryan Cummings can be best explained by this picture:
That is badass. And the guy he just pinned…he’s probably really good. Ryan used to pin really good guys like that regularly.
Those were fun times. Not joking when I say that Ryan was a bigger part of my sports fandom than Michael Jordan or anyone was, really. Beatlemania, Linsanity, Bieber-Fever…shoot… none of those hold a candle to when Mepo went full-fledged Rynopalooza!!!!!!
Ryan Cummings, Mediapolis
Cory Jones, Iowa Falls
Mike Uker, Osage
Phillip Schaefer, Denver
Brad Beaman, Johnston
Blake Williams, Decorah
- Ryan Cummings, Sr., Mediapolis
- Howard Fullhart, Sr., Decorah
- Clinton Koedam, Sr., West Lyon, Inwood
- Derek Gruss, Jr., Carlisle
- Travis Welch, Jr., Winterset
- Joe Grider, Sr., Osage