Jeff McGinness’s Story About A Humbling Experience He Had At A USA World Team Trial Practice
INTRO: Jeff McGinness was a wrestler who came out of Iowa City HS ‘93. He was a 4X undefeated state champion with an incredible HS record of 172-0. On top of this, he was a Cadet and Junior National champion, a USA Dream Team member, a world champion… The list doesn’t seem to end. At the collegiate level, Jeff was a 3X AA/2X NCAA National Champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes and amassed a career record of 127-16 there. For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to watch him wrestle, he was a guy who was so good, that he made even the most daunting tasks look easy. He is widely considered the GOAT wrestler to come from the state of Iowa.
Nowadays, Jeff is a coach at Simpson College and by all accounts, does a fantastic job there.
When you watched Jeff compete at any level, he seemed flawless. His technique, athleticism, intensity, etc. were all 100% on point seemingly every time he took the mat. And his results obviously backed it up. He had wrestling down to both a science and an art form. And while it was an amazing experience to watch him perform his craft, it was difficult feeling like your own wrestling journey could, in any way, be relatable to Jeff’s journey because he seemed to be the wrestling poster boy for perfection. I mean, if it was one thing most people would feel confident that they were light-years BETTER than Jeff McGinness at, it would be failure and struggling. Most people watched in awe.
With that said, Jeff was gracious enough to chronicle a humbling experience he had while practicing for the USA Junior World Team. This story is not only clarity that Jeff McGinness is indeed human, but also very inspirational and a great source of motivation, for no matter how good you may be at the sport of wrestling, you should never stop learning and/or working hard, for there’s always going to be someone out there who can bring you back down to earth.
Here is what Jeff McGinness had to say about a humbling, yet valuable experience he endured on the wrestling mat when he encountered Soviet and Russian, Sergei Beloglazov… a 6X World Champion and 2X Olympic Champion.
JEFF MCGINNESS: In 1992, as a high school junior coming off a Junior World Title, I had the “pleasure” of working out and wrestling live with Sergei Beloglazov.Mind you, I had no idea who he was at the time as I was matched up with him at the USA World Team member practices in between sessions at the NCAA wrestling tournament in Oklahoma.In the previous session I was matched up with word team member Cory Baze from OSU with his coach, Joe Seay, watching on.Honestly, it wasn’t a fair matchup for Baze as I had already grown out of the 114.5 weight I won a world title at and was up to 125.Baze, by comparison, was barely 105.5.Shortly into the live session, and after his coach was already questioning the matchup, Baze shot in and I caught him in a chest wrap. I faked one way, went the other, and his elbow snapped.Coach Seay was not happy, wondered who the hell I was, and banned me from working out with any of the other team members.
Next day I show up and my personal and club coach, Keith Mourlam, says I got a “guy” for you to wrestle with but he doesn’t speak much English.The guy, whom I later find out is Sergei, wanders over with some 1985 looking sweat outfit and some vintage torn wrestling shoes.In my head I go “this shouldn’t be too bad…..”We start drilling, as any practice would, in rounds of 3 and slowly working into it.However, unlike normal, things quickly escalated.After about 5-6 round I found myself struggling to get to and finish my moves.I shoot, he counters and scores.He shoots, changes to some weird arm tie, and bounces me on my head.This goes on for a good while so I figure we had just transitioned to going “live” so I start to pour it on ….. as if. Things go from bad to worse quickly with everything I do being turned into a counter attack, a throw, or a roll. The “guy” then starts working on a two on one series. He grabs my arm, I post, he scores.He grabs my arm, I sag, he scores,He grabs my arm, I attack top hand, he scores.This goes on for a good 5 minutes with no move he hits being the same. Everything is seamless, flawless and built on everything I did to try to counter.Finally, after about 15 minutes he pauses, looks at me, and says “break and live now?”This is where things get a little blurry for me but I did score ……. Once.
Flash forward to my freshman year at Iowa and the tryouts/coaches clinic with a guest clinician, Sergei Beloglazov, showing a two on one series.Yep, between the drilling and live he hit everyone of the 20+ finish variations he showed on me a couple years prior.Certainly an amazing and humbling experience.
Sometimes when the topic of “who is the best wrestler to never win state,” “who had the unluckiest draws at state” or “who was the wrestler who was closest to winning state, but fell short,” etc. is mentioned, it sparks a great deal of heated debate with people. I’ve probably been present when this topic was mentioned hundreds of times and if I’m not in a chatty mood, I know exactly how to end the conversation quickly. I will just say, “Connor Ryan…end of story.” Because there really isn’t an argument against him being the most unlucky and agonizingly closest to winning a state title, but didn’t.
Connor Ryan made the state finals every year in HS. And he placed 2nd all four years. He may be the only one who has ever done this and if there are others, that list is short. One may assume without knowing better that Connor was a textbook choke artist who couldn’t seal the deal, but this is so far from the truth with Connor Ryan that it is outright ridiculous…And here is why:
This is the list of names, in chronological order (Freshman year to Senior year) of who defeated Connor Ryan in the state finals in HS:
9th Grade: Cory Clark, SE Polk
10th Grade: Cory Clark, SE Polk
11th Grade: Jack Hathaway, IC West
12th Grade: John Meeks, DM Roosevelt
Unbelievable, isn’t it? For those of you who don’t know, Cory Clark and John Meeks were both 4X state champions. And Jack Hathaway only won 1 title, but was elite. In fact, he was the only guy to ever defeat Cory Clark in HS. Plus he wrestled D1 at Oregon State and did well there. If you were to add the amount of state championships Connor’s state finals matchups had, that number would be 13. And when he was defeated by Meeks as a Senior, that was Meeks’s 4th title. So when Meeks experienced the joy of receiving his standing ovation from the fans at Wells Fargo after winning his 4th title, Connor Ryan had to endure the fact that he lost his 4th consecutive finals match… He was on the total opposite side of the spectrum in that moment and if you were aware of what the situation was for Connor when it happened, you’d be borderline heartless to not feel just a little bit bad for the guy. That is just excruciatingly heartbreaking, which is unfortunate, for I watched Connor compete since he was a youth wrestler and he was a brilliant wrestler. He could have very well won 2-3 titles if he were in a different era.
Besides that elephant in the room when it comes to Connor Ryan’s wrestling career, there are some other cool things. His father, Shawn Ryan wrestled for Northwest Missouri State, so Connor and his younger brother Logan (state champ) were likely born into wrestling. Connor was a key figure in helping the Bettendorf wrestling team do well in the team standings. In fact, Bettendorf won state as a team in 2012, Connor’s Senior year. Connor’s played a huge role in this, for not only was he a state runner-up, but he was also a team captain, a title he occupied for 2 years in his HS tenure. He also achieved very high grades, for he was named to the All-Academic team a couple years as well.
Connor went on to wrestle for the Iowa Hawkeyes in college and had some decent moments there while competing. He was 10-5 as a Freshman and 25-7 in his 2nd and finals full season and raked in a couple-few open tournament championships. Definitely nothing to scoff at, especially at that level.
Connor, if you read this, much respect on a GREAT wrestling career. Not to mention, HUGE props on always believing in yourself and never running from any competition, no matter who they were, what they had accomplished or what the scenario. Most people would have dodged the competition at least one of those years if they were in your shoes. Always be proud of that.
2009 3A 103
1. Cory Clark, Fr., Southeast Polk
2. Connor Ryan, Fr., North Scott
3. Jack Hathaway, Fr., Iowa City West
4. Greg Keating, Sr., Linn-Mar
5. Anthony Vaughn, Sr., Des Moines Lincoln
6. Tyler Willers, Fr., Pleasant Valley
7. Devon Feltus, Sr., Burlington
8. Johnny Jaeger, Fr., Dowling Catholic
2010 3A 112
1st: Cory Clark, Southeast Polk SO 41- 0
2nd: Connor Ryan, North Scott Eldridge SO 34- 3
3rd: Jack Hathaway, Iowa City West SO 45- 3
4th: Brandon Thomas, Valley West Des Moines JR 38- 7
5th: Tanner Werner, Waverly-Shell Rock JR 36- 6
6th: Stephen Shaffer, Johnston SR 31- 14
7th: Jake Agnitsch, Ames JR 37- 9
8th: Nick Sulentic, Lewis Central FR 37- 9
2011 3A 125
1st: Jack Hathaway, Iowa City West JR 50- 3
2nd: Connor Ryan, Bettendorf JR 26- 8
3rd: Tanner Werner, Waverly-Shell Rock SR 36- 2
4th: Kyle Larson, Valley West Des Moines JR 43- 3
5th: Tyler Feller, Lewis Central SR 44- 10
6th: Tyler McWilliams, Sioux City East JR 42- 7
7th: Caleb McDonald, Dowling Catholic W Des Moines SR 27- 14
8th: Dakota Gray, Fort Madison JR 30- 8
2012 3A 138
1st:- John Meeks of Des Moines, Roosevelt 45-0, Sr.
2nd: Connor Ryan of Bettendorf 39-5, Sr
3rd: Jack Randall of Spencer 45-4, Sr.
4th: Dakota Gray of Fort Madison 36-6, Sr.
5th: Nate Harms of Urbandale 31-5, Sr.
6th: Alex Caldwell of Clinton 40-8, So.
7th: Kegan Wakefield of Iowa City, West) 26-8, Jr.
8th: Spencer Derifield of Waverly-Shell Rock 35-16, So.
Below is the information for the 17thAnnual High Altitude Wrestling “Winter Break” Training Camps! For those of you who are unfamiliar with High Altitude Wrestling Club, it is run by Coach Chad Tunink. Chad was a placer for Perry in HS and was a D3 AA for Buena Vista. He has a proven successful track record spanning back decades. In the 2005-2010-ish range, they won a plethora of state championships as a club and they even won Tulsa Nationals one year. Here are some incredibly impressive stats about High Altitude and the wrestlers they have produced:
1245 State Qualifiers
889 State Medalists
320 State Finalists
179 State Champions
66 National Champions
HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING :
333 State Qualifiers
211 State Medalists
69 State Finalists
34 State Champions
1 – 4 x State Champion (Jake Marlin)
70 All Americans
13 National Champions
The results speak for themselves. These camps and the High Altitude Club are worth checking out if you have a kid who wrestles and wants to get to the next level in their development.
“High Altitude Wrestling Club has helped to not only make me the wrestler I am today, but also the man I am today! The technique works at all levels, and it will help you excel in the sport. The coaching is great, and the workout partners are tough. I couldn’t ask for a better club!”
Jake Marlin: 4X Iowa High School State Champ, Former Iowa HS Record Holder for Most Pins
HERE IS THE CAMP INFO:
17thAnnual High Altitude Wrestling “Winter Break” Training Camps!
Dec 27th: Takedown Camp
9am-Noon or 1:30-4:30
Dec 28th: Escapes/Reversals Camp
9am-Noon or 1:30-4:30
Dec 29th:Slideby / Secondary Offense
Dec 30th: Tilts & Turns Camp
Dec 31st:Beginners Only Camp (NEW)
5548 NW 2nd St, Unit 105,
Des Moines, IA 50313
$45 per camp
$30 for beginners only camp
(There are no refunds just camp credit toward future HAWC Camps/Clinics)
Grades: PreK – 12
Pre-Register online or mail in form with payment!Checks payable to: High Altitude Wrestling
Outline:Technique, drilling, LIVE (situations & wrestling)
HAWC Gear Store:
We have a gear store for anyone wanting HAWC merchandise.
Parents:We have a waiting room with 10 comfy chairs, TV with Netflix, complimentary water, popcorn and wifi for those who wish to stay!
Cody Swim was a 4X placer who was never more than one loss away from winning it. All 4 years, he lost only one match at state, placing 3-2-3-3. And he was always in brackets that had some of the most respected names in the game at the time. He is, in my opinion, one of the best wrestlers of that entire era that he wrestled in, which is saying a lot considering some of the absolute wilderbeasts that came from his era despite never winning the state tournament. I mean, the kid only had 7 career losses (one was from a slam call), which means that he only had 3 regular season losses ever…I know a lot of people (and I am one of the most guilty ones) place a lot of emphasis on the state tournament, for it is undoubtedly the most prestigious tournament of any HS kid’s HS season, but when it comes down to it… state is only one tournament… and in the other 140 or so matches he had outside of state, he was defeated only 3 times… incredible.
And he went on to have a nice collegiate career at Grand View and is now in the process of putting together a very respectable coaching resume. In 2019, I met some of the guys he coached from Des Moines North-Hoover while covering wrestling for The Predicament and a couple of those guys were among the most impressive individuals I interviewed that season, in which there were a couple hundred. And they all have great things to say about Cody. He’s been a great influence on and off the mat.
2007 3A 112
1. Nick Trizzino, Jr., Bettendorf
2. Jake Ballweg, Fr., Waverly-Shell Rock
3. Cody Swim, Fr., Indianola
4. Brandon Briggs, So., Keokuk
5. Nathan Vaske, So., West Delaware
6. Elijah Rivera, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington
7. Cody Luther, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
8. Alex Gonzales, Jr., Clinton
2008 3A 119
1. Jacob Ballweg, So., Waverly-Shell Rock
2. Cody Swim, So., Indianola
3. George Ivanov, Sr., CB Lewis Central
4. Travis Evans, Sr., Ankeny
5. Craig Johnson, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
6. Alex Gonzales, Sr., Clinton
7. Stephen Blayer, Jr., Iowa City High
8. Kyler Risher, Fr., Oskaloosa
2009 3A 130 1. Bret Baumbach, Sr., CB Lewis Central
2. Tommy Mirocha, Sr., Davenport Central
3. Cody Swim, Jr., Indianola
4. Gabe Moreno, Fr., Urbandale
5. Ben Cash, Sr., Des Moines Roosevelt
6. Jake Rizzio, Jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
7. Luke Pint, Sr., Waverly-Shell Rock
8. Val Flores, So., Mason City
2010 3A 145
1st: Cody Caldwell, Waverly-Shell Rock JR 25- 0
2nd: Gustavo Martinez, Marshalltown SR 26- 10
3rd: Cody Swim, Indianola SR 38- 2
4th: Trevor Duke, Burlington SR 29- 4
5th: Brett Sams, Oskaloosa SR 34- 5
6th: Sean DeGoey, Des Moines East SR 31- 14
7th: Dailey Johnson, Linn-Mar Marion SR 36- 7
8th: Tyler Maxwell, Glenwood SR 32- 10
Here is Cody Swim’s story told by Cody Swim himself!
PINDOX: What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
– I wrestled for Team Porcelli for a few years then wrestled for High Altitude Wrestling Club in middle school and high school. I competed for Indianola in high school and Grand View University in college.
PINDOX: What year did you graduate?
– High school – 2010, College – 2015
PINDOX: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
– When I was in Kindergarten I came home from school with a sign up sheet and told my parents I wanted to do it. At the time I didn’t really know what wrestling was but I did know what WWF (WWE now) was and thought that was cool. No one in my family wrestled before me.
PINDOX: Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
– No, I do not. I have a 4 year old son who may end up wrestlingif he chooses to.
PINDOX: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
– I placed at state a few times in my younger years and started picking up the pace in middle school and placed 3rd at state in 8th grade and won the Tulsa kickoff in 9th grade. I wrestled Tanner Weathermen from Ballard, Brown from Oskaloosa, and Nick Moore a lot when I was younger.
PINDOX: What was your record in HS?
– 158-7 *( 1 loss came from a single leg being called a slam my freshman year. It was a close dual with Iowa City High and the kid laid down to get the 6 team points. Luckily I got to wrestle the same kid at state 1st round).
PINDOX: What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
– The biggest challenge was the state tournament and then cutting weight throughout the season. I believe I put too much pressure on myself when it came to the state tournament. I was close a bunch of times but wasn’t able to accomplish what I wanted. However, once I lost I was able to refocus and come back better. For weight cutting I didn’t really overcome that challenge until I learned how to do it the right way. Weight cutting definitely had lasting effects on my relationship with wrestling. I was anywhere from 13 – 17 lbs over the day after a weigh in. If I could redo it I wouldn’t cut weight and just focus on getting better and stronger.
PINDOX: How would you describe your wrestling style?
– I would say my style was more of an aggressive style but also I wanted to be as technical as possible. I had the mindset to make sure my opponent didn’t want to wrestle against me again whether I won or lost.
PINDOX: How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
– There were a few guys I went back and forth with. Gustavo Martinez, Gabe Moreno, Nick Trizzino and Ben Cash.
PINDOX: Who was your most influential coach?
– I would say I had a lot of influential people and coaches throughout my career. As a youth wrestler Chuck Tyler, Chad Walker, and my dad put in a lot of time and effort into my wrestling. Middle school Coach Rogalla, Anthony Porcelli, and Chad Tunink all helped me a lot. In high school Matt Young and Chad Tunink also helped me a lot. In college I wrestled under Nick Mitchell and he definitely influenced me. That guy could travel the country and be a motivational speaker.
PINDOX: Was your team competitive in HS/college?
– In high school we always made it state duals and did well. I believe we won districts every year and won the CIML often as well. In college we were very competitive at Grand View.
PINDOX: Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
– There were many but a few of the guys I loved to watch and learn from were John Smith, Mark Perry and Johnny Hendricks.
PINDOX: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
– Jake Marlin
PINDOX: Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?
– I tried to be like Mark Perry on top and John Smith on my feet.
PINDOX: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?
– John Smith vs. Spencer Lee
PINDOX: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
– All of my high school wrestlers first. Then it goes David Taylor, Bo Nickal, Jason Nolf, Gable Steveson, and Yianni.
PINDOX: What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
– Everything, but for some reason ACDC and Tupac really got me going.
PINDOX:What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
– Junior year at state losing in the quarterfinals to Brett Baumbach. We were both in the same scoring position. My takedown didn’t get called, but when he was in the same position his did. That was tough to swallow, but when it comes down to it I shouldn’t have left it up to a call and Brett Baumach is a great wrestler!
PINDOX: If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
– I wouldn’t cut weight.
PINDOX: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
– Winning our first ever national title at Grand View for duals and the tournament.
PINDOX: Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
– Nick Trizzino, Jacob Ballweg, Brett Bumbach, Gustavo Martinez, Gable Moreno, Ben Cash, Tommy Mirocha.
PINDOX: Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
– I started wrestling all year toward high school.
PINDOX: How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
– Thats a tough call. Wrestling is constantly evolving. But I feel like the guys today would get the better of the guys way back in the day.
PINDOX: Did you wrestle after high school?
– Yes at Grand View.
PINDOX: What other sports did you play?
– I played baseball until 6th grade and Football until High School.
PINDOX: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
– Spending time with my son and family. I also enjoy playing with my rottweiler Ragnar, fishing, and working out.
PINDOX: How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
It feels extremely good to give back to the sport and community. This sport has shaped my life. You learn so many valuable lessons that translate to the real world. Wrestling helps you endure and overcome tough situations. If I can help mold our youth into contributing citizens of society through wrestling, then I am happy.
PINDOX: How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
– Wrestling has taught me so much about life. Like I said previously it really helps you get through tough situations. It has taught me to never give up and to chase my dreams. It has instilled hard work and respect that has definitely benefited me. Wrestling has made me a better person.
PINDOX: What do you do now?
– I teach High School SPED at Interstate 35 High School. I am also the Head Wrestling Coach, Head Middle School football coach, and the football social media director of operations under the legendary Mike Stuart.
PINDOX: Are you still involved with wrestling?
– Yes. I am the head coach at Interstate 35 and I also offer numerous camps throughout the summer.
PINDOX: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
– Trust the process and your coaches. Work hard but also have fun. Lastly, don’t cut weight. Focus on getting better and stronger.
PINDOX: Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
– I’ve floated the idea of doing the Stalemates Street League.
PINDOX: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
– I’d like to thank all of the coaches and past/current wrestlers I’ve coached. They all have had an impact on my life and I thank them for that. I’d also like to thank my family and girlfriend for always supporting me. I’m a pretty lucky guy to be surrounded by so many great people!
PINDOX: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
– Lastly, I’d like to thank Damon Bryan. I share a classroom with him in the high school and I know he’d be upset if I didn’t mention his name.
Some Interesting Things About The 2008 Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament; 3A 145
NOTE: I’m sure I’m missing a ton of stuff in this one… I need to put more stuff together for this age group (2005-2012 range), but I haven’t as much as I’d like to, for I don’t have as many of the event programs as I do the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, as odd as that is. Whatever I am leaving out, post it in the comments and I’ll try to update the post when I can. Also, if any of you have “filled out” brackets from the early 2000’s until present day, by all means, send them my way if you’d like!
-The match between St. John and Gadson was anti-climatic, but really cool in retrospect considering how bright both of their future’s were at that time. Gadson at that time was still young… Just a Sophomore and was obviously still fine-tuning his skill set into what it ultimately became. St. John was a seasoned veteran by the time he was a Junior in 2008 and his expertise-level technical skills had spectators in awe by this point.
-Both of these guys had coaches in the corner who were D1 legends in their own competitive days… St John was coached by Mark Reiland. Reiland was a 2X state champion out of Eagle Grove HS and a 2X AA/1X NCAA Champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the early 90’s. Gadson had his father, the late and great Willie Gadson coaching him in his corner. Willie was a 2X AA for the Iowa State Cyclones in 1975 and 1976.
-There were three 2X state champions in this bracket. This was Derek St. John’s 2nd of 2 titles. Kyven was just a Sophomore that year and would win state as a Junior and Senior. Michael Kelly from Cedar Falls placed 4th and would win titles the following two years as a Junior and Senior.
-There were 5 total state finalists in this bracket. As noted, St. John, Gadson and Kelly were finalists. Along with them, were Joe Trizzino of Bettendorf and Spencer Belieu of Indianola. Both of those guys were eliminated in the round of 12 in 2008, but both of those guys would wrestle in the finals in 2010. Trizzino was runner-up to Kelly as a Senior at 3A 152 in 2010. As a Senior, BeLieu was runner-up to Nick Moore of IC West at 3A 160 in 2010. This was Moore’s 4th title.
-There were 2 future NCAA D1 National Champions in this bracket; St. John and Gadson. 2008 3A 145 lb. champion, Derek St. John from Iowa City West won a D1 championship for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2013 at 157 lbs. The runner-up in this bracket, Kyven Gadson out of Waterloo West won the 197 lb. D1 NCAA Title in 2015 for the Iowa State Cyclones.
-There were at least 3 future Iowa Hawkeyes in this bracket. They were: Derek St. John, Michael Kelly and Joe Trizzino. St. John was a 4X AA/1X National Champ and Michael Kelly was a National Qualifier for the Hawkeyes.
-There were 2 future Iowa State Cyclone affiliates in this bracket. Of course, the name Kyven Gadson is basically synonymous with “Iowa State Wrestling” at this point, for he was a 3X AA/1X Champion for them as well as some of the work he has done with them since his days of competing. Along with him , Derek St. John is also affiliated with Iowa State wrestling, for he has been on their staff as an assistant coach for the past 4-5 years.
During the night of districts in 1969, Ron McDonald of Morning Sun was presumably feeling as if he had hit rock bottom in his life, for he fell just short of qualifying for the state tournament as a Junior in HS by placing 3rd at districts. Fast forward a week and Ron McDonald was presumably feeling on top of the world, for he defied logic in a couple of big ways and somehow managed to find himself standing on top of the podium for the 1A 103 division…at the State Tournament in Waterloo.
Most of you are likely confused as to how Ron McDonald could manage to win state despite not qualifying. Ron’s story is proof that no matter how much of a negative outcome there may have been for you at districts, that it is imperative to stay at the top of your game whether you qualify or not, for you never know when things will fall into place for you, even if your world is shattered into pieces. Ron McDonald did not know he was wrestling at the State until the Thursday leading into the tournament. One of his opponents who placed ahead of him was declared unable to compete at the state tournament, which opened up a spot for McDonald to compete. And as the well-prepared, well-coached athlete that Ron McDonald was, he came into the tournament ready to go, for despite falling short at districts, he still kept himself in shape just in case. And it paid off, for not only did Ron win every match at the state tournament, but defied logic again in the finals when he came back from trailing 4-0 to secure the state championship. He won a state championship, partially thanks to his heart and unbelievable gas tank. Had he thrown in the towel and quit working hard after falling short at districts, who knows if he would have even placed at state, let alone made the comeback that he did. With this state championship, Ron became the 2nd ever state champion to come out of Morning Sun HS, with the first being Al Baxter. And with Nick Hobbs’s contributions at the tournament that year by placing 3rd at 120 lbs., Morning Sun also managed to place 3rd as a team in the A Division. Pretty cool considering Morning Sun was one of the smallest programs in the entire state to actually have wrestling.
Ron McDonald would place 2nd as a Senior in 1970 the following year and was a big contributor to Morning Sun finishing 3rd at state as a team again. To date, he is the only wrestler in Iowa HS history to place 3rd at districts and win state.
PinDox Profile: Dave Durrell; North Polk, Alleman ‘81 (RIP)
In 1978, a Freshman named Dave Durrell from North Polk, Alleman came into the Iowa HS State Wrestling Tournament at 1A 126 sporting a 24-3 record. He was defeated by a Senior named Luther Beenken from Reinbeck first round and Beenken went on to place 3rd. I do not believe Durrell had a wrestle back after being beaten, but nevertheless, he did not place that year. However, the experience was unquestionably valuable, for that was the only year of HS where Durrell did not make the podium. In fact, he spent the next 3 years occupying one of the top 2 spots on that podium.
The next year as a Sophomore, Durrell broke out in a big way at the state tournament. He came in with a 22-5 record and drew future state champion, Mike Johnson of Terril first round and won the match. This was his first of 3 consecutive wins at the tournament, for he made the finals where he fell to returning state champion, Mark Stevens if Northwood-Kensett.
1979 1A 132
1. Mark Stevens, Sr., Northwood
2. Dave Durrell, So., Alleman-North Polk
3. Monte Dill, Sr., Morning Sun
4. Brad Bitcon, Sr., Traer-North Tama
5. Doug Manley, Sr., Akron
6. Brian Alger, Jr., Lisbon
As a Junior at 1A 132 in 1980, Durrell came into state wrestling with an undefeated record of 29-0 and started out by defeating Leroy Green of Iowa School For The Deaf in Council Bluffs by the score of 11-9. He then dominated his next two matches to advance to the state finals. He defeated Duane Grave of George in the quarterfinals by the score of 13-0 and followed this up with a fall over Mitch Moyer of Janesville in the semifinals. He was stopped in the finals by Mike Johnson of Terril. This was the same wrestler who Durrell defeated in the first round the previous season. Johnson was on a roll that year.
1980 1A 132 1. Mike Johnson, Sr., Terril
2. Dave Durrell, Jr., Alleman, North Polk
3. Hank Drake, Jr., Eldora
4. Mitch Moyer, Sr., Janesville
5. KC Kersten, Sr., Logan-Magnolia
6. Leroy Green, Jr., Iowa School for the Deaf, Council
As a Senior in 1981, Durrell won some huge matches before reaching the finals for the 3rd consecutive year. He beat Keevin Shaffer of Lisbon in the quarterfinals. Shaffer would win state the following year and 5th in 1981. Durrell defeated Al Weber of Woodward-Granger in the semifinals. Weber placed 3rd the year before and would go on to place 3rd in this tournament as well. This set up a finals match with Leroy Green of The Iowa School For The Deaf in Council Bluffs. This was a rematch of the first round from the previous season in which Durrell won 11-9. That’s two seasons in a row where Durrell met a guy in the finals who he had battled first round the previous season. Kind of crazy. Durrell would be victorious in this one as well, securing his permanent status as a 3X state finalist and 1X state champion. He is one of two state champions to come out of North Polk HS to this day.
1981 1A 138
1. David Durrell, Sr., Alleman-North
2. Leroy Green, Sr., Iowa School for the Deaf-Council
3. Al Weber, Sr., Woodward Granger
4. Kelly McGovern, Jr., Riceville
5. Keevin Shaffer, Jr., Lisbon
6. Joe McKinney, Sr., Waukee
Dave Durrell ended up attending Iowa State University and lived in California for 20 years with his wife and children. Sadly, in September of 2019, Dave Durrell passed away at the age of 56. Iowa HS wrestling lost an early-80’s legend that day.
PinDox Profile: Tyler Foubert; Tri County-Montezuma/Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont ‘14/William Penn
I wrote this one about 8 months ago and forgot to post it. Tyler Foubert was a 4X State Qualifier/3X State Placer/1X State Champion who competed for Tri-County-Montezuma and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in HS. Tyler was very good from a young age on the youth circuit, for I know he won his share of USA, GSS and AAU titles prior to HS. He was always on the elite Iowa team for youth national level dual tournaments. And his success at the youth level carried over to HS.
Tyler wrestled his first 3 seasons in HS for Tri-County-Montezuma. He placed 7th as a Freshman at 1A 140 and 3rd as a Sophomore at 2A 145. As a Sophomore, he had a pretty close match with Senior, Robert Walker of Martensdale-St. Mary’s in the semifinals. Walker beat Foubert 11-8, but that was pretty close for Robert Walker at the time, for when he was a Senior that year and undefeated on the season. In fact, when Walker won his finals match, that was his 3rd state championship. So that was an impressive showing for Foubert, despite the loss. In Tyler’s Junior season, he qualified for state, but did not place.
Tyler competed for Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont as a Senior in HS. In Tyler’s Senior season, he was straight-up dominant at the state tournament. Get this… in his first two matches at the state tournament in 2014, he recorded a :13 second pin in the first match and and :29 second pin in his quarterfinals match. He only had to wrestle :42 seconds to make the semifinals match at state… That’s incredible. Tyler won his semifinal match 8-2 over Wyatt Lewis from CB St. Albert’s and proceeded to win his finals match via Major Decision by beating Kallan Schmeizer of Southwest Valley by the score of 14-3. Eddyville-BF won the team title that year!
Tyler went on to wrestle collegiately for William Penn where I know he was a letter-winner at least a couple seasons, I believe.
This guy was an outstanding wrestler. Fun to watch.
1st: Robert Walker, Martensdale-St. Marys JR 46- 0
2nd: Nolan Oviatt, Logan-Magnolia SR 44- 3
3rd: Skyler Rice, Emmetsburg/RA SR 28- 5
4th: Wes Prill, Pleasantville SR 39- 9
5th: Tait Simpson, Lisbon JR 36- 4
6th: Braiden Vrzak, Turkey Valley Jackson Jct SR 35- 13
7th: Tyler Foubert, Tri-County-Montezuma FR 48- 7
8th: Matt Steffen, Kingsley-Pierson SR 33- 9
2012 2A 145
1st: Robert Walker of Martensdale-St Marys 30-0 Sr.
2nd: Jake Slocum of West Branch 44-5 Sr.
3rd: Tyler Foubert of Tri-County-Montezuma 48-6 So
4th: Ben Huber of Hudson 46-6 Sr.
5th: Teddie Harvey of St. Edmond, Fort Dodge 30-4 Jr
6th: Grant Henderson of Alburnett 41-6 Jr
7th: Spencer Kelly of Rockford 47-6 Sr.
8th: Mike Novotny of Underwood 40-5 Sr.
PinDox Profile: Steve Knipp; Waterloo Columbus HS/Georgia/UNI/Waterloo East (Coaching)
Steve Knipp is a native of one of Iowa’s wrestling hotbeds… Waterloo. He is the oldest of 7 brothers; all who wrestle. Steve went to Waterloo Columbus and that is where he wrestled in HS. After HS, he wrestled collegiately for a couple squads. He started out at the University of Georgia and then competed at UNI.
After coaching, Knipp went into coaching and did a tremendous job with it. Knipp was the head wrestling coach at East Waterloo High School for 26 years, leading his wrestlers to the Iowa state team title in 1983. During his tenure he coached 33 state place winners and eight state champions.
And to make the is man more impressive, he is also very accomplished and respected for his volunteer work. Knipp is best known for his work as a volunteer at local, state, and national wrestling events. USA Wrestling named him Kids Person of the Year in 2002 and National Events Person of the Year in 2007. While assuming these roles, he developed a reputation for ensuring tournaments in the area were well run and properly staffed. Knipp received the Russ Smith Community Impact Award at the Glen Brand Hall of Fame ceremony in 2010 for his contributions in the sport of wrestling.
Knipp is a member of a few exclusive groups in which entrance is determined by your ongoing and consistent success. He’s a member of the East High Hall Of Fame, The Battle of Waterloo Hall Of Fame and the Glen Brand National Wrestling Hall Of Fame/Dan Gable Museum.
Simply put, Knipp’s influence has been so impactful and versatile, that Iowa HS wrestling would not be the same as it is today, without Steve Knipp.
If we are gonna talk about some of the best guys from the 80’s to never win state, you would not be doing your due diligence in researching this topic if you were to leave out Eric Hansen of Perry HS. Eric Hansen defeated some guys who went on to become some of our states most legendary and notorious wrestlers. Wait til’ you read this…
As a Sophomore in HS, Eric came into the state tournament at 2A 98 lbs. with a 27-1 record and defeated one of my home school’s best ever wrestlers who never placed, Brett Andrews of Mepo. Andrews had a 26-1 record coming in himself… big win for Hansen. He made the semis when he defeated Tom Dumbaugh of Mount Vernon, but was defeated in a close 4-2 match by future 3X state champ and D1 National Champ, Jason Kelber of State Center-West Marshall. Eric went on to place 5th that year.
1983 2A 98
1. Scott Mangrich, So., Don Bosco
2. Jason Kelber, Fr., State Center-West Marshall
3. Mark Pogge, So., Tri-Center Neola
4. Brett Sweeney, So., Osage
5. Eric Hansen, So., Perry
6. Mick Harding, So., Emmetsburg
As a Junior in HS, Hansen came into state with a 25-1 record and was at 2A 98 lbs. again. He made the semifinals that year and beat a couple of absolute hammers. First round, he defeated a Freshman from Sheldon who I’m sure a lot of you have probably heard of before. His name is Tom Brands and Hansen won the match 11-2. Brands was young at the time and clearly hadn’t reached his potential at the time, but come on…it was Tom Brands. That was a huge win. Brands went on to attain legendary status for his accomplishments on the mat and now via coaching. He is the current Head Coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Hansen followed this up with a win over Johnston’s Bill Marlin. Marlin was 26-0 coming into the match. In the semis, Hansen was defeated by 2X state champion, Terry Schmuecker of Benton Community. Eric fought back hard and won two more nice matches to place 3rd.
1984 2A 98
1. Terry Schmuecker, Jr., Van
2. Skip Steiert, So., State Center-West Marshall
3. Eric Hansen, Jr., Perry
4. Jeff Hunt, Sr., Glenwood
5. Gary Foster, So., Camanche
6. Travis Frush, Fr., LaPorte City
As a Senior, Hansen went up a weight to 2A 105. And oddly enough, guess who he drew first round? You guessed it, Tom Brands from Sheldon. As convincingly as he defeated Brands the year before, one would assume that he wouldn’t have much trouble in this match, but this was obviously a turning point year for Brands, for Tom won the match 8-3. Tom Brands went on to make the finals, so Hansen was able to wrestle back and he did so in admirable fashion, for he fought his way all the way back for 3rd place. In the consolations, he defeated yet another future Hawkeye legend…. Chad Zaputil of Centerville. Zaputil would go on to become a 3X finalist/2X State Champion and would become won of the most decorated Iowa Hawkeyes of all time, becoming a 3X NCAA runner-up. Obviously yet another huge win on Hansen’s resume.
1985 2A 105
Jason Kelber, Jr., State
2. Tom Brands, So., Sheldon
3. Eric Hansen, Sr., Perry
4. Ted Henderson, Sr., Glenwood
5. Matt Kaldenberg, Jr., Winterset
6. Paul Petry, So., Hudson
Eric Hansen finished his HS career placing 5th, 3rd and 3rd. Incredible, considering who he was faced with year-in, year-out.
In December of 2020, Eric Hansen passed away. I don’t know how or any details, but his wrestling legacy should not be looked over nor forgotten. A Perry HS legend.
I watched Paul Glynn II compete on the wrestling mat, pretty much from the time he began wrestling all the way until the conclusion of his career. He and my brother, Shea wrestled probably 20. That’s a kid who never failed to make consistent progressions every year that he competed.Every year he made strides. When I first saw him as a Pee-Wee wrestler, he was a “fringe-placer.” One of those guys who would place in the 6-8th range or sometimes be beaten out. By the time he was a Senior in HS, he was one of the best pound for pound wrestlers in his graduating class and has a legit case for being one of the best wrestlers of all time to not win a state title. And he had a tenure for the Iowa Hawkeyes where he was their starter, so he obviously continued to prosper in college, for simply making that roster is a testament to someone’s skill level and toughness.
There is one year that sticks out to me in terms of it being a turning point in Paul Glynn’s career. When he was a 7th or 8th grader, I saw him have one of the worst weekends of his life at state freestyle and Greco. He took some ugly losses to guys that should have never beaten him and he was incredibly upset about it. I don’t know if that bad weekend had an impact on him or not, but I always thought so, for he was at a different level the following season and never looked back. Those guys who beat him that terrible weekend at Freco State would never come close to beating him again. It seemed like his foot was on the accelerator from that point on.
I always liked running into the Glynn family at wrestling events. They were always cordial, polite and professional. There was never any hostility from them, even in the most heated of matches. They always treated us with the utmost respect. And when you would converse with them, they always asked how you were doing and always offered to help out if in need. I don’t think Paul Glynn Sr. ever forgot the name of someone he met at a wrestling event or whatever it may have been that was discussed with him. It’s always refreshing, knowing that someone is actually listening to you when you talk to them.
What is interesting about the Glynn father-and-son duo is that they both had similar and rather unfortunate conclusions to their tenures wrestling for the Iowa Hawkeyes.Paul Glynn Sr. was ranked 2nd in the nation for the Hawkeyes and lost his varsity spot in the last week of challenge matches to Brad Penrith, who went on to become a National Champion. Paul Glynn II was the 133 lb. starter for the Hawkeyes his Sophomore year and the projected 133 lb. starter for the remainder of his career until he lost his spot to Austin Desanto, whotransferred in Paul’s Junior year and is now a multiple AA.Both situations obviously unfortunate for them, but on the bright side, they have so much to be proud of just being on that team, and they both undoubtedly played roles in the success the starters had via working out/practicing and just being supportive in general… which from my experiences with the Glynn’s, is the way they naturally are (supportive).
Paul Glynn…A GREAT wrestler and a very intelligent, insightful person. Here is his story!!!
PinDox: What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
– I wrestled for Bettendorf my whole life. I wrestled in the Bettendorf wrestling club and young guns throughout middle school. In high school, I went to Big Game wrestling club and was mainly coached by Joey Slaton in the offseason.
PinDox: What year did you graduate?
-I graduated in 2015
PinDox: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
-My dad got me into wrestling once I could start walking. He was the main reason why I became a wrestler.
PinDox: Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
-My dad wrestled and my uncle Mike did as well. My dad won the Iowa High school state tournament as a Senior and my uncle Mike got 4th. My dad went on to wrestle under Dan Gable In the 80’s where they won five national titles while he was in college. My dad was ranked 2nd in the country as a senior and was eventually beat out by teammate Brad Penrith who then went on to win the Big Ten’s and NCAA championship.
PinDox: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
-I was always the kid who would qualify for state, but never had any real success as a kid. I played 4th in 7th grade and took 6th in 8th grade. My rivals growing up were Nolan Hellickson, Travis Willers, Hunter Washburn, Shea Swafford, Carter Happel, and Matt Wempen.
PinDox: What was your record in HS?
-Not sure on my exact record in High School but I believe I had it was something like 115-29.
PinDox: How did you place at state every year?
-I was on JV my first year of high school. My sophomore year I was a qualifier, my Junior year I took second to Alijah Jeffries, and my senior year I lose to Michael Zachary.
PinDox: What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
-There are so many moments in the sport of wrestling that gave me challenges and adversity and that is what makes this sport so great. You really find out who you are as a man and what you are made of. The top moments that really stick out to me while looking back at my career is my semi finals match at state my Junior year where I beat Michael Zachary to make my first state finals. In that moment, I had a lot of satisfaction. I had fallen short the year before and was on JV just two years before that. It took a lot of work and positive self talk to get there. In college, the big adversity I faced was when Austin Desanto transferred in my Junior year after I was the starter the year before. While most people would have transferred and switched schools, I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I wanted out of this sport and stuck it out at Iowa. That moment and event taught me to stick to your guns and fight for what you want. In the process of chasing the starting position at Iowa, I knew nothing was going to be guaranteed and it wasn’t going to be something easy. I was cutting a lot of weight to make 133. I remember going for runs at 9 at night on a Saturday night in college by myself, visualizing chasing down that spot. Nobody knew the work I was doing other than my roommate Michael Kemerer. I think what I am trying to say is that you learn to fall in love with the process in moments like that. There’s something exciting about chasing down something that is challenging and hard. At the end of the day, I fell short of beating out Desanto. But in the end, looking back, I know I gave it my all and because of Austin Desanto transferring in, it elevated me. And in the moments where I got to start my Junior and Senior year, I was ready.
PinDox: How would you describe your wrestling style?
-Passionate and Gritty. Someone who would fight for every point. I wasn’t the most talented or gifted, but when I went out on the mat I gave it everything I had.
PinDox: How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
-Brenden Gould from Assumption and Henry Pohlmeyer from Johnston. One guy that sticks out to me also is Nathan Sands. I ended up winning every match, but they were all super close. I think we wrestled 15 times in three years.
PinDox: Who was your most influential coach?
-My dad, Dan knight, Joe Slaton, And my college coaches. They all taught me so much not in my sport, but In life. I still keep in touch with most of them today.
PinDox: Was your team competitive in HS/college?
-Both high school and college teams were competing for the championship every year. My senior year in college, we went undefeated and won the Big 10’s. Unfortunately, our season was cut short because of Covid.
PinDox: Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
PinDox: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
PinDox: Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?
-That’s a tough question. Not really. Maybe Alex Meyer who was my teammate in college. We both had a lot of matches where we came back and won. Both of us grinded out matches and were gritty.
PinDox: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?
-My dad vs me. We always joke about who would have won.
PinDox: Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
-There’s so many to name. I take a lot of pride being from Iowa and all the kids I grew up wrestling with. Carter Happel and Nolan Hellickson sticks out to me a lot because we wrestled all the time in the off-season together. Another that I always looked up to in high school was Max Thomsen. He was extremely driven and always worked super hard. I always respected him for that. Besides that, everyone who I would wrestle on summer teams with.
PinDox: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
Michael Kemerer, Spencer Lee, Thomas Gilman, Alex Marinelli, and Jacob Warner. Pretty much any of my old teammates. I love those guys and want to see them do great things on the mat and in life.
PinDox: What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
-Anything that made me calm and fired up at the same time.
PinDox: What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
-My senior year state finals. I remember being in tears on the award stand and was made fun of a lot for that. But it broke my heart because I put in everything for that moment. Everything is earned in this sport and nothing is given. That’s what makes it great. There are no guarantees.
PinDox: If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
-Obviously there is stuff that you always reflect on. However, I would say nothing. I believe and accept that everything in my career shaped me and taught me lessons for a REASON. When I was wrestling, I had the decision then to make the choice to be as good as I could be. That’s why when looking back, I don’t wish I could go back and change anything in my career because I also know that I poured my heart into it.
PinDox: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
-Placing 5th at the midlands as a backup at the Midlands or beating Dylan Duncan from Illinois as a Junior. I say this because the year before he beat me 10-0 at the big tens. It showed how much I improved in one year. Also, beating Phillip Laux in my wrestle off as a sophomore. No one believed I was going to be able to beat him before the match.
PinDox: Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
-In high school it was Brendan should from Assumption, Carter Happel from Lisbon, Nolan Hellickson from SEP, Michael Zachary from Dowling, and Kade Brock from Oklahoma. I think I wrestled Kaid 10 plus times throughout highschool. In college it was Dylan Duncan from Illinois, Colin Valvideaz from Northwestern and Garret Pepple from Michigan State
PinDox: Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
PinDox: How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys from your dad’s day?
-I believe my generation of wrestling is truly something special but his was as well. With the way wrestling has evolved, I believe that my era would definitely win. However, the guys back then would have been studs today as well so it’s hard to say. Can’t give the old guys to much credit now.
PinDox: What stories do you remember hearing from your dad growing up about his wrestling career? What were some names you remember hearing about? Do you think his era was tough?
-His era was incredibly tough. So many good guys came from that time period. There are to many stories to bring up. He had multiple from high school and college that he would always tell me as a kid growing up. I really think that’s how I fell in love with the sport.
PinDox: How proud are you to be a 2nd generation Bettendorf Wrestling product?
-I am proud of that but always wanted to write my own story. I am super proud of my dads accomplishments, but this journey of wrestling was about writing my own story.
PinDox: How would you describe some of the personalities on the Iowa Hawkeye team you were a part of?
-To many to describe and go over. So many different personalities but love all those guys.
PinDox: How strong willed does a person need to be to make it through an entire college career as a Hawkeye wrestler, as you did?
-Extremely strong willed and passionate. I have a few guys I graduated with that never started a match and stuck with the program for five years. I respect the hell out of them.
PinDox: Did you wrestle after high school?
-Yes at Iowa.
PinDox: What sports did you play? How did you do in each of them?
-Growing up I played legit probably every sport. Soccer was by far my best and I ended up quitting in 8th grade to focus on wrestling.
PinDox: What are your favorite sports teams?
-Cardinals, Lakers, and the Raiders.
PinDox: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
-I loved to fish and do stuff outside.
PinDox: How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
-I love giving back to the sport. It has taught me so much and it’s hard to imagine my life without it.
PinDox: How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
-It has shaped me into being able to deal with hardships and adversity. It has also taught me how to have extremely good work ethic.
PinDox: What do you do now?
-Medical Sales for a company called Stryker.
PinDox: Are you still involved with wrestling?
-I took a lot of time off of the sport this past year. However, I wrestle sometimes up in Indiana with a high schooler named Jesse Mendez and just started as a volunteer assistant at the University of Chicago.
PinDox: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
-Just enjoy the sport and the memories. At the end of the day, it really is just a sport. Learn to have fun and work hard. Never give up and never let anyone tell you what you can do or be.
PinDox: Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
-Maybe one more match
PinDox: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
-Michael Kemerer. He was my roommate for 5 years in college and has been with me through a lot of hard moments and great moments as well. He’s a loyal friend, who I still talk to a really good amount. I consider him family.
PinDox: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
PAUL GLYNN-Nothing else to add. I love this content you put out!
PinDox Profile: Cory Connell; Iowa City High HS/Iowa Hawkeyes/Wartburg College
I’ve been meaning to put something together for Cory for a long time… whether it was a “Remember The Wrestler” article, one of these, etc. I mean, it was just a matter of time, for anyone who has known me and talked wrestling with me since I was a kid, one thing that has always remained constant was how high of a regard I hold this guy in. I’ve stated, on several occasions, that Cory Connell was the best wrestler I ever faced in my entire life…And I stick to that. I wrestled him competitively in youth and practiced with him during the off-season in HS. There is not a wrestler I ever faced who I would consider better than this man. And he’s one of the best people you’ll meet.
So what better time to pay tribute to someone who I consider to be one of the best wrestlers I have ever met than his BIRTHDAY!!!! Today is Cory Connell’s birthday…. Number 40, I assume! If you see him around, make sure to throw him down and give him 40 birthday spankings!!! Good luck with that, btw. Unless your name is Jeff McGinness or something similar, I don’t expect you to get very far with this quest.
Ok, to start… when I was a 3rd grader and Cory was a 4th grader, we met at AAU State in the quarterfinals and he beat me 5-4. The match was so close and so heated that there was a flurry at the end of the match where I think I almost scored a TD which would have won the match for me, but it was called out of bounds or time ran out or something. Whatever the case, one of my coaches, “Coach John,” had me convinced that I had been ripped off in that match and boy, was I ever mad about that. Funny thing is, the match was probably officiated perfectly. I think Coach John just liked to get me riled up.
Fast forward a year and a half to the Mt. Pleasant Youth Tournament at the beginning of the season my 5th grade year. I looked at my bracket and immediately got fired up. That Connell kid was in my bracket. “Finally I can get my revenge,” I thought to myself. I started warming up and possessed the intensity of a crazed chimpanzee who’s territory had been raided and his bananas stolen. I was ready to go. I couldn’t wait to kick the crap out of this kid. How dare “the ref” let this kid beat me at state 2 seasons ago.
So I took the mat with an unshakable snarl on my face, shook hands with Cory and boom…. I was taken down and pinned in :45 seconds. That’s right… I was taken down, put in some sort of arm bar that was basically foreign to me, went to my back without realizing how I got there and pinned as if my shoulders were metal plates and the mat was a magnet. He recorded the fall in :45 seconds. 45….. seconds…. I ended up wrestling until my Junior year in college and that was the ONLY time I ever had a match where I was simply taken down, turned and pinned right away like some jabroni… I think it was the only time I was ever pinned in the first period…ever. Cory, to me,went from being this kid that I thought I could beat to the absolute prototype of the wrestler I wanted to become. My entire youth and HS career, if my parents or I mentioned the name “Cory Connell,” he was THE standard of wrestling greatness. I never held anyone in higher regard than him in his wrestling career. That season ended up being a great one for me… I didn’t lose another match until state, where I was beaten 10-0 by JJ Butteris second round, but then I wrestled back like 6 matches to take 3rd place. JJ took 7th, somehow. The winner? You guessed it… Cory Connell. He breezed through it. Cory went on to win several more big tournaments in his youth career.
When Cory got into HS, he started out as a very undersized Freshman with some log-jammage in the IC High lineup if memory serves me correctly. He’s one of these guys who would have been better off had they not gotten rid of the 98 lb. division a few years before. He wasn’t able to make a splash at the state tournament until his Sophomore year in 1998 at 3A 103. He started out by beating Tom Paulson of Urbandale first round by the score of 10-0. The next round, he pinned Adam Olson of CR Prairie in :45 seconds. :45 seconds… hmm, that sounds familiar. That’s just the speed he operated at I guess! That was a big win, for Adam Olson was good… he wrestled a lot of freestyle and did well in that scene. In fact, they used to have him show freestyle technique before tournaments being started. In the semis, Cory was pinned by Brian Hessenius of Le Mars. I don’t know what happened in this match, nor do I know what the score of that match was before the fall, but I do know that Brian Hessenius was a very dangerous wrestler who put a lot of people away quickly… He holds the records to this day for the fastest fall at the state tournament.Anyways, Cory rebounded and fought back to place 3rd. His loss to Hessenius was his only loss on the season.
Between Cory’s Sophomore and Junior seasons, he took a huge growth spurt from 103 to 130. Lurking in those waters was a foe who he had a history with. In fact, this was the guy who beat him in the AAU State finals when he was a 4th grader and I was a 3rd grader. His name was Ryan Heim from Dubuque Hempstead. After beating Matt Sharp of Cedar Falls first round (he wrestled back for 6th) and Joe Malsam of SC Heelan in the quarterfinals (he wrestled back for 4th), Cory and Heim met up and had a match that my mom always described as one of the closest and most intense matches she ever witnessed. I don’t know what the final score was, but my mom remembers that match to this day and apparently, Heim pulled out a squeaker to advance to the finals. Connell fought back hard on the backside and had to settle for 3rd place again.
As a Senior in 2000, everything finally fell into place for Cory Connell. Cory defeated Josh Pratt of Spencer in the first round 9-4, Josh Peterson of Clinton in the semifinals via TF and defeated Adam Olaby of DM Lincoln in the finals by the score of 9-2. However, the match that sticks out above all others in this one was his 1-0 win over Travis Paulson of Lewis Central. This match is the ONLY match that prevented Paulson from being a 4X state champion. A huge win for Cory. Cory concluded his HS career with an undefeated, state championship season. He finished his HS career as a 3X placer with a career record of 146-12.
Cory went on to initially wrestle at The University of Iowa. After a couple years there, he transferred to Wartburg and had a great collegiate at the D3 level in which he became a 2X AA and a National runner-up.
After Cory’s competitive career was finished, he went on to coaching. He started out at Waverly-Shell Rock High School for a year where he helped coach the Go-Hawks in 2006 to a third place finish at the State Tournament and a fourth place at State Duals. He then went on to accept the Eddyville-Blakesburg HC position, where he built one of the best programs in the state. Under Coach Connell EBF had the six best years in the history of the program. He coached the first three State Champions in school history, 17 State Place Winners, 27 State Qualifiers, and 43 District Qualifiers. Cory was named the Iowa HS 1A State Coach of the Year in 2010. He was the District Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
Cory took over the head coaching position at his Alma Matter, Iowa City High in 2012. Since then, the Little Hawks have prospered under his tutelage. Connell was voted District and MVC Conference Coach of the Year in 2018. In 2018, City High won their first Conference Dual and Tournament Championship since 2002. They finished 8th at the Individual and Dual State Championships and won a District Championship in 2018 & 2019. He also coached Individual State Champions in 2018, 2020 and 2021.
Cory has also spent some time coaching several Iowa National Teams on the Freco scene and has spent some time working on the USA Wrestling board. He is also staple as a referee in Freestyle/Greco. Seems like you’ll see him officiating every Freco tournament around in the Eastern Iowa region.
He’s one of the greats, in my book… from multiple angles (wrestling, coaching, administration) and is a perfect example/reason as to why the sport of wrestling prospers in the state of Iowa. We have been blessed to have him here. I have two nephews, Jensen and Asher Swafford (Justin’s boys) who wrestle for the City High MatPac Youth Wrestling Club and live in the IC High school district. I couldn’t be more happy about that, for I know they will be in good hands with the legend, Cory Connell as their Head Coach.
Happy birthday, Cory! You are THE MAN!!!
1998 3A 103
1. Brian Hessenius, LeMars
2. Chad Davis, Lewis Central
3. Cory Connell, IC High
4. Sullivan Baccam, DM North
5. Nick Voss, Pleasant Valley
6. Cody Lowman, Johnston
1999 3A 130
1. Ryan Heim, Sr., Dubuque Hempstead
2. Matt Vasey, DM Lincoln
3. Cory Connell, Jr., Iowa City High
4. Joe Malsam, Sr., Sioux City Heelan
5. Matt Sharp, Jr., Cedar Falls
6. Rob Holub, So., West Des Moines Valley
2000 3A 130
1. Cory Connell, Sr., Iowa City High
2. Adam Olaby, Sr., Des Moines Lincoln
3. Brett Stedman, So., Sioux City Heelan
4. Jim Tripp, Sr., Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln
5. Travis Paulson, So., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
Yesterday, I posted an article on John Ites from Iowa Falls and in the article, I made the claim that John Ites from Iowa Falls, like Dan Sinnott of Albia, is one of the greatest wrestlers from that era to never win state. In the comments, someone brought to my attention yet another wrestler that was right in that mix that I had yet to notice. His name was Brian Forgy.
After looking into this, holy cow does he have a point! Brian Forgy had one of the most frustrating careers I’ve seen on paper. And most certainly a heartbreaking 2nd half to his postseason career. He accomplished a lot, but the line drawn between him and multiple state champs is razor thin. He deserves some major credit for how good he obviously was.
Brian Forgy made his first appearance at the state tournament in 1982. He was in the 2A 98 lb. division and had an impressive record of 23-1. He won two nice matches over Lenny Goetz of Creston and Jake Ressler of Cascade, but fell in the semis to Mark Schwab of Osage, who was en route to winning his 1st of 4 state titles. Forgy bounced back with very impressive wins over fantastic wrestlers, Grant Eckenrod of Benton, Van Horne and Don Hoffman of East Union to place 3rd. He finished the season 27-2.
The next year, Forgy came into the state tournament with an unblemished record of 20-0. He won via injury default first round over Grant Eckenrod and then defeated Mike Stilson of Hampton to reach the semis, where again, he faced Mark Schwab of Osage. It appears Schwab won this one 9-2. Forgy bounced back to place 3rd again by defeating Lenny Goetz of Creston and Jon Anderson of Waukee to finish 3rd again. He finished the year with a season record of 24-1. His career record at this point was 51-3.
Forgy’s presumed frustration began at the state tournament his Junior year in 1984. He came into the tournament at 2A 112 with a 24-4 record and was defeated by phenom Freshman, Steve Hamilton from Emmetsburg first round by the score of 3-0. He was eliminated… did not get a chance to wrestle back. Steve Hamilton would win 2 state titles in his HS career. Forgy’s career record was 75-8 at this point.
In 1985, Forgy was a Senior and came into the state tournament at 2A 119 with a sparkling 24-0 record. He was beaten first round by Darron Jones in OT. He did get a chance to wrestle back this time, but was eliminated when he lost another close match to Mike Malcom of Glenwood, 4-1… Who knows, Forgy may not have been on top of his game in that match after his dreams of becoming a state champion were shattered first round. Mark Schwab would win that bracket as well. Mark Schwab won ALL 4 of the state brackets that Forgy was in. Forgy finished that season with a 24-2 season record.
Brian Forgy finished his career as a 2X 3rd placer with a career record of 99-10. Great career, Brian! You deserve tons of respect for your accomplishments!
1982 2A 98
1. Mark Schwab, Fr., Osage
2. Jeff Schmitz, Fr., Don Bosco
3. Brian Forgy, Fr., Winterset
4. Don Hoffman, So., Afton-East Union
5. Grant Eckenrod, So., Van Horne-Benton Community
6. Kent Sesker, Fr., Tipton
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
PinDox Profile: G. Wyatt Schultz; Postville HS; Owner Of “The Predicament” (RIP)
Wyatt Schultz aka the owner of “The Predicament” passed away a few weeks ago and pretty much every wrestling media publication, personality, outlet, etc. weighed-in on it and expressed their sympathies/sentiments. Pretty much everyone other than me, which obviously raised some eyebrows, considering the fact that a large part of the wrestling world knew that I was a contributor for The Predicament for a long time before starting The Pin Doctors. And well, the reason I hadn’t, was because I posted something about him a couple days before he passed, asking for people to keep him in their thoughts, for I had received several pm’s from people telling me that he was sick and I just simply wanted to get the wrestling community behind him. I wanted to crawl in the world’s deepest hole after finding out how terrible of timing it was to do that. I didn’t realize how severe it was and I didn’t realize how few people knew when I had posted it. Not a proud moment for me.
Anyways, here is my belated tribute to Wyatt Schultz… without this man giving me a chance, The Pin Doctors would not exist.
Wyatt is a very influential and prominent figure in wrestling media, for he owns “The Predicament,” which is Iowa’s oldest and award-winning wrestling media outlet. The Predicament has been covering wrestling longer and better than about anything out there. In fact, The Predicament (which has gone through transitional periods in ownership since it’s formation) has been providing wrestling coverage since 1970. Wyatt was a graduate of Postville HS and while there, participated in football, wrestling and baseball. He attended North Iowa Area Community College after HS. Wyatt started out as a sports photographer for the local newspaper when his youngest son was in high school. He took photos for football, baseball and of course, wrestling. It wasn’t long before he made such an impression that he was hired in the 90’s by former owner of “The Predicament,” Ron Seaman. Seaman wanted Wyatt to take pictures for him at wrestling events to be published in “The Predicament.” Wyatt agreed and did great in this role, to such a high level where he was named the 1998 USA Wrestling Photographer Of The Year.
As previously mentioned, Wyatt eventually became the owner of The Predicament and as owner he wore several “hats” including, but not limited to; photographer, editor, publisher, host of “The Pinning Combination” podcast, etc. He received the Russ Smith Community Impact Award in 2013, which is given to people who demonstrate exceptional local impact on wrestling in Iowa. His photographs have appeared in Wrestling USA, USA Wrestler, Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine and Sports Illustrated. Wyatt was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2013 and the Iowa Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2020.
If any of you have ever wondered where The Pin Doctors came from or what it was a derivative of, the answer would be “The Predicament.” I was a contributor for “The Predicament” from 2007-2019, mostly on the forums, but for the last few years, doing a little bit of everything for him. He was the first person, after many unsuccessful attempts with other sources, to give me a chance to write for his publication. I do not have a background or education in journalism. I do not and never will consider myself a “journalist,” like some of your professional and very good journalists out there like Matt Levins, KJ Pilcher, Craig Sesker, etc. They have rules and guidelines to follow, for they are professionals. I don’t…and won’t ever, so I shouldn’t ever be considered by anyone as a “journalist,” but rather just a storyteller or writer. The downside of that is not being taken seriously by large publications. The positive side to it, however is having the freedom to write whatever I want, however I want to write it. Anyways…It can be kind of a risk for a publication to hire someone who doesn’t have journalism credentials to write for a widely respected outlet like “The Predicament” and Wyatt took that chance with me and it has been a pretty decent ride since. Since I have known him, he has always been congenial and respectful towards me and has been an ongoing source of encouragement and support since the day he decided to take a chance on me. He was even willing to stick with me when I was going through a personal low point in my life, in 2019. When my brother, Brennan won his first NAIA National Championship in 2020, Wyatt was right there celebrating with us and was moved to tears for he was so happy for our family. The man has done a lot for me when he didn’t have to and I will never lose sight of that.
We lost a good one when we lost Wyatt. And we lost a good one when we lost The Predicament was shut down permanently last week. Both Wyatt and The Predicament will forever own real-estate in my heart. A genuine, heartfelt “thank you” to Wyatt Schultz for taking a chance on some random message board junkie. It means the world.
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
In the Elite division at 157, there were 3 different Iowa HS state champs. Chance Throndson (Upper Iowa/Riceville HS), Ryan Steffen (Upper Iowa/Crestwood HS) and Will Esmoil (Coe College/West Liberty HS). And Kaleb Young of Iowa either Majored, pinned or teched everybody he faced in this bracket, including two of the state champions… He scored a 13-4 MD over Ryan Steffen of Upper Iowa and a 20-4 TF over Chance Throndson in the finals. Great day for him! Kinda an odd way this bracket unraveled… The guy who got 3rd was AJ Patterson of Coe. He was sent to the consolation side by Ryan Steffen. Steffen beat him 13-5….But styles make matches, I guess and Patterson fought back for 3rd and Steffen placed 5th. Tough, balanced bracket!
In the Silver bracket, this kid named Cole Hansen of UW-Platteville had a great day. Won 4 matches to make the finals and capped it off with a 12-2 win over Sebastian Robles of Iowa. Robles had a good day himself. He won 4 nice matches just to make the finals.
The top 3 in the Elite Division at 165 were all from Iowa. 1.) Alex Marinelli, 2.) Patrick Kennedy and 3.) Joe Kelly.Marinelli and Kennedy would both have a shot at going 1-2 at Nationals if they were both in the bracket. We will get to that. Joe Kelly’s only loss was vs. Patrick Kennedy. You’ll have that. Kennedy is something else. But man, he was absolutely solid in his other matches. I don’t know if people realize how nice it is to have Joe Kelly as depth there. His ceiling is higher than people realize. He was from my area…SE Iowa… West Liberty, to be exact. He and Brennan competed in track, football and wrestling for years growing up, for our schools have a nice little athletic rivalry. I’m not sure how many people realize this, but Joe Kelly is an athletic beast! Very explosive! He was one of the best athletes in his age group in our entire region since he and Brennan were little kids. He was first team all state in football as a running back, I believe. He sprinted at state track. He was runner-up and 3rd at state twice. He placed 8th as a Freshman. That kid can be molded with his high athletic ceiling if he buys in, which he does buy in. He hasn’t had a whole lot of mat-time, for he’s spent a lot of time at Iowa battling injuries, so he still is in the mode of trying to adjust to the speed of the Iowa room, I’m sure, but man…. If he gets completely settled in and acclimated, don’t sleep on this kid…I’ve seen this kid do a lot of impressive things in multiple sports over the years. And his dad, Mitch was a Hawkeye. He had a huge win over one of the Carr’s from Iowa State back in 1987…. Watch how Mitch wrestles in this match….That is what Joe Kelly looks like. That’s how he’s looked for years. A fun, dangerous style when he lets it fly.
I’ve seen a lot of people make comments about how much they liked the Marinelli vs. Kennedy match, but to be perfectly honest, that was my least favorite match out of both of those guys throughout the entire day. They were much more fun to watch when they were wrestling against someone they didn’t know like the backs of their hands and in an odd setting when compared to the setting they are used to battling each other in. Everything about that match just felt… awkward. I mean think about it… those two are both almost perfect at the craft of wrestling and have gotten to that level, largely in part thanks to each other, for they’ve spent hundreds of hours by now practicing against each other within the confines of a wrestling room… That was the first thing I thought when they took the mat with each other… “hmm… I wonder if these two have ever wrestled each other in an atmosphere where there aren’t walls nearby to crash into.” At first it literally did just kind of seem like they were trying to get used to each other in an open setting, for there was no score at the end of the 1st period. It got a bit better after that… The match was settled on a takedown by Marinelli in the 3rd period. He won 3-2. Both of those guys are good enough to win an NCAA Championship. Kennedy can still win 3-4 of them. He’s that good. It was a lot of fun watching them in the earlier rounds.
The way that Marinelli is able to continuously flow from one move to the other to this counter to that counter without ever stopping, just flowing…. it’s something that amazes me. Kennedy and Marinelli are wrestling artists at this point.
Great tourney by a kid named Matt Rogge from Augsburg, winning the Silver Bracket.
The man at 174 in the elite division was Zane Mulder from Wartburg. Zane went to Iowa State for his first couple years and spent his share of time as the starter and did pretty well there, but transferred to Wartburg and placed 2nd at Nationals. He beat my brother, Brennan Swafford of Iowa in the finals. Brennan was a 2X NAIA Champ before Iowa. Prior to the match, I had a pretty good idea of how close it would be. Those two go wayyyy back. Way back to 2nd or 3rd grade. They’ve wrestled in the semis, finals, placing rounds, etc. in several big tournaments since they were little. That’s not including the several they had at other various youth tourneys. Their matches were always close. Always, always, always a back and forth dogfight between the two of them… and look at them now… wrestling in the finals at the Luther Open as upperclassmen wrestlers…and as expected, close match. Zane wrestled Brennan perfectly… Exposed some things he needs to change in his game and with that said, I believe it was a good loss for Brennan. Coaches have been on him about his spurty, opportunistic style on bottom… and they will be on him about it even more now. I’m just happy because it seems like this loss got through to him in terms of knowing that he needs to change it up, because the first thing he said when he met us in the bleachers was, “alright, no more messing around, I need to start doing what Nelson Brands does and explode out of there on bottom and not wait for an opening… because sometimes there’s not an opening.”
Great job Zane! Can’t wait to see you win D3 Nationals this year!
A couple people were a little down on Brennan after that match, which is something to expect after a loss,but I’m not sure these people realized how sneaky good his 3 wins to get to the finals were. First match he wrestled a kid named Jacob Herrmann from Wartburg. He teched him in the first period. I got to know Herrmann a bit when he was a Senior in HS… great kid! He was undefeated coming into the state tournament as a Senior and wrestled a 1-2 point match with Cade Devos of SE Polk in the finals. Devos was a Senior that year as well and was just cruising that year… that was one of the only close matches he had all year. Herrmann is tough. Next match, Brennan wrestled a Freshman from UW-Eau LeClere named Jared Stricker. I personally don’t know why Stricker isn’t D1. Last year he was an undefeated state champion in WI, won Greco and Freestyle at Northern Plains Regionals, had a combined record of 11-0 at Greco and Freestyle National Duals for Team Wisconsin, he was 4th at Fargo Nationals in Freestyle and 2nd at Fargo Nationals in Greco this past summer. Brennan won 8-6, 2 of those points he gave up were questionable stalling calls… We beat a stud there. And in the semis, Brennan got up big before pinning a guy named Nolan Paar who got 2nd at Folkstyle Nationals behind Anthony Zach of Waukee a couple seasons ago. That kid ended up beating Stricker for 3rd… So although he lost his finals match, it doesn’t omit the fact that he put together 3 wins over quality competition. Peaks and valleys
Told ya Zane and Brennan went WAYYYY back!
* Props to LJ Richardson of Coe for winning the Silver Bracket.
The kid who won 184…yes he was a HS kid. He is a guy from Askren’s Wrestling Academy named Clayton Whiting. This kid was a monster. He looked older than me, and I’m 38 years old. He beat Iowa’s Abe Assad in the finals. There is no way around the bad day for Assad and he would be the first to admit that, I’m sure… I don’t see how he could possibly think of any positives on how the tournament went for him. There is a lot of razz about him on social media about this loss right now which is unfortunate, for I’m sure he already felt bad enough about it.BUT, it is NOT doom and gloom simply because Assad had a bad finals match. Assad is fine. He looked great in the matches leading to that one. And we’ve seen him in years past start out slow before cranking it up a few weeks later.…2 years ago, he lost in the finals of the Grand View Open to Kendrick Jones of Grand View who ended up placing 5th at NAIA Nationals. The next weekend, he was beaten 8-3 by Julien Broderson of Iowa State at the Lindenwood Open… He seemed to have Julien’s number prior to that tournament, when they were HS kids…I’m sure he was feeling pretty awful about both of those losses. One month later, he was runner-up at Midlands and in doing so, beat some now proven D1 standouts… Max Lyon, Tanner Harvey, Travis Stefanik, Zach Braunagel and just a couple weeks after Midlands, he beat Taylor Venz. Abe Assad is a very methodical, skilled, intelligent wrestler who is going to be fine. In a few weeks, it will seem like that match never happened.A lot of these guys will be different animals in a month. I think Assad will be one of them, considering he has shown this pattern before.
Props to David Papach of Wartburg for winning the Silver Bracket.
I wish I had more to say about this weight. I didn’t see much of it. What little I saw basically consisted of Jacob Warner of Iowa literally looking like Jack and the Beanstalk amongst a couple of brave grasshoppers who were brave enough to step on the mat with him. He squashed the 2 guys I saw him wrestle. I am not sure I saw Zach Glazier (Iowa) wrestle. I’m not sure what he looks like, TBH… but he was the champion of the bracket after Jacob Warner took a Medical Forfeit to him. Tyler Hannah from Wisconsin-Platteville placed 3rd. He beat the guy who put him in the consolation side, Kobe Woods of Wartburg for 3rd and 4th.
Jared Voss from Coe won the Silver Bracket. I believe he’s from the family of Voss hammers from Manchester, West Delaware HS. Great job kid!
I didn’t get to see much of this weight, but holy cow, not much has changed with the tendencies of Kaleb Reeves of Coe. Kaleb is from Sigourney, IA… another SE Iowa school that is in my general vicinity. I’ve watched that kid wrestle probably 100 times since he was little… and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wrestle a match that lasted past the 1st period…ever.Yesterday he won 4 matches to take the title. He scored falls in 3:28, :56 seconds, :23 seconds and :13 seconds. The :13 second pin came in the finals. This dude is a beast. Great job, Kaleb! Aaron Costello (Iowa) was cruising his first two rounds until he medical forfeited in the semis. Not sure what happened there.
Big props to Walter West out of Luther for winning the Silver Bracket in his own gym.
* To any fans out there who feel upset, discouraged, let down, disappointed, etc.in any wrestler that you may have been rooting for or following…Ease up on them a bit. This was the first tournament of the year. So much changes throughout the course of a full season.A lot of guys who looked sluggish today may look unbeatable in another month. A lot of guys who looked great today, may have a bad tournament in a few weeks. This tournament, for most can be used as a measuring stick for them in terms of where they are at and what they need to work on. A lot of rust is still being worked out right now for a lot of guys. It is not doom and gloom if “your guy” didn’t win their bracket today.There is a LOT of time for each wrestler who was there to learn throughout the duration of the season… If “your guy” had a bad day today, but learned a few things they needed to improve on and ultimately go on to improve these things, then I would assume that someday you may look at this day in retrospect as a good, valuable day.You never know.
So today was kind of a different situation for me, for I came in representing and rooting for what was undeniably the super-power of the group especially when compared to the smaller (but awesome) teams they faced in this tournament. Of course I am talking about The Iowa Hawkeyes, which is where my youngest brother wrestles. I don’t think I have ever been on the side of an uncontested “Superpower” squad at any event and certainly nothing comparable to Iowa at the Luther Open, and it was kind of interesting how much different this was compared to the above average squads I’ve always been a part of or affiliated with.
To start, Iowa wrestling is widely popular due to a reputation of greatness that goes back multiple decades, so they were the only squad who had a crew of non-family member fans that came to support them aka Hawkeye wrestling fans. You don’t see this with the other schools and you’d think the extra cheers from non-family fans would be an advantage, but the truth is, for every Hawkeye fan in attendance, there was a fan or affiliate of another team who was cheering just as loudly against them. Sure, Iowa Hawkeye fans root for Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers when they are out there, but man is it ever undeniable just how badly every other person in that gym who was affiliated with another team wanted them to lose every single time…. Why? Because they are Iowa and it’s generally an upset if an Iowa guy is beaten by a smaller division wrestler. And people love to witness upsets and some just plainly love to hate Iowa. It was crazy, it felt like every time an Iowa guy got beat, the entire gym would go crazy… And I’ve been on that side of the fence before myself when I wrestled vs. Iowa in college opens. It makes you feel a little different about it when you experience it from the superpower perspective. But the Hawkeye guys didn’t seem to notice all that jazz. That’s why they are Hawkeye wrestlers. They are mentally resilient and don’t get their feelings hurt over silly stuff like that.
I’ll tell you what HAS to be frustrating for the Iowa wrestlers in terms of anti-Iowa biases and that’s the inconsistency of the officiating. The officials would call the matches that had an Iowa guy in it differently than they would others. With a couple of the referees, it seemed like the Iowa guys never had calls go their way and if anything, the calls would go against them if it was questionable. Like with stalling… I would see an Iowa guy called for stalling in a certain position and then two matches later, they’d be in the same situation, but reversed roles… and it wasn’t their opponents who got warned for stalling in the same situation they did earlier by the same ref. The Iowa guy would get called for it. And it didn’t seem like the 2 officials who were guilty of this all day had some sort of “anti-Iowa” ax to grind, it just seemed like they were officiated with different standards set in place for them by the officials since they were Iowa wrestlers. It’s like the officials expected them to be “high octane” every single second of the match since they were Iowa guys and if they weren’t, they would get dinged and the other wrestlers were not held to that same standard.
With that said, the Iowa wrestlers who competed at Luther had to be on top of their game and be dominant to the point where they didn’t have to worry about inconsistent officiating. Not to mention, every one of those kids who wrestled against an Iowa guy would consider it a badge of honor to simply beat one of them at a smaller tournament, so a lot of these D3 guys came at the Iowa guys with everything they had because for real, what do they have to lose? Some of these guys really brought it, for this would be one of the only opportunities of the year to beat an Iowa guy. With that said, this was a tourney where if a guy did not wrestle sharp, he could be upset by a guy from a smaller division…An Iowa guy can’t come into this one and not take it seriously because they are wrestling D3 guy. That target on their back to some of these smaller school guys is like the color red to a bull… They had to bring their A-game to avoid being upset and a few of these upsets did happen.
I’ll just go weight-by-weight and will cover what I saw, noticed or heard about from someone.
The first thing that stuck out to me at this weight was something in the Silver Bracket. Averee Abben out of Upper Iowa has done a great job adjusting to the D2 level already and I think he is going to be a D2 force to be reckoned with for years to come. Averse, I believe was a 4X qualifier/3X placer/1X finalist for Osage HS. He had that wild finals match with Brandon O’Brien of Linn-Mar at 2A 126 (I believe) last year and was just short of becoming a state champ. It appears as if he kept his foot on the gas since his finals match, for he was impressive yesterday.
Jesse Ybarra from Iowa won the Elite Division and I hear he looked great in doing so, but to be honest, I didn’t see any of his matches and I’m not even sure which guy he is yet… I need to find out, though, for he really impressed some people out there.
Cullan Schriever out of Iowa really impressed me. This kid is extremely coachable and gets better and betterevery time he walks out on the mat. With him, it seemed like there were two things that set him apart from being a fringe-placer and an NCAA title candidate… 1.) Sometimes it seemed like it took him a while to find his groove. Cullan is a unique wrestler in which he seems to get better and more physical as the match goes on. Fatigue doesn’t seem to even be a factor with him, for he would look better in the 3rd period than he would in the first. He is one of the best 2nd and 3rd period wrestlers I saw there, for his style is so methodical that it is like death by 1000 cuts for his opponents in the later periods and it is enough to get guys very frustrated.There were a couple moments, mostly in the 1st period, where he would seem just simply less physical, but if he just brought his intensity up a hair to start the matches and continued to increase it as the match goes on as he is able to do now, then watch out… He is just as good of a wrestler as anybody. His crazy-impressive HS resume that he had that included the multiple Fargo titles and the Super 32 Championship… yeah, he hasn’t lost any ground since those days. He’s still one of the best. Just needs to come out as intense and physical and he finishes them.The kid he beat in the semifinals was a kid named Joe Pins from Wartburg. Schriever won 12-3. That was a NICE win for Schriever. To start, he recorded the major. Secondly, Pins is EXTREMELY good. He was a stater champion in HS and won it in only his 4th or 5th year of wrestling. Pins was still improving at a high rate in his wrestling game around the time he won state. And he got off to a great start at Wartburg, placing 3rd at D3 Nationals last year. He didn’t wrestle a bad match at all vs. Schriever… He had moments where he put Cullan on his heels for he is like an explosive ball of muscle that always stays in good position and is always looking to attack. This kid could be D1 right now, easily… But that doesn’t matter, for he is obviously in great hands with that Wartburg staff. Other than his loss to Schriever, Pins had 2 Major Decisions and a tech to place 3rd.
Austin Desanto wrestled good yesterday and his fireman’s carry to the opposite side is the best I’ve ever seen. Austin Desanto, if you read this, I hear you like to read. Check out the book, “Old Man And The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway if you haven’t yet. There are some very interesting underlying themes in that book that I feel can be used as valuable lessons of perseverance and remember, victory is not a prerequisite for honor. Instead, glory depends upon one having the pride to see a struggle through to its end, regardless of the outcome. However, none of those themes would be present had Santiago (The Old Man) failed to set his drag. His line would have snapped.
Jaydin Eierman looked like a cat pawing with a ball of yarn out there. He is really fun to watch. Looked flawless. I didn’t see it happen, but Leif Schroeder had a win over Brock Henderson out of Coe. Henderson was a 2X state champ in HS for North Linn and was a D3 Champ last year. On the backside, Henderson didn’t look like himself, but it was a big win for Schroeder no matter what the situation.
The guy who made probably the biggest splash out of the Freshmen yesterday was Wyatt Henson from Iowa. Wyatt was in the Silver (Freshman) bracket and placed 1sr. Wyatt, I believe won 1 state title as a Sophomore in Mizzou and 2 in Pennsylvania and holy cow were his skills put on display yesterday. Best Freshman I saw there. He won 4 matches yesterday. The scores of those matches: 21-6, 23-8, 28-13 and 19-6 in the finals. He is off to a great start and it will only get better from here. He’s a hammer. I’ve had a ton of people ask how he looked yesterday . He looked untouchable, really. For those who didn’t already connect the dots, he is Sammie Henson’s son. For those of you who don’t remember Sammie, he was a two-time NCAA champion at Clemson, a world champion and an Olympic silver medalist…
I did not see Bretli Reyna (Iowa) vs. Vince Turk (Iowa), in which Reyna won, but it seemed to be all that a few people in the stands could talk about for a while there. The real story here was the day that Cobe Siebrecht had. He defeated Brady Fritz from Wartburg 16-1 and Kristian Rhumph from Wartburg 6-4. I believe BOTH those two were D3 runner-ups last year. That was a huge say for Cobe and if you are a Hawkeye fan, you should feel very happy with how he is coming along. He looks GREAT.
Former wrestler, Andre Vander Velde; Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln ‘02/Augustana University Nominated for OEA Music Awards
Andre Vander Velde was a standout wrestler for CB Abe Lincoln HS ‘02 and Augustana University. He was a 2X placer at state in HS, placing 4th as a Sophomore in 2000 at 3A 119 and 5th as a Senior in 2002 at 3A 130. Collegiately, Andre was a 4X Division 2 National Qualifier for Augustana and was an All-American for them in 2005, making him a key contributor to Augustana’s runner-up finish that year as a team at Division 2 Nationals.
Off the mat, Andre is a very talented musician. In fact recently his solo music AND his band, Jaguar James was nominated for a couple musical awards for The Omaha Entertainment and Arts (OEA-Awards). His solo music was nominated for the “Best Folk/Americana” music award and his band, “Jaguar James” was nominated for the “Best Soul” music award.
I have some of Andre’s music on Apple Music and it is fantastic… he is able to cover a wide range of genres and I would encourage anyone to check out his music. If you like slow, chill, acoustic music like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews Band, etc., he does that well… If you like music that is comparable to Jimi Hendrix and even Prince, he is able to play that at a high level as well. So PLEASE, check it out! Not only would you be supporting a fellow wrestler, but you’d be supporting a great human being as well…
Make sure to follow “Jaguar James” on Facebook! Look up his music on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc. You won’t be disappointed!
Here was a cool quote from Andre in his Remember The Wrestler article:
PinDox: Do you have any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
ANDRE VANDER VELDE: “Get your priorities straight as soon as you can: faith, family, school, wrestling. Don’t get too hung up on early success. Never stop being a student of the sport. And if you put in the work and never give up you’ll go far in life on and off the mat.”
PinDox Profile: Luis Rascon; Fort Madison ‘83/US Army
Luis Rascon qualified for state his Senior year with a 22-2 record and won a couple of matches against a couple of the biggest names in the bracket en route to placing 3rd at state. First round he defeated Tim Coppock of CB Abraham Lincoln and followed this up with perhaps one of the biggest wins of the tournament… he defeated returning placer and runner-up, Chuck Pearson of Waterloo East in the quarterfinals. Pearson would win state the following year as a Senior. Luis fell to eventual state champion and future Hall Of Fame ISU Cyclone, Steve Knight of Clinton in the semis, but he bounced back and won another two big matches to finish 3rd.
Luis went on to wrestle for the Army and competed for their base team. He has given back to the Fort Madison program for years as an assistant coach and is in the Fort Madison HS Hall Of Fame.
PinDox Profile: Jack Barron, Iowa School for the Deaf, Council Bluffs ‘83
In Iowa, Jack Barron was a 3X State Placer (1-3-1)/2X State Champion. It is very common to talk to SW Iowa wrestlers refer to Jack Barron as one of the GOAT SW Iowa wrestlers… And for good reason. He WAS one of the best ever. He won 2 TOUGH brackets at the Iowa HS State tournament when he was a Freshman in 1980 and as a Senior in 1983.He placed 3rd as a Sophomore in 1981… the guy who beat him that year was Rod Hass from Woodward-Granger who would end up losing in the finals to someone you may have heard of…Royce Alger from Lisbon. Anyways, I couldn’t find a trace of what happened to Jack as a Junior, for I couldn’t find his name anywhere in any sort of collection of 1982 results, but recently found out that he actually spent that time in Washington DC and won a championship over there, so technically, he is a 3X state champ/4X placer. While in DC, he also won a National Championship.
Jack Barron… One of Iowa’s greats!
1980 1A 119
1. Jack Barron, Fr., Iowa School for
the Deaf, Council Bluffs
2. Steve Hiller, Jr., Kingsley-Pierson
3. Tom Creger, So., Maxwell
4. Dave Downs, Sr., Alleman, North Polk
5. Brian Mallie, Sr., Lisbon
6. Dan Means, Sr., Greenfield
1981 1A 126
1. Royce Alger, So., Lisbon
2. Rod Hass, Jr., Woodward Granger
3. Jack Barron, So., Iowa School for the Deaf, Council
PinDox Profile: Steve Bellig; Bettendorf HS ‘76/Western Illinois University (RIP)
Steve Bellig was a 1976 graduate out of Bettendorf who qualified for state one time as a Senior, but certainly made the most of it by placing 3rd and beating a couple of hammers in the process. Steve came into the state tournament at 3A 119, with a 26-2 record. He had a pretty tough first round draw, Mark Warner of Urbandale, who had an almost identical record to Steve at 26-2-1. On paper, one might assume that Warner was the favorite to win this match since he had qualified for state the year before and Bellig was making just his first appearance, but Bellig was the winner of this bout, advancing to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, he wrestled against Lyle Obrecht from Harlan who was 22-6. Bellig defeated Obrecht and was set to face Todd Clayter of Waterloo East who was 18-2 and placed 4th just a year before. Clayter stopped Bellig and Bellig then wrestled in the 3rd and 4th place match where he faced Mike Brehm, another Senior out of Fort Dodge. Brehm had also been to the state tournament before and when Bellig beat him for 3rd and 4th, that made 2 returning state qualifiers that Bellig had defeated at the state tournament. A great showing.
On top of this, Bellig won the Junior Olympic title in Sterling, Illinois in 1974.
Bellig went on to wrestle at Western Illinois University and made an immediate splash, for after completion of his first year, he was elected “Most Valuable Wrestler” of the team.In his second season, he brought things up another notch by placing 2nd in the Division 2 National Championships.
Unfortunately, this one does not have a good ending. In fact, it’s pretty terrible. Tragically, after completing his 2nd school year at Western Illinois, Bellig was killed in an automobile accident. He was only 20 years old.
To this day, they still have the Steve Bellig Memorial Scholarship at Bettendorf, which are scholarships given to two Bettendorf wrestlers who plan to compete collegiately. How about that? Over 40 years since Steve’s passing and his legacy still remains in tact to this day.
WHO IS THE IOWA HS WRESTLING GOAT?!?!: The Case For Kyle Anson; Iowa City High ‘05/UNI Panthers
Kyle Anson was a 3X state champion out of Iowa City High who placed 1-3-1-1 and finished with a 164-9 record. Given the fact that Anson did not win 4 titles and that he had 9 losses in his career (all against the highest caliber of competition), some of you may have him written off already, but hear me out! This kid was incredible.
I could tell that there was something pretty special about Anson pretty early on. Like when he was in the 2nd-4th grade range. There was a year where he and one of our best guys at Mepo, Micah Keller met up. They met up at a youth tournament (I think Mepo) and state. The first time they met up, it was highly anticipated, for both guys had done well in the past. And Keller won this one rather handily. It seemed like Anson had great technique for his age and was a grinder…he just kept coming after Micah, but Micah was able to get by unscathed because of having the upper-hand physically and with some of the natural funk that he always carried in his arsenal. Kyle spent the rest of the day sitting down with an extremely upset expression on his face. You could tell this kid hated to lose and no matter how that match went, he was going to do what he could to ensure that never happened again.
Fast forward to the AAU Tournament later that year and those two were set to meet up again in the quarterfinals or semifinals. Just to be honest, our crew basically had that one penciled in as a win for Micah. He was rolling the entire season pretty much, without much of a hiccup. And when those two took the mat with each other, Anson made it clear that he had made some adjustments. Everything Micah had going for him in the first meeting, Anson had an answer for it this time and was able to tack on early points because of it… and it was making Micah visibly frustrated. And while Micah was visibly frustrated, Anson had this wild, intense expression on his face that indicated to anyone who was watching that he had a mission accomplished and was going to come after Micah the entire duration of the match without wasting a single millisecond on being anything, but intense. The narrative of the match had been established fairly early on and it was not going to go the same way it did the first time. He was a madman out there, and the physicality he displayed out there reflected that…. And Micah did not like it. Long story short, Anson frustrated Micah to the point where he simply wanted off the mat. It appeared as if he gave up and let Kyle pin him. Those who were watching, were stunned. Anson went on to place 2nd to Joe Verschoor from Kingsley-Pierson in the finals, but he made his point in that tourney. At least in my eyes. I didn’t realize that the little exchange those two had would be foreshadowing for what we would all witness years later from Kyle Anson.
Soon enough he developed a reputation as being one of the elite guys in that entire 2005 graduating class, which was, in my opinion, the most stacked class we’ve ever seen come through this state with guys like Anson, Dan LeClere, Micah, Borschel, Ryan Morningstar, Joe Slaton, etc. Anson was legit and anyone with a brain, knew it.
When Anson entered HS, everyone knew he was the real deal, but I don’t think many people thought he would accomplish what he ultimately ended up accomplishing, for that task would be daunting for anyone. He was at 3A 119 as a Freshman… which was the same weight where a couple of highly-touted D1 recruit Seniors who had won previously won state themselves were set to be at. Their names were Ryan Osgood of Mason City and Dominick Moyer of Oskaloosa. Ryan Osgood had placed at least twice coming into his Senior year and one of these included a state championship the year before as a Junior, in which he defeated Moyer in the quarterfinals or semis. Anson and Osgood had actually met up in the regular season with one guy winning one apiece. I remember when he beat Osgood during the regular season… that’s when we started hearing some people chattering on the forums, “wait a second, is it possible? Does this Anson kid, a FRESHMAN, actually stand a chance at winning the 3A 119 division, which contains 2 of the best Seniors in the entire grade?” Well, we were about to find out if Anson really meant business in the Semifinals at state that year, in which he and Osgood were paired up again. To start the match, it appeared as if the answer to that question was, “no,” for Osgood took an early 3-0 lead. Most Freshman in this situation, being down 3-0 to the defending state champion Senior (and future NCAA qualifier for UNI) would have succumbed to the pressure. Kyle wasn’t any ordinary Freshman… it seemed to just make him more intense. He scored at least 3 takedowns and 2 back points and secured an incredibly impressive 10-7 win over one of our state’s best Seniors, which rocked the Iowa wrestling world the moment it happened… Kyle Anson was officially a state finalist as a Freshman at 3A 119, which was arguably the deepest bracket of the tournament. No matter what the outcome was after the finals, Anson had accomplished something incredible and the entire wrestling community had been put on notice…
Kyle won a huge semifinals match vs. one of the best in the state, but was far from finished. He still had another task, just as daunting as the one he accomplished in the Semifinals. In the finals, he was paired with 2X returning state champion, Dominick Moyer… a proven elite talent who was a future NCAA qualifier himself for Nebraska. Those two had met in the regular season, with Moyer being the victor. The state finals match that took place between the two of them was one of the most thrilling, impressive displays of wrestling that we have ever seen. Undebatable. Both of them put on an absolute show for the fans in attendance. Moyer got up early and just when it would seem like he was starting to secure the match, Anson would strike back, never losing that intense “madman” expression on his face, never letting up a single second, no matter what the tempo of the match seemed to be. There were several moments in that match where it felt like, “ok Moyer won, there’s no way Anson can come back from this.” Anson just would not let off. Eventually the match came down to a sudden-death situation where Moyer was down, Anson on top and there was one final :30 second period. If Moyer got out, he won. If Anson rode Moyer out, he won. USUALLY, the guy on bottom seems to have the advantage here and in this case, it appeared as if Anson was dead in the water, for Moyer was rarely ever ridden out, by anyone… And Anson defied logic again… despite numerous situations where it appeared Moyer was getting out, Anson rode Moyer out and ended up winning 6-6 by criteria decision. The moment he officially won the match, Kyle’s persistent expression of intensity made an immediate shift to absolute elation. You could hear him giggling, he was so happy. It was one of the most impressive feats that anyone has EVER accomplished in the history of our Iowa HS state wrestling. My brother’s finals match was following that weight on the 2A mat and this match was about the only thing I can imagine that could distract my attention from my nerves.
Here is the match video for that:
2002 3A 119
1. Kyle Anson, Fr., Iowa City High
2. Dominick Moyer, Sr., Oskaloosa
3. Ryan Osgood, Sr., Mason City
4. Kyle Blood, Jr., Cedar Rapids Kennedy
5. Alan Fadness, Sr., Decorah
6. Aaron Daniels, Jr., Newton
The following season is the one and only season in which Anson did not win state, for he fell 6-2 in the 3A 125 Semifinals to a guy in his grade named Jay Borschel from Linn-Mar, who was on the way to winning what became 4 state titles (and won an NCAA Championship for the Hawkeyes). You have to give Anson credit on his mental toughness, though. His goal/dream of becoming a 4X state champion had been crushed in that match and he bounced back to finish 3rd… that bracket was so deep that a Senior who was a former 2X finalist/1X Champion named Gabe Rostermundt from Lewis Central actually finished 7th. Just to give you some perspective on how tough it was on the consolation side.
2003 3A 125
1. Jay Borschel, So., Linn-Mar
2. Jake Halvorsen, Sr., Iowa City West
3. Kyle Anson, So., Iowa City High
4. Christian Abrams, So., Fort Dodge
5. Steve Arceneaux, Sr., Waterloo East
6. Aaron Daniels, Sr., Newton
7. Gabe Rostermundt, Sr., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
8. Kyle Blood, Sr., Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Anson would win another state title at 3A 125 his Junior year. His 2nd of 3. And in doing so, he added yet ANOTHER amazing postseason feat to his resume… He defeated Eric Hoffman in the finals…The defending state champion who was just on fire at the time. Kyle beat him 10-3. That is 3 combined state champions that Anson knocked off in pursuance of his first 2 state titles. Impressive.
2004 3A 125
1. Kyle Anson, Jr., Iowa City High
2. Eric Hoffman, Sr., Davenport North
3. Tobyn Ward, Jr., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
4. Christian Abrams, Jr., Fort Dodge
5. Jacob Helvey, Sr., Southeast Polk (Runnells)
6. Clint Whitcome, Jr., Waverly-Shell Rock
7. Ryan Pratt, Jr., Spencer
8. Blaine Beatty, So., Cedar Rapids Jefferson
Anson had an unscathed, undefeated Senior season in which he locked up his 3rd title. He pinned Kalen Lenz from West Delaware in the finals.
2005 2A 125
1. Kyle Anson, Sr., Iowa City City
2. Kalen Lenz, Sr., West Delaware Manchester
3. Ryan Pratt, Sr., Spencer
4. Matt Burns, Sr., Urbandale
5. Matt Koch, Sr., Indianola
6. Tim Lagow, Sr., Waterloo West
7. Thomas Walljasper, Sr., Fort Madison
8. Cody McClintock, Sr., Fort Dodge
On top of Kyle’s HS postseason heroics, he also made the First Team All-American Wrestling Team his Senior year in 2005. Kyle also placed 6th in 2004 and 4th in 2005 at the Fargo Junior National Freestyle Championships.
Anson would go on to wrestle for UNI, where he put together a very respectable career when he was actually able to compete. His collegiate career was littered with injuries. However, in 2007, he was selected as the Western Wrestling Conference Freshmen of the Year and qualified for the NCAA championships at 133 pounds. Kyle was eventually forced to give up the sport due to the accumulation of the injuries he sustained over the years. I hear he gave it another try after transferring to Iowa, but his body had enough…. If you ever saw him wrestle, it wouldn’t be difficult to see how this would happen to someone like Kyle. He was all-out, all the time, without EVER letting up even if it required putting his body on the line.
So does Anson have a case for being the Iowa HS wrestling GOAT?! On paper, he does not. He took too many losses (all to elite competition) compared to some other guys who never lost in HS and Borschel would have criteria on him after their semifinal match their Sophomore year. However, from a personal opinion standpoint, and I know I’m not alone here, Kyle Anson, IS one of the greatest HS wrestlers to ever go through Iowa, as far as I’m concerned. Just ask anyone who wrestled against him, alongside him or watched him… They won’t have anything negative to say, I guarantee that. Kyle Anson may not have had the GOAT career on paper, but he had some of the GOAT MOMENTS I have ever seen out of any Iowa HS wrestler I have ever witnessed.
“Kyle exemplifies what every coach wants in their wrestlers. A hard-working, goal-oriented leader who is mentally and physically tough.”
PINDOX PROFILE: Kaleb Krall; Wapsie Valley ‘19/Wartburg College
Kaleb Krall was a gritty competitor out of Wapsie Valley. He was one of these guys who seemed to make very gradual progressions in his wrestling journey. Just kept getting better and better every year since he was a youth wrestler. He went from being like a fringe-placer in youth wrestling to a stone-cold-stud by the time he was a Sophomore in HS in which he became a state champion. He won one of the most competitive finals matches of the state finals over Kory Van Oort. Unfortunately, that was the last time he won state, but he did place 2nd in a deep bracket the next year as a Junior and qualified for state as a Senior, but was beaten out and that weekend was likely the worst weekend of his life, for not only did he have a bad tournament in his final season after being a state champion and runner-up, but he was put into the consolation by a phenom Freshman named Cade Tenold from Don Bosco who had caught fire around that time and was wrestling lights out. It was also rumored that he was battling concussions and injuries at the time and was actually experiencing waves of totally random confusion. So that was a bad week for him, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he was a proven warrior and had shown that in the previous two years at state. I have something in the works for Cade Tenold right now and wanted to make sure I gave Krall props before that came out. He was a very tough kid from a tough program and a nice guy, to boot.
Kaleb went on to wrestle collegiately at Wartburg College.
2017 1A 138
1 Kaleb Krall (So.) Wapsie Valley
2 Kory Van Oort (So.) West Sioux
3 Jacob Hansen (Sr.) West Fork
4 Austin Leopard (Sr.) Louisa-Muscatine
5 Wade Mitchell (Fr.) Woodbury Central
6 Guy Sudmann (Sr.) Underwood
7 Duke Kyle (So.) Missouri Valley
8 Cael Boehmer (So.) Lake Mills
2018 1A 152
1 Trey Brisker (Sr.) Wilton
2 Kaleb Krall (Jr.) Wapsie Valley
3 Kaden Kilburg (Sr.) Lisbon
4 Skeeter Bostwick (Sr.) Missouri Valley
5 Austin Eilers (Sr.) Lawton-Bronson
6 Caleb Wilson (Sr.) Denver
7 Keaton Baayen (Sr.) Pekin
8 Garrett Arment (Jr.) Woodbury Central
“I do not have any regrets. I do everything to the best of my ability no matter the situation I’m in. I give the best I possibly can even if I’m not at my best (health wise or otherwise).”
Remember The Wrestler: Evan Hansen: Elk Horn-Kimballton-Exira HS/Grand View University
Evan Hansen is one of the best SW Iowa wrestlers ever as well as one of, if not THE best ever NAIA wrestler. And his career was fun to follow. His career in high school was pretty interesting, for he wrestled and performed well as both a lighter weight and an upper weight… this is similar to what guys like Willie Miklus, Drew Foster, Jay Borschel, etc. did. I think it’s pretty impressive when you are so good that you can adapt your style to be successful at both weight ranges. Hansen wrestled for Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton in high school and didn’t place as a Freshman at 112 lbs, but won it the next year at 145, placed 3rd the year after that at 182 and concluded his HS career by winning another title at 182.
Hansen went on to wrestle at Grand View, where he became a 4X NAIA champion at 195 lbs., almost twice the weight he started out as when he was a Freshman. Crazy to think about. He now helps coach at Avila University and was kind enough to fill us in on his wrestling journey.
1. Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
EVAN HANSEN: I had a babysitter who had a son wrestling in high school when I was young and I wanted to wrestle like him. Then I saw Cael Sanderson win his 4th title and that’s when I really fell in love with the sport and starting doing more.
2. Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
EVAN HANSEN: The only person who has ever wrestled in my family is my uncle Neil Anderson. He was pretty good but never placed at state or went on to college to wrestle.
3. What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
EVAN HANSEN: I never won a super pee wee state title or an AAU state title but I won 2 USA wrestling state titles, 1 gradeschool state title, a freestyle state title and a Greco state title. I always wrestled Max Thomsen, Drew Foster and Cole Erickson at AAU.
6. What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
EVAN HANSEN: I’ve had a lot of challenges in my 20 year wrestling career but one of the biggest ones was going through my freshman year and throwing my state tournament matches then having to come back the next year at a higher weight and learn from that mistake. Although this is one of my biggest regrets I learned a lot from it and probably wouldn’t be where I’m at today without that experience.
7. How would you describe your wrestling style?
EVAN HANSEN: Relaxed, composed and offensive. The more I have fun with it the better I wrestle. I just want to enjoy the opportunities and score points.
8. Who was your most influential coach?
EVAN HANSEN: I don’t think I can say one coach was more influential than another. Every coach I’ve had throughout my career has helped me in some way become a better wrestler. Mentally or physically they all have had a big impact on my life.
9. What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
EVAN HANSEN: I don’t remember where it was but I remember I was pretty young. I threw my headgear and went storming off and my parents just pulled me out of the tournament right there and said they wouldn’t put up with that attitude win or lose you’re respectful.
10. Was your team competitive in HS/college?
EVAN HANSEN: My high school team had 6 kids on it so we were never competitive in duals, but we did end up getting 10th at state my sophomore year when I won it and my teammate got 3rd. My college team has been very competitive winning 5 championships in my time at Grand View and winning 9 straight.
11. Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up? What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
EVAN HANSEN: Cael Sanderson had a big impact on me as a wrestler because I saw what he did and I would study his matches and try to build my style to be similar to his. I took the things he did and made them my own. Then I saw guys like Ben Askren wrestling and added some things from him.
12. How do you feel your changed after going to Grand View?
EVAN HANSEN: I’m a lot better at setting things up and getting to my shots to finish quickly all while getting my opponent tired without getting myself tired. When I first came in I wouldn’t stop moving and although nobody could keep that pace I couldn’t either.
13. You wrestled at a high level as both a lighter weight and as a heavier weight. Did you have to adapt your style as you grew? Was your experience wrestling as a light guy helpful for you when you were an upperweight?
EVAN HANSEN: I honestly didn’t adapt my style too much. I just took what I did at lighter weights and got better at it and focused on technique to help me make up for strength.
14. Do you feel like guys from smaller schools are wrongly encouraged to develop the belief that they are not as likely to succeed at the next level? If so, what do you have to say to these kids?
EVAN HANSEN: I believe that no matter where you come from it’s possible to succeed in whatever you do as long as you’re willing to put in the work. You might have to work twice as hard as everyone else to get half the recognition but it’s possible to accomplish things regardless of what your circumstances are.
15. You Grand View guys are nice, how do we get these people to stop booing and hating you guys before they know you?
EVAN HANSEN: I don’t think there’s a way to change people’s mind about Grand View but it’s really just up to each individual to live their lives to the best of their abilities and be grateful for the opportunities given to them along with being humble in defeat and victory.
16. Do you miss competing?
EVAN HANSEN: I’m still competing just wrestling greco now.
17. How do some of the D1 and NAIA guys compare to each other from your experience?
EVAN HANSEN: I think there’s a mutual respect between the two. Grand View goes and wrestles at D1 events all the time and does pretty well. It also depends on the athlete there’s people out there on a lot of teams that are there as a walk on and that’s okay but that doesn’t mean they can’t compete and the same goes for Grand View guys.
18. Do you feel some NAIA guys can compete at that level?
EVAN HANSEN: I think a lot of NAIA guys can compete at that level. The only difference between D1 and NAIA is the school size the rest is just people putting D1 on a pedestal and making it a bigger thing. That doesn’t mean that all D1 guys are better than the NAIA guys, that only means they get more recognition by the fans. It’s all wrestling and we’re trying to grow the sport.
19. Who are your favorite current HS and College wrestlers?
EVAN HANSEN: I rarely watch wrestling unless it’s for recruiting or helping my athletes.
20. If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
EVAN HANSEN: I wouldn’t change anything because each one of those experiences are what allowed me to push myself in college and do the things I did. In college if I didn’t lose I may not have had the drive to keep coming back and getting better every day. You never know which experience it is that makes the difference for you in the future so instead of dwelling on it take them as blessings and learn from them.
21. Have you gotten into coaching yet? How have your wrestling coaches influenced the way you approach coaching if so?
EVAN HANSEN: Yes, I’m the Assistant for both men and women at Avila University. my coaches in my career have had an influence in my coaching all in very different ways between what I feel works and what doesn’t and when to go hard and when we should let off a little bit mostly how to help the young men and women become the best versions of themselves by teaching them to be the best they can be in every aspect of their lives
22. Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
EVAN HANSEN: I wrestled seasonal in high school but never stopped going to camps and trying to learn and improve my skills. I never stopped working on my wrestling I just never went to practices. When I got to college I may have taken a couple months off but I never really stopped wrestling at any point.
23. What other sports did you play?
EVAN HANSEN: Baseball, Football, Cross Country
24. What are your favorite sports teams?
EVAN HANSEN: Baseball- Boston Red Sox, Football- New Orleans Saints. Idon’t watch basketball or really any other sport.
25 What are your hobbies?
EVAN HANSEN: I have a small youtube channel that I post on when I have free time, I spend time with my fiancé, I play video games, and I work out often.
26 How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
EVAN HANSEN: Wrestling has helped me build character, discipline, and take responsibility for my actions. I learned that you can’t blame others because you aren’t where you want to be. You just put your head down and go to work, be the hardest working person there.
27. Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
EVAN HANSEN: Give it everything you have. Even if you only plan to wrestle in junior high or high school. Time really fly’s and you’ll really regret it if you don’t give it everything you have and don’t accomplish the things you want to accomplish. Also have fun nobody starts wrestling because they hate it so always remember to have fun and enjoy the opportunities that God has given you.
28. Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
EVAN HANSEN: There’s a young kid named Alex Hansen who I’ve helped a little bit over the last few years, him, his parents and brother all came to watch me at nationals. He reminds me a lot of myself but he has a lot more work ethic than I had at that age. He’s got great things going for him in whatever he does.
So lately I have been uploading videos from the 1997 Dream Team Classic and if it’s one thing I learned, it’s that I have been sleeping on just how good one of the guys on Team Iowa was that year… His name was Nate Trees from Greene. I mean, I knew he was good…I’ve read his name several times. It’s just that when I saw that he faced Hawkeye legend, Mike Zadick (MT) in this meet, I figured that he would be one of these guys who just got killed out there. I mean, it would take someone really good to not get demolished against Zadick, for Zadick was a HS phenom. I expected to watch a butt-kicking. And that’s not anything against Trees…it’s a testament to how good Zadick was. And boy was I wrong in my assumption with THAT. Trees gave Zadick a GREAT match. Zadick had to fight hard to beat him.
I knew right there that I was obviously clueless about how good Nate Trees was, so I decided to look into it further. And it turns out, I was out of the loop in terms of how good his father was, as well! Nate is the son of Doug Trees, a former wrestler out of Greene HS who competed for them from 1966-1969. Doug was a 4X finalist. And he won it his Junior and Senior years and finished with a 115-5 record. That’s pretty awesome! Awesome enough to earn a spot in the Hall Of Fame. And his son, Nate, was a chip off the block. Check this out….
Nate Trees was a 4X state qualifier/4X placer/1X state champion who placed; 5th, 3rd, 3rd and 1st as a Senior. And get this…
As a Freshman, Nate Trees came into the state tournament with a 31-1 regular season record and finished 5th.
As a Sophomore at 1A 119, Nate Trees came into the state tournament with a 33-0 regular season record and finished 3rd.
As a Junior, Nate Trees came into the state tournament with a 31-0 regular season record and finished 3rd.
As a Senior, Nate Trees came into the state tournament with a 34-0 regular season record, which ended up being 38-0 after he won state.
The math is pretty simple…. This guy won over 30 matches every season he competed and he only had ONE regular season loss. Only ONE!!! He finished with a record of 150-5, which meant that he had the same amount of wins as his Hall Of Fame father, but 35 more wins than him.
My goodness, this man deserves some serious respect for what he accomplished out there. And he won in dominant fashion as well. The year he won it, he majored two guys, beat another one by 4 points and pinned a future state champion (Seth Evans) who was a Freshman at the time. Heck, as a Junior, he had won loss, but had a tech, a decision and two falls. Both his Junior and Senior years he defeated a future State Champion, one being Evans, the other being Rob Hoback.
Nate Trees, remember that name, for he deserves to be remembered. He was phenomenal.
1994 1A 119
1 Jason Keenan, Jr., Ogden
2 Don LaGrange, St., Montezuma
3 Shannon Phillips, Jr., Interstate 35, Truro
4 Jay Collins, Sr., Underwood
5 Nate Trees, Fr., Greene
6 Brian Wallis, Logan-Magnolia
1995 1A 125
1 Jason Keenan, Sr., Ogden *** 4 Time State Champion
2 Eric Hart, Jr., Coon Rapids-Bayard
3 Nate Trees, So., Greene
4 Benjie Winegarden, Sr., North English, English Valleys
5 Mark Van Beek, Jr., Rock Valley
6 Jarret Herke, Sr., Graettinger
1996 1A 130
1 Travis Morrow, Sr., Lake City, Southern Cal
2 Trevor Kruger, Sr., George-Little Rock
3 Nate Trees, Jr., Greene
4 Matt McEnany, Jr., Cedar Rapids LaSalle
5 Brian Ewing, Sr., Moravia
6 Jeff Evans, Jr., Oakland, Riverside
1997 1A 135
1 Nate Trees, Sr., Greene
2Matt Nason, West Marshall, State Center
3 Coleman Bell, Sr., Mason City Newman
4 Billy Foor, Jr., Wapello
5 Jeremiah Mullins, Sr., Aurelia
6 Jeremy Hagerman, Sr., Central City
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