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Remember The Wrestler: Todd Jackson, Laurens-Marathon

We are getting to a point where a lot of the wrestlers you will read about, I haven’t met. In Todd’s case, I watched his finals match, loved it and just sent a random inquiry to him asking to do one of these. And to think I used to be shy as a little kid! Ha. With that said, for future reference, if there is no intro for one of these articles, that’s what is going on. It means I am bugging people I don’t even know for these articles! Cool thing about Todd is that we have some mutual acquaintances. Most notably the Andrews brothers and Ressler brothers from Cascade. I knew them from wrestling at Loras College. Great families and Tim Andrews was one of my main practice partners for a couple years there. 

 

Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?

My older brother Tom got me started in wrestling so my other 4 brothers would not kill me. They did not wrestle.

 

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

He (Tom) wrestled 118 in high school and college and used to use me as his practice dummy.

 

What were your youth results? Any rivals there?

I started wrestling in 2nd grade and did not lose a match until I was in high school.

 

What was your record in HS?

86-11

 

How did you place at state every year?

I qualified for state as a Junior and was State Champ as a Senior at Hwt.

 

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

I missed most of my freshman year due to an illness. I was way behind on mat time and learning new technique. I told my parents I needed to stay late at school to catch up on my homework, but went to wrestling practice instead making up for lost time.

I lost my first round match at State my Junior year and had to watch the rest of the tournament in the stands. I realized I had to add a few things to obtain my goals.

 

How would you describe your wrestling style?

Aggressive – Always moved forward to get the first takedown. I had 3 matches my senior year where I did not pin my opponent.

 

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

– I remember wrestling Ed Huff from Sheldon who beat me in Freestyle, but I beat him at a folkstyle tournament 2 weeks later. He was fun to wrestle. I wrestled Jeff Baxter from Storm Lake who was very tough.

 

Who was your most influential coach?

Kerry Feekes was my high school coach and was a great teacher. Dirk Cowan who placed 2nd at 155 at State in 1983 was my most influential coach. . He spent a lot of 1 on 1 time with me during and after practice after I returned that year. I always give him the credit for my success.

 

Was your team competitive in HS/college?

We never lost a dual meet during my 4 years. We placed 8th at State my senior year.

 

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

Randy Lewis(Lewboo) was my guy during the IPTV days. I would try and emulate his great throws.

 

Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?

Gable

 

How nice of a feeling was it when you put your state finals opponent to his back right away and pinned him?

It was a huge relief. My Dad was never able to watch me wrestle until the State Tournament. He had a medical issue where he produced to many red blood cells. We were told he could have a heart attack if his blood pressure got to high so I knew I had to pin my opponents as fast a possible. Feekes asked me what I was going to do before the match and I told him that I was going to pin him quick so my Dad would be ok. I asked him to look at my Dad and see what color his skin was and Feekes said, “very red.” So he told me to get it done . Everyone thinks I put my finger up after the match to say I was number one but I was pointing at my Dad to make sure he was ok.

 

I’ve heard you have some Ray Brinzer stories… can we hear some?

No Comment. He was the smartest person I have ever had a discussion with.

 

Who are your favorite current wrestlers?

Aiden Noonan is my favorite high school wrestler- I love the Bull and Big Cass at Iowa.

 

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

ACDC- Def Leppard- Van Halen.

 

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

My Junior year loss at State. I was mad for 364 days because I wrestled terrible. I stuck that article about my loss on my bedroom wall and looked at the article every day for 1 year.

 

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

– Wish we wrestled in dual meet tournaments. Would have loved to wrestle 50 times in a year.

 

What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?

Best Memory was coaching Tyler Yonkavic when he won his State Title at Hwt for Maquoketa Valley. He was my first State Champion.

 

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

We wrestled Emmetsburg in practice before Districts every year. I loved wrestling Dave Saxton and Tim Leuer. It was fun to be tested by them as they were great wrestlers.

 

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

Seasonal

 

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

We have some hammers from my day. I would take the state qualifiers in 2a from 1987 against any era.

 

Did you wrestle after high school?

I blew out my elbow at an open meet in Chicago and that ended my career berore it started.

 

What other sports did you play?

Football and baseball.

 

What are your favorite sports team?

The Hawkeyes, Cubs and the Dallas Cowboys.

 

What are your hobbies other than wrestling?

Fishing- Golf and shooting my guns.

 

What were some of your biggest wins in HS? College?

My State Finals match was the biggest for me as I obtained my goal of being the 1st Wrestling State Champ at my school.

 

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

Coaching is the most rewarding thing I have ever done other than being a Dad. I always wanted to pay it forward in wrestling- I have coached at Cascade and Maquoketa Valley and have enjoyed every second of it.

 

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

It has made be a much better person and strive to make a impact on my wrestlers beyond High School.

 

What do you do now?

I am a claims adjuster with Progressive Insurance I do not know FLO.

 

Are you still involved with wrestling?

I slowed down over the last 3 years due to health reasons, but am looking to get back into wrestling again. My wife always says it is my addiction.

 

Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?

Be coachable, work hard and make sure you are having fun.

 

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

Not anymore. Too many surgeries.

 

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

I want to thank Dale Andrews for starting me in coaching 20 plus years ago. Like to that,Tom and Travis Andrews for keeping my life interesting. Also would like to thank Alex Ressler who will never give up his fishing holes. One more for Tim (Andrews)- How bout them Cowboys-

 

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

I was coaching at State and we had a tough official and were not getting any calls. He had his back to me and I may or may not have said something inappropriate. The official turned around and I immediately looked at our other coach and told him not talk to the official that way. He was reprimanded by the official as I was laughing at him.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Tami Keeney April 17, 2020, 3:27 am

    Awesome Article Todd!!! Something to be proud of!

  • Dennis Morse April 18, 2020, 11:15 am

    I wrestled with your brother Tom for 3 years in High School. We even did a wrestling instructional for the girls gym class once. Man, we would volunteer for anything to get out of study Hall!

  • Lynda Dukes Franey April 21, 2020, 2:46 pm

    So awesome to find this today!! Super cool to see Feekes and Pierce in action too!

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