I do not know Michael Davis personally… In fact, putting this article together is the first time I’ve met him. However, there are a couple interesting things I’ve kind of connected the dots with since I began typing this out. Ironically, his brother, JP and my brother Justin wrestled each other in the AAU State finals when Justin was a 2nd grader. 1993. I remember the Shenandoah crew pretty well because of that and they were all great people. That was an underrated squad at multiple levels. They were underrated at the youth level and they were underrated when we got to high school, IMO. At least that’s how it came off to me sometimes. I don’t think people realized how good that squad was. And from what I’ve heard, the future is looking bright for them. Much respect, Shenandoah wrestling! You guys are great.
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
I wrestled for Saint Alberts and Shenandoah as a youth. I also practiced with the panthers in Council Bluffs often. In high school I wrestled for Shenandoah.
What year did you graduate?
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My older brother was already in wrestling so in Kindergarten I started myself.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
My dad wrestled in high school, my older brother (JP) wrestled, and my younger cousin (Anthony Davis) wrestled.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
I had a lot of success in youth wrestling. 4x AAU state champion, 2x Tulsa nationals champion, several random national championships in folkstyle, freestyle, and greco roman. We moved to Texas for one wrestling season and I was able to win Texas state as well. I wouldn’t call them rivals but I had a lot of fun matches with Gabe Rostermundt and Henry Wahle.
What was your record in HS?
How did you place at state every year?
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Having a lot of success as a youth then going into my Freshman year as a 152 pounder was a learning curve for me. I had an average season and it wasn’t how people thought I would do. I also started to experience burnout my 8th grade year. I didn’t have the best support system and wrestling was always an up and down experience for me. I chose to have a bad attitude and walked away from wrestling my Senior year.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
Aggressive but also technical. I was very one dimensional with a double leg and arm bar but it worked!
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
The two that come to mind are Heath Lamp (AHST) and Brock Swisher (Harlan)
Who was your most influential coach?
Blanchard Johnson Jr. (St. Alberts) was an amazing coach for me when I was younger. When we moved to Texas I also had an amazing coach in Henry Harmony.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
We were not a state powerhouse but my Junior year (2003) we were very competitive for SW Iowa.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
Watching Iowa wrestling on IPTV was a must in my household. I remember watching Lincoln McIlravy and Mark Ironside
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
Jeff McGinnis or TJ Sebolt
Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?
Not that I can think of. I think each wrestler has their own unique style.
What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?
I’m sure there would be a lot of fun matchups to see between different eras but I also think there would have been a lot of fun matchups to see within the different divisions each year. I always remember saying Id love to see this 1A state champ wrestle this 3A state champ. There would be too many fun matchups to see.
Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
I think in general most wrestlers respect each other. Mike Wells (Clarinda) and Willie Harris (Creston) are a couple I really respected just to name a few.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
I havent paid a lot of attention to wrestling the past 10 years. I do like how Spencer Lee is a go getter.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
Let the bodies hit the floor by Drowning Pool and oddly enough listening to the national anthem always pumped me up.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
Sophomore year in the quarterfinals to Matt Adreon or Junior year at the hawkeye 10 to Brock Swisher. I was looking forward to wrestling Brandon Mason in the finals but that didn’t get to happen.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
I would change my attitude. I would learn to be okay with getting beat and work my hardest each day during the season and offseason. I wouldn’t have walked away from my teammates my Senior year.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
As a kid just traveling around and building so many wrestling friendships on a state and national level. Running around the 5 Seasons hotel all weekend for AAU state brings back a lot of memories too!
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
My junior year I had several good matches with Heath Lamb and Brock Swisher. I also had fun wrestling Chris Downing because I was close with the Creston wrestlers and they always tried to psych me out when I wrestled Chris.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
All year since I was in 1st grade.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
I haven’t paid close attention to wrestling today but I think everyone always thinks their era is the best.
Did you wrestle after high school?
What other sports did you play?
Football in high school, powerlifting post high school
What are your favorite sports teams?
Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Yankees, LSU Tigers
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
Going on runs, watching sports, practicing my faith each day.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Wrestling has taught me to have a lot of discipline in my daily life. Its also helped me self-evaluate myself and learn from my mistakes.
What do you do now?
I am married with 3 kids and a set of twins on the way. For work I am a mental health therapist that enjoys working with teenagers/young adults.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
Win/Loses doesn’t matter. Work as hard as you can but also realize you have a life outside of wrestling. Don’t pay attention to any negativity.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
Absolutely. I’d love to run it back with Heath Lamb.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
Reflecting back I’d love to give a big shout out to coach Blanchard Johnston. I wish he could have coached me longer. As far as wrestlers I was close with the Creston Crew so shout out to Hayes, Loudon, Harris, Downing. Also shout out to Emmett Hughes and Mike Wells. Shout out to the Lewis Central crew as well. From my days in Texas shout out to Chas Skelly and Brandon Strong. Both ended up being great wrestlers. I also have to give a big shout out to Robert Baxter who was in my class so we spent a lot of time wrestling together.
Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
I think we could all share some interesting stories but that might get us in trouble with our fellow wrestlers. One funny story I always remember is after I think my sophomore year I did an after season tournament and wrestled Kirk Artist (Glenwood). It was a close match and I picked down in the 3rd period. I didn’t think he would get his infamous cradle on me but sure enough he did. I was in no danger of getting pinned, but he wasn’t going to let go. We both knew this so we just ended up having like a minute and a half conversation to pass the time.