When I posted the 2002 2A State Champions picture, I noticed that there was one person missing. It was Clint Sellers from Chariton HS and he was the 2A 189 state champion that year. People do miss those photos from time to time and usually if someone misses out, it’s for one of a few reasons. For one, sometimes it indicates that the person who wasn’t present for the picture does not have as much experience under their belt compared to the others. For a lot of guys, the state champs pic is part of the routine and something they were probably looking forward to the moment they finished their finals match. For others who don’t have as much experience watching the state tournament, the thought of posing for a picture with the other state champs may not occur to them. Another thing that happens is sometimes the guy who misses the picture may be an upper-weight or roundabout and are still way too caught in the moment of just winning a state championship to where the state champs photo is likely the last thing on their minds.
Sellers fit both of those criteria that I mentioned. He was at an upper-weight of 189 lbs. Also, as incredible as it may sound, Sellers played basketball until he was in HS… so he got off to an extremely late start with wrestling when compared to most state champions or heck, state qualifiers for that matter. In fact, this was the first year that he had made it out of Sectionals, let alone competed at the state tournament…a testament to his incredible natural athleticism. I mean this guy was just unreal… It’s hard telling what this man could have done at the next level in multiple sports. He was one of the best football players to go through Iowa HS in the early 2000’s.
After getting to know Clint Sellers a bit, a couple things stick out. One, it’s a small world. He is friends with some of my cousins who live in Chariton. Secondly, without going into detail, this man has been through more adversity in his life than almost anyone I’ve ever met and I respect him so much because he hasn’t let these moments beat him down or define him… He has used the tumultuous experiences he’s endured in his lifetime to try to help others and that is an incredibly selfless and impressive way to approach life considering what he has gone through.
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
Chariton High School
What year did you graduate?
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
Tom Anderson and Gary Wood pushed me the most to wrestle when I was younger, especially in middle school. I played basketball growing up until my freshman year I was 5’3 or 5’4 and I think 150-155 lbs. I knew basketball wasn’t gonna work for me even though I loved it. So, my dad finally let me give wrestling a chance.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
Nobody in our family has ever wrestled beside my nephews for a couple years or so in youth wrestling.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
I never wrestled at a youth age.
What was your record in HS?
Started wrestling in high school. Didn’t wrestle varsity as a freshman and I don’t believe I even won a match. No clue on how many matches I had. You would have to check with Coach Andy Fuhs or Coach Tom Anderson. Sophomore year, I was 18-19. Didn’t make it past sectionals. Junior year I was 27-7 Didn’t make it past sectionals. Senior year I was 30-1. I won the State Championship at 2A 189 that year.
How did you place at state every year?
Never made it past sectionals until my senior year and won the Class 2A State Championship 189 lbs
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
Practices! I hated practices with a passion, but I just kept grinding, trying to learn as much as I could. I was so far behind everyone else experience wise it was tough. I was too bull headed to quit I guess.
Cutting weight my sophomore and junior year was absolutely terrible. Came in an absurd amount overweight the morning of sectionals, hit the showers, rode a stationary bike on the bus on the way to the meet, ran, anything I could and made it at weigh-ins by 1/10 of a lb. I got beat bad by Ryan Dunbar because I had nothing in the tank, and he was better, but that was the turning point for me. I realized I could literally do anything that I put my mind to after that morning… especially if someone told me I couldn’t.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
Nonstop. Relentless. Pretty basic though. Double, double, double, throw, and get a half in! My senior year, my conditioning was second to none. My dad always said if I had more wind at the end of the match I wouldn’t lose. The only reason I won my semi-final match at State was because he had nothing left in the tank, I got a take down with 7 seconds left because he was spent. Just keep coming!
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
The most memorable was Seth Johnston of Albia. Country strong. Long and lanky. Mean. Tough. Great battles with him.
Who was your most influential coach in wrestling?
My head Coach Andy Fuhs. He worked my ass. Pushed me hard to get better and to be better. Taught me so much. He could’ve thrown me off the team, but I believe he saw something better and I still think about that today. He put up with a lot. Definitely wouldn’t have won state without him.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
I would like to think so. Honestly can’t remember if we won conference, sectionals, or districts as a team while I was there or not. In my 4 years, we had many qualify for state and one other state champion, Taylor Wood-2000. I can’t remember if anyone else placed.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
I never watched wrestling growing up, didn’t know much about it besides the names… Dan Gable, the Brands Twins, and while I was in high school Cael Sanderson had his undefeated run.
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
Gable, hand down!
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
The team listened to hard rock in the small gym but I was more into hip hop.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
After my loss to Ryan Dunbar from Clarke-Osceola. My grandpa had passed away from cancer and I wanted to get to state for him. I was the only person to blame by not being prepared and disciplined enough to keep my weight under control. I thought I let the family down. It was brutal but my dad met me in the back hallway, gave me one of his famous pep talks and after that, everything changed.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Don’t cut all that weight. The most I weighed my senior year was 183. I didn’t cut any weight that year and was full strength and that was a big contributing factor to my title. I was full strength all year instead of cutting 15-20 lbs the previous years.
What was your best wrestling memories and/or accomplishments?
Meeting Dan Gable. Not giving up any back points all of my senior year. Pinning a great wrestler, Ben Strandberg from Emmetsburg-Armstrong-Ringsted for the State Title.
Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school?
Jerrad Bourne-Webster City-Semi final match at State. He was a beast! He was so big. Strongest kid I had ever wrestled. I knew it was gonna be a long day as soon as we tied up and I couldn’t push him off the mat. Only time my senior year I worried. To me, he was a man amongst boys out there.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Seasonal, but did do a little Freestyle and Greco-Roman here and there.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
We’d eat em for lunch!
Did you wrestle after high school?
No, college football.
What other sports did you play?
Football, track and baseball for a bit
What are your favorite sports teams?
Don’t really follow sports anymore. Green Bay Packers but lost interest the older I’ve got.
What are your other hobbies?
Hunting, golf, working on trucks
What did wrestling teach you that you still use to this day?
Never quit. Keep coming. You can take more abuse than you think you can. Your mind is the most valuable weapon in your arsenal if you let it be.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
Refuse to lose. Listen. Learn. Study. Keep grinding.
If you have more wind at the end of the match, chances are you will win. Conditioning should be your best friend. Wrist Control!!!
Any chance we see you wrestle again?
You never know, but highly unlikely with my arm. I still feel like I could catch a single though. Lol!
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
* Coach Fuhs
* Coach Anderson taught me how to be small out there.
* Gary Wood for the hand work and beatin’ on me.
* Taylor Wood for your tenacity.
* Eric Morrow, thank you for beatin’ my ass all those years and making me realize I had nobody to fear if I made it by you.
* Charles DeBok, Jansen Stuart, Tyler Thompson, TJ Voss, Brian Strife, Eric Runnells, Jack and Marilyn, Austin Roberts, Brandon Johnson, Zach Baughman, and all of my teammates big or small. Whether I was the “punching bag” or you were… all of you contributed to my State Title. Making me want to be better, showing me how to do it, and looking up to my bigs when I was just a little freshman wanting to be like them!
And my sisters- my grandma always said if they weren’t so hard on me and beat me up all the time growing up, I wouldn’t have won a state championship!! Haha!
Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
When I won my first tournament my senior year, the next tournament I told Fuhs, “might as well win this one too” and we kind of laughed it off, and I won it. The next tournament I said the same thing and won it as well. So on and so on until we got to state and I told him and my dad the same thing but we weren’t laughing this time. “I might as well win this one too.” Believe it and achieve it!
Nothing is given. Everything is earned.
Clint is forever a legend, one of those once in a generation athletes. For those who knew him or got to see in action will surely tell to our kids about. One of the toughest competitors I’ve ever seen and still to this day carriers that I’m sure. Your path went a different direction but that doesn’t matter to you or to us. We knew that you were, rare. You have what most don’t, god given freak talent. Hope all good continues to come your way. Your legacy and stories live on, trust me. I’ve told em. From Iowa to 4th street down the 9th in Charleston. It was a pleasure to see you from stands my brother. There is no one to this day I wouldn’t say you couldn’t out perform. You simply didn’t dare bet against the kid, he would likely outwork you.