Jeremy Meyer… He was one of the best to ever do it. You won’t convince me otherwise and in fact, if one were to try, they are likely uninformed about some of the outstanding things he did.
Jeremy Meyer is one of these guys who would have maybe benefited from Trackwrestling if we had it back then. You know how Track makes it easy to find “notable wins” because they group them all together? If Jeremy Meyer would have had this, it would have been SHINY! Because he routinely beat a lot of great wrestlers. More than people realized. Not to mention, he won state as a Sophomore and Senior and placed 3rd as a Junior. So his results were proof that he was one of the best in the grade. So it’s not like fans didn’t get the memo that Jeremy Meyer was an amazing wrestler. I just don’t think people realize HOW amazing, which is saying a lot considering he was broadly held in extremely high regard by fans.
When you write down some of the most notable names of guys from that age and weight range who were notorious for winning, there’s a good chance that they had a loss on their resume to Jeremy Meyer. He was able to beat certain guys who were teeter-tottering on a fan perception of “unbeatable.” Guys who seriously no one else, besides Meyer ever seemed to defeat. And he’d do so convincingly… dominating from every position and controlling the direction of the match from start to finish… and some of the scores of these matches reflected this. I don’t think people fully realized what he was doing on the mat on a consistent basis, for it always seemed like there were other heated match-ups and rivalries that were bogarting all of the discussion on the forums and newspapers and what-not… It was like he dominated good guys consistently and quietly. Maybe it came off this way because there wasn’t ever any fireworks in his matches. He was about the most opposite of cocky as a wrestler can be. He just went out there, took care of business and won and was never in a guy’s face after winning a match. If he was excited about the win, you’d get a big smile from him usually… No show-boating. He acted like he had been there before… because well, he generally had been there before.
And he was quietly a force to be reckoned with from a young age. He and my brother, Justin were in the same grade and they wrestled, I believe twice, but maybe once in youth wrestling. I believe they wrestled as 4th and 5th graders and had close battles. Then AAU state would come and it was almost a certainty every year that Jeremy would place in the top 3-4 in the bracket 5 lbs above Justin. I don’t remember a year where he was not a logical contender to win the bracket he was in.
The one match of Justin and Jeremy wrestling in youth that I remember vividly was at the Columbus Jct. youth wrestling tournament. Columbus Jct. is local to us, but that was at least a 4 hour drive for Newton back then, especially without some of the interstates that we have now. And we would see them a lot, really… in various geographical locations of the state. Usually we met up with one of Jeremy’s tough practice partners, Aaron Daniels at these tournaments. And at these same tournaments, I would encounter Jeremy’s older teammate, Jamie Hotchkin…He was a guy in the grade above me who had a reputation for being one of the best overall guys in that entire class… And then he got into HS and no one knew what happened to him. One thing that all 3 of these guys had in common was that win or lose, there was no celebrating, there was no arguing, there were no tantrums, there was no poor sportsmanship at all from them. Everything was handled in a classy and respectful manner. And when you got to know some of the parents from Newton, it wasn’t difficult to see where they learned this. The parents from Newton were some of the nicest people we ran into at these tournaments. In fact, I would say that they were probably my dad’s favorite fanbase other than our own back then. Dad didn’t go out of his way with everyone to be overly chatty, but when he saw the Newton crew, he was excited to see them and they appeared excited to run into him as well. Those Newton guys were a tight-knit crew that was well-coached and taught to have a great grasp of how to conduct themselves, in which they all implemented as of it were second nature to them. A deceptively talented wrestling team.
And if you ever got the chance to meet Jeremy back then, you’d quickly notice that he was very nice and polite and spoke in a manner that indicated a higher level of professionalism and intelligence than the average guy. You could just tell that he was going to succeed in life. And it turns out, he is very successful… and a large part of his success, he would likely credit to what he learned from the wrestling family he grew up with in Newton.
Jeremy Meyer is one of the greatest wrestlers to compete in the state of Iowa, not only in his own grade, but of all time. The variety and amount of great wrestlers he defeated is unbelievable when you sit down and look at his results. He would lose a match here and there, but who cares, he’s human and it didn’t happen often. If he did lose, it was always to someone good and usually always in a close match. He’s one of these guys where you can think of all kinds of different “dream match” hypothetical scenarios with him and it’d be risky to bet against him no matter who he was wrestling. Pick any guy past and present at the weight classes Jeremy occupied from any era and it would be guaranteed that they will always have their hands full with Jeremy Meyer. I don’t care who you mention. You could mention a 4Xer who never lost a match in HS and I know that Jeremy would come at them with everything he had. I mean, seriously…take a look at some of the guys he beat in his HS career: Jacob Naig (Emmetsburg), Brandon Graham (Osky), Mike Foster (Osky), Chad Czerwiec (Muscatine), Edgar Haynes (CR Washington), Wade Satern (Humboldt), Jared Creason (Indianola), Colby Goetsch (Ankeny), Josh Marker (Ames), Topher Ewing (Ankeny), and the list goes on… I mean, for real. I don’t know if many people who routinely slayed more dragons than that!
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
I started wrestling when I was 4 and wrestled for the Newton kids wrestling club through middle school, then Newton High School, and finally two years at UNI.
What year did you graduate?
I graduated high school in 2003.
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My dad originally started both me and my brother in wrestling, probably because we were 11 months apart (he’s older) and we were always wrestling or fighting with each other anyway.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
My brother was a two time state qualifier for newton and wrestled at Simpson for 3 years.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
My youth results were so long ago that I’m not entirely sure. I know I placed 4th in second grade going against 3rd and 4th graders. I placed 3rd twice in 4th and 6th grade and then second in 8th grade. Interestingly, the only time I have ever been pinned in my life was against Gabe Rostermundt at a regular season tournament. I wrestled him in the finals my 8th grade year and he somehow got me in a cradle with both legs. I’m sure I was stuck but they didn’t call it and I ended up losing by a couple to him. I wrestled so many matches in my youth that it is difficult to remember too many rivals, but I know for sure Nick Beuter and Mack Reiter were two guys I wrestled several times throughout my youth. Probably had a few wins and few losses against each of those guys.
What was your record in HS?
My high school record was 155-7. I lost 4 matches my freshman year (twice to Steve young of ankeny who placed second and won my district.) and twice the first two weekends of my sophomore year. My only other loss was in the semifinals of state my junior year.
How did you place at state every year?
I did not qualify for state my freshman year despite going 38-4. I lost to Brandon Graham at districts and he lost to Steve young. I won state my sophomore year at 125 and my senior year at 135, and placed third my junior year.
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
I would say the hardest thing I went through in wrestling was losing my semifinal match my junior year. I was on a 78 match win streak until that point. Ben Moss wrestled a fantastic match against me and beat me in double overtime. It is hard to come back and get excited for your next match after that big of a letdown. I ended up placing third, but when your dreams of being a 3-timer get dashed like that, it is a hard thing to get over and focus on the remaining matches.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
My wrestling style was very much a loose, scrambling type. I was always good from the top and bottom, but wrestling from my feet I depended more on my scramble ability.
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
I guess there were only 2 guys in high school that I lost to and beat. Brandon Graham was in my district every year and at my weight 3 of the years. He beat me at districts my freshman year and then at a tournament at the beginning of my sophomore year. I beat him at districts the next 2 years and a state my junior year. I also lost to a kid from Lincoln high school at the beginning of my sophomore year, but then I beat him by tech fall later that year and pinned him at districts.
Who was your most influential coach?
I would say that I had 2 coaches that were very influential to me. John Patterson was my kids club coach and coached for the middle school, and Bill Reed was my high school coach. They both had a profound influence on me in distinct ways. Coach Patterson taught me the technical side of wrestling brought out the competitive nature in me. Coach Reed instilled a desire to continually be better-not just as a wrestler but in life. I can’t say enough great things about either of these coaches and how they helped me achieve everything that I have in life.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
My team in high school was fairly middle of the road-we had the most talent my freshman year where we made it to the state duals. We had several talented individuals at UNI, I think we had the fourth best recruiting class in the nation my freshman year. College is a different beast than high school though, and we lost several great wrestlers through injury, attrition, etc.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
I think the person that stands out the most in terms of influence when I was growing up was Mark Ironside. Man that guy was a beast. Too bad I never picked up his style of wrestling, but he really was fun to watch when I was young.
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
I won’t get into the GOAT because you have different weights, classes, etc. I will say that possibly the most impressive four-timer to me is Jay Borschel because he did it over such a vast array of weights. Everyone knows that quickness rules the lighter weights and technique and strength are more important at heavier weights. You really have to be the total package to do what he did.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
I don’t really have any favorite wrestlers at the moment.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
The only thing I needed to pump me up in terms of music was some Thunderstruck by AC/DC. That was our intro song at home meets in high school and it still gets me energized when I listen to it today.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
The most upset I’ve ever felt after a loss would definitely have to be to Ben Moss in the semifinals my junior year. It was devastating on several fronts- I hadn’t lost in 78 matches. I wrestled poorly for the expectations that I had for myself. It also was upsetting to me over the next several days because that year I started the year at 135 and eventually dropped to 130 after Christmas. I beat the top 4 placewinners in 3A at 135 that year and I beat Jacob Naig who was a state champ at in 2A I believe. I felt like I was at the top of my game that year, and Ben really brought me crashing back to reality.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Maybe it my age getting to me, but looking back I’m not sure I would change anything about my wrestling career. I learned so much about myself because of the sport, and certainly more in defeat than I ever did in victory. Some days I do wish that I would’ve continued my career at UNI to see where I could’ve made it, but I am ultimately happy with the path that I took.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
The best accomplishment that I had personally was placing 8th at Senior nationals my senior year. Out of 12 Iowans (and two four-timers) to go that year, only myself and Eric Pedretti were all-Americans. It really was the cherry on top of my high school career.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
Probably the most notable competitor that I had was Brandon Graham, since he was in my district every year and at a dual tourney every year that we hosted. I was glad that he chose to wrestle at 140 my senior year.
The Newton squad was probably my dad’s personal favorite squad to encounter and talk to at tournaments because you were always so respectful. Did the Newton coaches prioritize teaching you guys how to be respectful, sportsmanlike individuals as well as competitors?
The Newton program itself was more of a loose affiliate where kids went to learn wrestling, not necessarily going as a large squad to compete each weekend. Coach Patterson certainly ran a tight ship. From the time I was little through high school, both coaches preached about respect and sportsmanship and would not tolerate a lack of either. I’m not sure if I would call it a priority so much as I would an expectation.
Since you were in youth, we used to see you Newton guys at several of our local tournaments in Southeast Iowa. Did you guys travel the state quite a bit to wrestle as much new competition as you could?
I’m not sure how other kids clubs worked, but our club didn’t necessarily always have all the wrestlers going to the same tournaments. I traveled all over the state with my brother and usually Aaron Daniels trying to always get the best competition. The three of us even won a team title at a tourney in Nebraska where the smallest teams consisted of 5 wrestlers. So Daniels and myself wrestled in the 5th/6th grade division and also in the 7th/8th grade division. My dad would always be in the bracket room telling the people making the brackets that we didn’t drive 3 hours so his kids could pin everyone in 30 seconds, so we were always seeking the best competition wherever we went.
How many battles did you and Aaron Daniels have over the years?
Speaking of Aaron Daniels, we had battles daily probably from the time we were 5. It got to a point in high school where it probably became boring to watch us wrestle because we knew each other so well.
Do you still follow Newton wrestling? If so, how bout Destin Schroder and Gage Linahon these last couple years?! They really represented Newton wrestling well!
I don’t follow high school wrestling as closely as I used to, but I have gotten to see a couple matches of Destin and Gage. Congrats to both of them, they certainly represent Newton wrestling the right way!
What ever happened to Jamie Hotchkin? Was he, among others one of the older Newton wrestlers that you learned from?
Jamie Hotchkin was a stud back in little kids club. He was a couple years older than me, but we went to a few tournaments together over the years. He was fun to watch. He moved away before high school and I’m not sure what happened to him or even where he moved to. I do believe that I learned little bits and pieces from everyone that was older. I had a chance to watch Aaron Groves and Andy Bollhoefer wrestle in state championships. I probably learned the most from my brother. He was always heavier and stronger, so I had to learn how to be a better scrambler because I wasn’t going to stand a chance against him otherwise.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Wrestling was a seasonal sport for me, although once I got to high school I did do several freestyle tournaments during soccer season.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
I’m not sure how guys today would stack up against guys from my day. I think that wrestling is one of those great sports where if you are on your game, no matter what generation you come from, you can beat anyone. I am a bit biased but I feel like the breadth of talent at the 112-140 weight classes while I was in high school was incredible. I remember Dominick Moyer placing 5th or 6th after being a two time state champ.
Did you wrestle after high school?
I wrestled for two years at UNI after high school at 133. I redshirted my freshman year and then battled Ryan Osgood my sophomore year. After I stopped wrestling, I coached middle school wrestling at Hudson for 2 years. After college, I went to chiropractic school in St. Louis.
What other sports did you play?
I’m not even sure that wrestling was my best sport. I was also a second team all-state soccer player. I also was an all-conference corner my senior year in football, and we had WDM valley among other large schools in our conference. After I quit wrestling, I played club soccer at UNI and continued to play soccer competitively throughout chiropractic school. Even played in an old mans league for the Iowa games a couple years ago.
What are your favorite sports teams?
I guess my favorite sports teams are the hawkeyes, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
What do you do now?
These days, I am a chiropractor in Nevada, Iowa. I just had my first child, a daughter, two weeks ago.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
I really am not involved in wrestling as much as I would like. I would love to get back into coaching if I could find the time.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
My advice for wrestlers of all skill levels would be to work your ass off. Even if you don’t have some of the natural wrestling skills of others, you can still work your way to success. Don’t ever be satisfied that you are good enough.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
I truly feel like the old saying is true, once you have wrestled, everything else is easy. Wrestling made me a more disciplined person. It made me more competitive in all aspects of my life.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
Shout-outs? All my old UNI teammates, all my high school teammates. Especially Aaron Daniels and Joe Meyer. Never would’ve had the success that I did without them always pushing me.