e-mail dist. list form
hope this will make things easier when sending out forms and
other important info via email to all our parents and wrestlers.
"The Night The Names On The Wall Came To Life!
2010 State Finalist Reunion
For those of you who were unable to attend we have posted a pdf version of the finalist program for you to download.
PLEASE CLICK HERE
A Condensed Look at the First Fifty plus years
1970 Jefferson used two district champs (Dan Rowray-130
and Clark Beltz-155) and two runners-up (Steve Sadler-145
and Tim Balvanz-165) to take sixth place in the
first state tournament to be held in Veteran’s
Auditorium in Des Moines. Rowray became Coach McNiel’s
second state champ at Jefferson while Beltz took
second and Sadler fourth. The J-Hawks were second
in the conference with an 8-1-1 record.
Later that spring Rowray would break his neck in
a freestyle tournament at SE Polk High School.
the time, he was told he would never walk again,
but being single-minded and strong willed, Dan proved
the experts wrong. He lives in Cedar Rapids to this
day. Balvanz would go on to compete for UNI and
then become a successful long time high school head
coach in Washington, Iowa.
1971 A strong dual meet squad posted a 10-1 record to
win Coach McNiel’s second MVC conference crown.
Good things were on the horizon as the sophomore
team posted an impressive 9-0 dual record. The super-sophs
would make themselves known to all Iowans over the
next two years. Jefferson sent two individuals to
state getting a third place finish from Bill Williams-138.
Mark Beltz-185 also qualified. The next three seasons
McNiel’s J-Hawks would produce a string of
victories and unparalleled success in school history.
1972 The 1971-72 grapplers completed only the second
undefeated season in the school’s history.
But the optimism was so great, history teacher Ken
Marsh turned on a blue victory light bulb in his
hallway window that would not to be dimmed until
someone defeated the J-Hawks in a dual. It would
glow brightly for several years. The team featured
many underclassmen that posted fine records throughout
the season as well as at the state tournament. Five
individuals qualified for state, including seniors
Mike Gallagher-98, Brad Suma-126, and Steve Riess-Hwt,
along with juniors Gary Bentrim-119 and Kent Miller-145.
Gallagher, Suma, and Bentrim made the championship
finals. Both Mike and Brad won titles. Bentrim finished
second, although he was handily ahead in his title
match before “getting caught” and losing
by fall. Miller garnered third, Riess sixth. Jefferson
scored 51 points in the tournament, good enough
for second place in the “Big Barn”.
Gallagher and Riess would go on to compete for Luther
College. Mike then returned to Jefferson as an assistant
coach under Tim Fowler. The Norsemen inducted Gallagher
into their athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of
2006. State runner-up status would not be good enough
for McNiel’s grapplers the next two seasons.
1973 This proved to be a year of many firsts. First in
the MVC, sectionals, districts, and first in the
state of Iowa. McNiel’s second consecutive
11-0 season was capped by one of the most exciting
final rounds in state tournament history, and it
involved two familiar foes, rivals from the same
city. The J-Hawks were protecting a slight lead
going into the Saturday night championship session
over arch nemesis CR Washington. Both Jefferson
and Washington had three men in the finals, all
winner would be the team that could come up with
the most champs. Jeff got its first break when Paul
Vornbrock of LeMars scored in the third period to
defeat Wash’s Marion Ray at 105 lbs. Brothers
Glynn and Chuck Jones were quick to put the Warriors
ahead with state crowns at 112 and 119 lbs respectively.
Just as quickly, Jeff’s Gary Bentrim grabbed
the 126 lb title, erasing the pain of losing in
the finals the previous year. This left Jefferson
2.5 points behind the Warriors. Jeff’s next
finalist, Don Zimmerman at 138 lbs, sealed the team
victory with a win over Merrill Norris of Indianola.
All that was left was for Howard Johnson at 167
lbs, one of three undefeated J-Hawks on the season,
to push the team total higher and claim a more convincing
team victory. Johnson, suffering from a knee injury,
was unable to fulfill his dream, but his second
place medal along with fourth place winners Don
Hittenmiller-98 and Larry Harkness-145 were enough
to bring the gold trophy home to the west side of
Cedar Rapids. Actually the J-Hawks figured to win
state handily, taking a school record ten qualifiers
at twelve weights. But as assistant coach John Weld
recalls, “We sent all our district runners-up
down to the “Barn” for competition a
day ahead, without the team leaders who had won
district titles”. First day losses by Paul
Viktora-105, Dan Kruse-112, Terry Lutz-119, Tom
Cornally-132, and Scott Smith-Hwt made it a nail-biter
finish to remember. Bentrim, with his patented arm
drag and cradle, went on to become a three-time
NCAA Division II national champion at UNI.
1974 Jefferson repeated as state champs in 1974 with
what could be categorized as truly a team effort.
Seven matmen went to Des Moines for the title defense
and six returned with medals. Cassim Igram became
an instant hero as the senior who carried a 14-9
record to state, topping three previously undefeated
185 ponders to make the finals. Those three wrestlers
left the tournament with a combined 79-3 record
for the season. Coach McNiel was quick to point
out that winning a state title is always a team
effort. Seniors Don Hittenmiller-105, Paul Viktora-112,
and Dick Briggs-138 took second, third, and fourth
respectively. Juniors Jed Brown-126 and Jim Comried-145
were third and sixth. Junior Tom Sadler-155 rounded
out the list of qualifiers. Ironically, Igram was
Jeff’s only loser in a memorable 40-3 dual
meet thrashing of the Warriors earlier in the season.
That win was one of the J-Hawks twelve dual meet
victories in their third consecutive undefeated
season. Bill McNiel recorded his fourth MVC title
in six years as head J-Hawk. Briggs would go on
to become a four-year letterman and two-time All
American for UNI at 150 lbs. He would later make
a return in 1983 as the skipper of the J-Hawk grapplers.
Igram wrestled two seasons at UNI, one season as
their varsity 190-pounder.
J-Hawks won their fifth consecutive MVC crown posting an
11-1 record. However, cross-town rival Washington halted
the three-year undefeated streak and Ken Marsh’s blue
victory-light had to be extinguished. Ironically senior
Tom Sadler avenged his dual meet loss to Washington’s
Milton Turner in the 5th place match at 155 lbs. That J-Hawk
victory meant that Washington, the team that stopped Jefferson’s
3½ year dual meet consecutive victory string was
shutout without scoring a point in the 1975 tourney. Brown
went on to wrestle at 158 lbs for Dan Gable at Iowa and
was an NCAA qualifier in 1979, losing a hard fought 13-11
decision to Cyclone national champion Kelly Ward before
1975 Three state qualifiers returned from the 1974 championship
team. Jed Brown-132, Jim Comried-145, and Tom Sadler-155
all made the return trip to the Barn with six of
their teammates. In all, six of the nine qualifiers
won places on the award stand, but that was only
good enough for fourth place team honors. Comried
became McNiel’s seventh state champ at Jefferson,
Brown repeated his third place standing and Sadler
came in fifth. Seniors Bruce Feuerhelm-167 and Dave
Johnson-185 were fourth and sixth respectively and
junior Tom Chapman-105 was fifth. Seniors Jim Gallagher-112
and Jim Balvanz-119 also qualified.
|Our very own Mark Ironside,
Two-Time State Champion
has been inducted to the
Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame
Class of 2010. Read the article and more information on the 2010 induction ceremony!
cick here to visit website