PinDox Profile: John Ites; Iowa Falls ‘84
A couple months ago, I published an article about one of the best wrestlers to never win state named Dan Sinnott. Sinnott was a 3X placer/2X runner-up who wrestled two of the all-time greats in the finals; 4X state champion, Mark Schwab of Osage and 3X state champion and future D1 champ, Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall. And while writing that, I realized that you can’t really mention or discuss Dan Sinnott without also mentioning another guy who was a 3X state qualifier/2X runner-up. This guy lost to the same two guys that Sinnott did in his finals matches. In fact, Sinnott and this guy actually met up first round at state when Sinnott was a Sophomore and this guy was a Senior and had a barn-burner, 1 point match. His name is John Ites from Iowa Falls… and he was right in the mix with some of the best wrestlers our state has ever seen in one of the best eras.
As a Sophomore in HS in 1982, John Ites qualified for state with a 14-4 record and was beaten first round and eliminated. However, the experience was obviously valuable for him, for he did very well at state in his last two years of HS.
As a Junior in 1983, John came into state at 2A 105 with a 22-1-1 record and made a statement on his way to the finals. In the quarters, he defeated the returning 2A 98 lb. 4th place finisher from the year before, Don Hoffman of East Union and followed that up by defeating Jon Anderson of Waukee in the semis. Anderson had a record of 24-1 coming in and went back to place 4th. In the finals he fell to Mark Schwab, and while Schwab won in convincing fashion, Ites did have his moments in that match and did give Schwab a better match than what you were used to seeing.
As a Senior in 1983, John Ites had one of the best state tournaments out of anyone who participated that year and it is crazy to think that he did not bring home a state championship with the way his first 3 matches went. Ites came into state at 2A 105 as the returning runner-up at 2A 105 as a Senior and as mentioned earlier, defeated Albia great, Dan Sinnott first round by the score of 3-2. Sinnott went back to place 5th. Ites followed this up by beating returning 4th place finisher, Brett Sweeney of Osage by the score of 8-2. In the semifinals is when Ites put the entire place on notice. He defeated Scott Mangrich of Don Bosco, 9-2 to advance into the finals. Scott Mangrich was the returning 2A 98 lb. state champion that year. I’m assuming most people were anticipating a repeat showdown between Mangrich and Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall, for those two had a wildly close match in the finals the year before, but Ites wrecked those plans and did so convincingly. In the finals, Ites lost to Kelber in a close, 4-1 match.
John Ites… one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time to not win state. You will likely be hard-pressed to find any wrestler from that era who will disagree with that statement.
1982 2A 98:
1983 2A 105
1. Mark Schwab, So., Osage
2. John Ites, Jr., Iowa Falls
3. Brian Forgy, So., Winterset
4. Jon Anderson, Jr., Waukee
5. Lanny Goetz, Sr., Creston
6. Don Hoffman, Jr., Afton-East Union
1984 2A 105
1. Jason Kelber, So., State
2. John Ites, Sr., Iowa Falls
3. Mick Harding, Jr., Emmetsburg
4. Scott Mangrich, Jr., Don Bosco
5. Dan Sinnott, So., Albia
6. Lee Hilligas, Sr., Brooklyn-BGM