This is one of the most interesting, thought-provoking set of responses that I have received to the questionnaires I send out and that’s out of the “close to 100” RTW articles that I have written so far. I was blown away by Bradley’s responses. It was completed on elaborate fashion with the type of info and insight that interests me personally. Heck, if I did one of these myself, it would likely resemble something like what Bradley wrote. I wish I would have known that he was such an interesting person to talk wrestling with, for Bradley was one of these guys in my grade who seemed to be at the same exact weight as me every single year from 3rd grade all the way until we graduated. We were in the same graduating class and with that said, we were in the same bracket at state in youth wrestling almost every year and were in the same freestyle brackets in high school a few times and somehow we only managed to meet up on the wrestling mat twice. Once as 6th graders and once at a freestyle tournament our Junior years in HS. And I have mentioned several times that I was overly chatty with the competition. There weren’t too many people that I grew up wrestling with that I didn’t approach and sometimes annoy the hell out of at one point or another. I probably encountered Bradley hundreds of times over the years in passing or in the holding area and I never spoke to him once until the very end of our freestyle match in HS, in which he said to me, “good job,” and I just said “thanks.” Why didn’t I ever approach Asche? For whatever reason, he came off as intimidating to me. I don’t know what it was. For one, he always looked like the biggest dude in our bracket physically, so he had that going for him. For another, his demeanor was not one that gave the vibe of arrogant or rude, but there was just something about him that made me not want to say the wrong thing around him. He appeared stoic, confident and businesslike and just didn’t seem like a person that I would want to bother. There were only a few people who I tip-toed around like that. Ryan Heim, Paul Bradley, anyone from Lenox, Chris Wernimont, etc. All GREAT guys. In retrospect, I really wish I would have “cowboy’d” up and approached some of these people instead of being apprehensive and Brad Asche is the prime example of this, for now that I have been getting to know him a bit, he and I surely would have talked a lot of wrestling and likely been pretty good friends.
I never wanted to wrestle Asche. I was thinking about that the second and last time I wrestled him in our freestyle match our Junior season. That match is remembered by my best friend, Aaron Drain and my brother Justin due to something embarrassing that I did during our break between periods. In freestyle back then, you got this 30 second break where the coaches are in your ear trying to tell you what your doing wrong and what to do next and are usually blurting this information while using your t-shirt as some sort of fan to cool you down with. This always annoyed me and I didn’t want to go about things that way at all during break. I needed total relaxation with nobody saying anything to me. I would have rather sat down and sang “Kumbaya” and relaxed for that 30 seconds that felt like 3 or 4 seconds epecially when you are wanting a breather. And I most certainly didn’t want someone hitting me with my shirt. So Asche and I had this pretty wild, back and forth type of match going on where it seemed like a minutes-long struggle for positioning with sudden attacks where we’d both put each other in trouble. It was exhausting. A really good freestyle match. He and I would have made great practice partners. Anyways, when I got back to the corner for the break, Justin was in my ear about a bunch of stuff and I didn’t want to hear any of it and he started beating me with my “I’m Easy” Abercrombie T-shirt, which immediately began to annoy me when one of the “shirt-snaps” hit my nose. When this happened, I looked at Justin and said, “stop.” He didn’t understand what I was referring to, for what kind of weenie is too soft to be able to withstand the discomfort of being aired off with a t-shirt? A few seconds later, Justin accidentally slapped me with the corner of my shirt right in my left eye and my knee-jerk reaction was this: I blew up and screamed at Justin in the corner, “STOP HITTING ME WITH MY ****ING ‘IM EASY’ SHIRT!!!” My eye hurt like hell from that. My brother and Drain started laughing because my voice squeaked BAD when I said the words, “I’m Easy.” Probably a puberty thing. So there I was, in the corner for a break in the middle of a hard-fought freestyle match with Bradley Asche and flipping out on my brother with some major voice-squeakage for everyone in the perimeter’s comedic delight. My face got red and I looked around to see if anyone else saw or heard it and of course, there is Trent Goodale sitting down near our corner with the biggest smile on his face and laughing. I laugh every time I think of Trent because he always caught my most embarrassing moments on the mat that I didn’t want anyone else to see and he always thought that it was funny…which it was. For about a year, if Drain wanted to razz me, he would yell at me in a purposely squeaky voice, “I’m EEE-EEEEAASY!”
So then off I go to wrestle the final period against Asche and we went the full match without there being a tech or a pin… just a really solid wrestling match by both guys… It was a good match for both of us. We scrambled a lot. And as mentioned, Bradley telling me “good job” at the end of that one is the only time we ever spoke. If I could do it over again, I would have spoken to him at every state tourney that I saw him at. But hey, can’t change that and I am thankful that I asked him to do one of these, for it’s cool reading his insight. He saw a lot of things in our age and weight range the same way that I did. It was very refreshing to see.
I don’t think I’ve met a nicer person in my time spent doing all of these.
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
Eagle Grove Youth Wrestling, Eagle Grove High School, Buena Vista University, Coached at Glenwood High School
What year did you graduate?
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
When I was growing up Eagle Grove had some great wrestlers going through at the time. Late 80’s early 90’s Mark Reiland & Jessie Whitmer time frame. Eagle Grove also has a great tradition. To grow up in small town Iowa with a wrestling tradition, it was like a right of passage to wrestle. Home of the Eagle Grove Invitational and names like Nelson, Siddens, Gray, Reiland, Morgan, Kist, McCart, Coltvet, Whitmer. I know I’m leaving a lot out, but I will attach those two boards that one of my teammates in a previous article alluded to that hang in the Eagle wrestling room. I used to go watch those teams during the 80’s and 90’s and then try to emulate them on my living room floor at home. My parents have some pictures of me showing them how certain wrestler’s stance would be when they were on the mat or with my headgear on like Mark Reiland after he won his matches. Reiland with his headgear turned sideways was ingrained in my head like the coach himself having Nelson Brands Headphones in the corner while coaching. I also had some great friends/families that we grew up traveling and wrestling together.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
The family ties to wrestling go way back, and I never got to watch some of them wrestle but heard many stories, You always have to try to keep the family traditions going. My uncle Donnie Reed who got 4th and wrestled for Clarion. Uncle Kevin Reed who got 3rd and wrestled for Eagle Grove. My dad’s Cousin Mike Asche was a State Champ. Denny Asche I think qualified, but never placed. I had two cousins that wrestled for Coach Ewing at Ankeny; Mike and Mitch Reed. My Cousin Kurtis Williamson, we grew up wrestling together and his dad Ray took us everywhere to wrestle on weekends and hauled us to the Cedar Rapids every year for AAU state was a SQ as a freshman, Runner up to Tim Matthys as a sophomore, State Champion in one of the finals matches that I remember. When he picked top in Sudden Victory to ride out Seth Evans as a Junior, and then placed 3rd in 2000 as a senior. My Brother Bart wrestled for a couple of years in High School, but chose not to continue, and now I have my son Brody who is 9 years old and going to practices in Glenwood, IA with the Glenwood Wrestling Club, but he hasn’t competed yet.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
Youth results were nothing special. I qualified for AAU state every year from Third Grade thru 8th grade. Never placed, every year I’d run into kids like you (Joshua Swafford), Jacob Smith, Brian Hessenius, the Sturm brothers, Matt Doebel, Garrett South; Looking back on some of those AAU brackets that you post is fun. It’s like a time capsule, and to see those brackets full of State Champions and medalists, it’s pretty amazing. We could be here all day talking about the kids I used to wrestle, I’m usually great at remembering people I’ve wrestled and the matches, but there were some great youth wrestlers that I used to have to face regularly at weekend Tournaments.
I think Matt Doebel from Clear Lake and I had the most matches out of anyone I wrestled consistently as a kid. I always used to run into Ryan and Mark Sturm from Emmetsburg A-R, Bobby Miller and Stecker from Boone, Bratland, Humboldt, the Harris brothers, Justin Porter, Nick Mason, Duran Barlow all from Fort Dodge, McCrady from Fort Dodge St. Eds. I’m sure there were many more.
What was your record in HS?
I have no Idea, but it’s in a book somewhere or on the internet. I never reached the 100 wins mark back when 100 wins was a big deal, but there are more wins than losses. My coaching record is the same, I have no idea what it is, I’d have to take the time to look back and add it up, but there are more wins than losses. I like to think that my Wins and Losses are just numbers and they don’t define me as a wrestler or a coach. Looking back, I just hope that I made an impact on my teammates throughout my career and an even larger impact on my wrestlers that I coached.
How did you place at state every year?
DNQ, DNQ, SQ, Runner-Up
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Cutting weight was difficult. I had a lot of anxiety when I cut weight. My parents bought me a scale and I used to use it all throughout the night before dual meets and tournaments. Some of the matches that were the most challenging.
Andy Thompson, Clear Lake; Regional Duals my freshman year, LBF I was a JV All Star and we faced Clear Lake at Regional Duals. We bumped the line up and I got the pleasure of wrestling Mr. Thompson after his state title.
Dustin Bliven, Columbus Junction; State Finals my senior year; LBF
How would you describe your wrestling style?
A well rounded wrestler. I was defensive at times; presented my leg and reached too much to get into a crackdown position or into a front headlock position; I still did have some takedowns that I could hit; Tough on top with the legs, and could get out and would in most cases except for when I got thrown on my head in the finals by Dustin Bliven in a couple of highlight reel throws or when Bart Mehlert threw the legs in and ripped my arm off, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in either of those cases.
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
Brian Thacker, Algona We had some back and forth matches in high school. Not sure there was anyone else that I went back and forth with in High School.
Who was your most influential coach?
There are so many coaches that I could name here and each one of them had a hand in making me the person I am today. In High School, I was coached by Dave Morgan, Dan McCart, Bruce Rholl, Jessie Whitmer, Rich Dellaca, Darin Shreck, Linc Morgan. In college, Al Baxter, Tim Jagr, Sevond Cole. There was even my dad and other fathers at the youth wrestling level that were great. There are even some coaches that I’ve coached with like Ty Seaman, Matt Dyer, Adam Buthe, and Brad Gregory. All of them definitely made an impact on my life.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
We were competitive in high school. We had some very good individuals on our team. At state I think 4th place 2000 is the highest we were as a team. That year we had Reiland, 2nd; McClintock, 2nd; McGonegle, 4th; Williamson, 3rd; and then we had some other qualifiers that added some team points, but that year we didn’t reach our goals. We were definitely good enough you hoist a trophy in Des Moines. To this day I have yet to accomplish this. As a coach the best we finished was 4th.
In 2001, at State Duals we got 4th as a team. I believe we got beat by Don Bosco in the Semifinals and wrestled Bedford-Lenox in the 3rd/4th place dual. That year I’m unsure what we got at Traditional State, but we had a lot of qualifiers/placewinners that year. Reiland, Oleson, Morgan, myself, I might be missing someone, but we had the qualifiers to do something with it, but didn’t get it done that year either.
In College at Buena Vista, but I wasn’t very competitive. I did have some great teammates there as well that were very successful. Jamie Taxted, Taylor Wood, Aaron Loewens, Pat Wilsbacher, My college roommate and fellow coach Adam Buthe just to name a few.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
There were many that I looked up to because they were all successful, but probably due to when I was growing up I would have to say, Mark Rieland & Jessie Whitmer, “The strongest man in the world” -Dan Gable. Both who left their mark on the sport at Eagle Grove as well as the University of Iowa.
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
Mark Schwab. I wasn’t able to see him wrestle in High School, but I have heard many stories about him, and was able to personally meet Coach Schwab and be around him during my time at Buena Vista University. Listening to him talk and watching him train in the wrestling room and weight room. After watching him work out at his age, I can only imagine what he was like when he was in high school.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
I’m a big fan of the sport, so there are many. This list could go on and on, but I really like watching wrestling. My former wrestlers who are wrestling in college; Matt Malcom (UNK National Champion) , Anthony Sherry (Iowa State), Trevor Anderson (Grandview), Brett Mower(Utah Valley State RTC), Caleb Sanders (South Dakota State Football) Other college guys I enjoy watching are Yianni Diakomihalis, Spencer Lee, Kyle Dake.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
There were all different genres, I listened to Tupac, Bone Thugs, Metallica, some country.
My Junior year we listened to Godsmack in the wrestling room and wore out the CD, and my Senior year we wore out the Nelly CD. Kids these days have it good with the ability to make a playlist on your phone, we would have to have the managers switch the CD or burn a CD to get all of our favorite songs.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
The night I joined the Runner-Up club, as I like to call it. In fact, I first started following what you were doing when Brad Gregory, my former Assistant coach sent me Bliven’s article. Coach Gregory and I were in the club together. We used to be good sports about it. He would always quote Dan Gable; I believe on the telecast said something about high flying action, and be sure to watch the 1A mat, and before you know it… the rest is history.
My Senior year in the finals. Hands down the worst I’ve ever felt. Like I told you before; I think the state finals is a different demon, whether you like it or not, you want to think of it as just another match, but it isn’t. It’s hard to describe. In Vets everyone was able to walk next to the mats during the first 5 sessions of wrestling and then, during the finals they were all in their seats. You go through the Grand March before the finals (still to this day) sends chills down your spine. When you warm up, etc. is all different during the finals. You have kids coming off the podium and carrying the large bracket that you’ve dreamt about hanging in your bedroom, down to their teammates. In 2001 Lewis Central and Emmetsburg had all those champs and I was warming up right next to them. My eyes would wander while warming up watching them celebrate with their teammates. It’s the match you’ve mentally prepared yourself, but have you all these other things going through your head. It ended up being a bad night, I was definitely very hard on myself after that match.
One of the biggest quotes to understand for high school kids was that you either “Win or Learn”
Needless to say, I definitely learned a lot from my experience, and I was fortunately able to coach a couple of kids to achieve their goals and with that State Title.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
I don’t think I would change anything to be honest. I loved my childhood and growing up in Eagle Grove. Being a part of the tradition. Even after growing up in Eagle Grove the amount of great wrestlers that came out of that town is very vague to me. I used to love talking to the late Dan McCool about the rich history of the North Central Conference, and Eagle Grove. I think one of my former teammates eluded to it before, but Like I said earlier, Eagle Grove only has State Champs and Runner-ups on a board in the room. I grew up not knowing a lot of GREAT wrestlers that weren’t on those boards. Everyday I remember walking into that room and looking at those boards. I just wanted my name to be a part of that tradition, and I did it. It wasn’t the board I wanted to be on, but my name is on a board in that same room that MADE a lot of great wrestlers and is still making some to this day.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
Coaching… There are many. I’m not going to be able to point out any one particular accomplishment, because when you are a coach there are many different things people consider accomplishments and there are different levels of accomplishments that will positively impact individual people for the rest of their lives. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to do too much rambling or people will probably stop reading.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
High School; JD Naig, JJ Butteris, Dustin Bliven, Nate VanDyke. I’m pretty sure my 2001 bracket a couple more state champions in it, Drahos, Linden, not sure who else. College; Tom Meester, Ryan Sturm, TJ Miller, Ken Ware.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Seasonal, I played football, Golf/Track, and baseball. Knowing now how much freestyle wrestling helps you. If I could go back I would wrestle a lot more year round.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
This is a question that I always say it’s tough to compare, because wrestling has evolved so much. There would be GREAT matches regardless!
Did you wrestle after high school?
Yeah for a few years I wrestled at Buena Vista University for Al Baxter. Then I started coaching at Storm Lake with Ty Seaman, then Glenwood with Matt Dyer, and later became the Head Coach.
What other sports did you play?
Football, Golf/Track, Baseball
What are your favorite sports teams?
Iowa State, I was born in Ames and have been a little cyclone since I was young. New England Patriots, I always got the bandwagon comment when I said this, but I have my Starter jacket to prove it. As I’ve grown up though I’ve just become more of a fan of Sports in general and I think that is just because I’m competitive.
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
It’s not a hobby but I’m a Husband to Breann, a father to Brody(9) and Brynn(4), I do enjoy playing with my kids, some good family time, golfing, and cattle.
How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
I love coaching and I feel like I gave back a little bit to the sport, or I at least tried my best. My giving back will continue in the future though with my son Brody still wrestling.
Luke Reiland and I also gave something back to the infamous Eagle wrestling room wall in 2001, We made large cutouts that are still there. It says “Eagle Wrestling Room of Champions”, and he was then able to become that Champion in 2002. I hope it continues to make those young men/women believe that they can put their name on those boards one day.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
The quote “Once you’ve wrestled, Everything in life is easy! Is 100% true. Without this sport it would’ve been very hard to get through some of those tough situations and times. Wrestling made me very mentally tough. The conditioning was not only physical but mental. People truly don’t know what wrestlers are talking about, and wrestlers are often looked at as unique individuals. .
What do you do now?
I was a Teacher/Coach at Glenwood Community Schools for 13 years, but I changed routes and I just finished my first year in a new role as Director of Operations at Brumfield Angus Farms, based out of Michigan and Montana.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
I am at the youth level. I try to help the Glenwood Wrestling Club when I can, but I’ve also tried to allow the new staff to transition without me being involved at any of the other levels.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
I like to use quotes. As a coach I would have quotes posted throughout the wrestling room. Some of my favorites are very long, so I won’t write those and I’m sure you’re going to think I’m long winded. “You only get what you earn!”-Brands I believe said this, and I used to always tell my kids that you either Win or you learn, I’m not sure who quoted that. These kids need to take advantage of all the opportunities that are available, not only in wrestling. We only live once, so why would you want to live the rest of your life with regret. Read books; There are some great motivational books out there. Do anything that motivates you, and do good in school because you’re a Student/ Athlete.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
I think I wrestled in one of these after college. I still continued to wrestle a lot year ‘round when I was coaching. I would’ve definitely been in shape to wrestle in one, but I’m going to have to say that my body wouldn’t be able to handle it anymore.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
I would actually like to give a shoutout to my parents and all of my other family members that came to support me throughout my career. I’m pretty sure they watched every match I wrestled, no matter where it was. I tried my best to thank them everytime they came, but thanks for your support. My teammates and the Eagle Grove Wrestling Family/Fan base. It was a blast, and I would do it all over again if I could. To the wrestlers I coached, thank you for all the great memories.
Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to reminisce about my wrestling career. Like I told you before, I’m surprised we’ve never really officially met, (other than a couple times on the mat with you being the victor), but I really enjoy reading these articles and other things you post about wrestling in the state of Iowa. There are many more worthy people than myself to hear from and I can’t wait to read them all. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to following more from The Pin Doctors in the future.