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"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
1984 Assistant coach Jim Cox knew Dick Briggs was destined
to leave his post at Washington. Briggs had resurrected
the Washington program and he knew he would have
a strong Warrior team returning in 1984. Jim convinced
Dick to sit down and write a list of all the pluses
and minuses of making the move. Cox was sure the
time was right for “Briggsie” to lateral
home, donning the blue and white again. Cox’s
promise of a used lawnmower tipped the scale to
the westside and Dick gladly made the return move.
Seniors Dan Denlinger-132 and Jeff Knox-155 qualified
for the state tournament but once there, neither
could win a match and for the second year in a
row no medals returned home with the J-Hawks.
Yet, there was reason for optimism with an 8-3
dual record (best since 1975) and a sophomore
team that won the MVC crown poised to return.
Briggs would push off-season lifting, expand freestyle
wrestling, and promote multiple-sport athletes
as a new era of high expectations began.
1985 The message got through and the medal drought
lifted in 1985. Briggs enjoyed his first Jefferson
state finalist as senior Darrell Long (2nd at
167 lbs) and junior Scott Mihal (4th at 112 lbs)
paced six Jeff qualifiers on the mats in Des Moines.
Kelly Mihal-105, John Anderson-119, Richard Neese-126,
and Brian Bos-155 all made the trip but fell short
of medals. A dual record of 9-3 produced the MVC
title as four wrestlers topped the elusive twenty-win
mark. Fifteen varsity tournament champions were
crowned in an era when the schedule only allowed
for five Saturday competitions. Two side notes:
The Mihal brothers are nephews of Rich Mihal and
1985 was the first year Jim Cox used a Mac computer
(no typewriter) to produce the season statistics
and reflection banquet booklet.
1986 A new concept called the “technical fall”
was instituted in Iowa high school wrestling as
the new season began. At Jefferson career-ending
injuries to key seniors Scott Mihal and Dean Spicer
led a parade of mishaps that produced a 6-6 dual
season. Mihal separated his shoulder in the first
meet of the year but returned for the J-Hawk Invitational
to defeat the eventual state champion at his weight
12-5. He would later reinjure the shoulder and
miss out on a return to Des Moines. Spicer, who
missed his entire junior year with a broken leg,
made a solid return and defeated the eventual
state runner-up before being sidelined the week
of the district tournament with blood poisoning.
It was 155 lb senior Paul Arthurs who proved to
be the consistent bright spot all season. He finished
with a twenty-nine-win season and a fifth place
medal from the state tournament. Senior Mark Hartman
moved up from 189 to heavyweight to qualify for
state, as did 126 lb junior Greg Garman.
1987 Another new concept in Iowa high school wrestling
began in 1987; it was called the State Dual Meet
Tournament and it was held the week after traditional
state in Des Moines. To qualify, a 3A team first
needed to win its district tournament and then win
a regional qualifying dual meet. Jefferson’s
grapplers were up to the task for the first requirement,
but not the second.
spoiled their bid to bring home a new type of team
trophy from the inaugural event. This edition of
J-Hawk grapplers won their district and the SE Polk
tournaments. They were runner-up at the J-Hawk Invitational
and placed second in the MVC with a 10-4 dual mark.
Five state qualifiers, all seniors, included Brian
Kuhlman-119, Vance Hikiji-126, Greg Garman-132,
Dennis Dye-167, and David Simmons-185. Only Garman
would come home a medallist as he bulldozed his
way to the finals before yielding earning runner-up
status. What won’t show up in the stat-book
is how badly Greg injured his knee in late January
and how determined he was to finish his senior year
in the proud, and often explosive fashion he was
accustomed to living his life. This season also
saw the advent of a MVC tournament for the sophomores
and junior varsity. Initially, team scores were
kept at each and the J-Hawks handily walked away
with both crowns in addition to their MVC dual meet
titles. At that time twelve weights were contested
in each division. Combined, sixteen J-Hawks made
it to the finals of the two tournaments, proving
future seasons could indeed be bright. Footnote:
David Simmons went on to become a two-time All American
and NCAA Division III runner-up for the Coe College
Kohawks before serving in Desert Storm and then
returning to Jefferson as a science teacher and
assistant wrestling coach for three years.
1988 Once again, a new innovation made the start of the
1988 season one to remember. Ninth graders now attended
four-year high schools in Cedar Rapids. The shear
numbers out for wrestling at Jefferson necessitated
holding two practices because the room could not
hold all the bodies. Freshman coach Dan Conner held
his sessions for the new frosh at 5:30 pm after
the first practice finished. They brought an air
of excitement to the program, in fact the first
freshman to ever wrestle varsity for the J-Hawks
was a young man named Matt Ironside, who won the
match by fall.
varsity turned in an 11-4-1 dual record, good for
second in the MVC. They were also district runner-up
to Prairie and failed to qualify for a return to
state dual competition. Interestingly, the one dual
tie with Hempstead included three match ties (there
were no overtimes in duals) and a match at super-heavyweight,
which was only contested if opposing coaches agreed.
Six young men qualified to compete in Des Moines.
Jeff Karr-119, Marc Chase-126, Matt Orton-132, Jeff
McAllister-138, Troy Sund-185, and super-heavyweight
David Quentin. For the third season in a row the
J-Hawks took several athletes to the Big Barn but
only one returned with hardware. This year’s
version saw Jeff McAllister alone stand on the podium
steps earning a fifth place medal. Coach Briggs,
not satisfied or impressed, challenged his future
teams to “… possess ‘championship
mentality’, have one thing on your mind at
all times, everything you do takes you one step
closer to your goal.” Most of all, it had
been eight years since a Jefferson wrestler brought
home a gold medal. Would the 1989 version of Jefferson
wrestling listen and learn? Two more undefeated
sophomore and junior varsity squads might have something
to say in response to the challenge.
|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