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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
1994 While reflecting on his 1994 team Coach Briggs proclaimed
this his, “most fun season of coaching to
date. They were outstanding to be around, they were
a hard working, fun, coachable, high achieving team.
Each member brought their own personality and character
to the room.” They did not win a state trophy,
placing second at the district tournament and sixth
in Des Moines, but they did win at North Scott,
the J-Hawk, and at Ames.
placed third in the MVC Super-Meet as Travis Pike-152
won his second outright MVC crown. To this day
he is still the only Jefferson wrestler who can
make that claim. When “zero hour”
arrived at Veterans Auditorium all five state
qualifiers brought home medals. Jefferson’s
fifth three-time qualifier Travis Pike played
the ace of spades in his overtime finals match
when he kelly-ied Casey Aldridge of Indianola
to his back avenging one of only two defeats on
the season. A new rule this season placed victory
in all overtime matches (dual or tournament) on
scoring the first point from your feet in a two-minute
sudden victory. Pike was not the only J-Hawk finalist
that Saturday evening on center stage, fellow
senior and two-time medallist, Jon Vlasek faced
his old nemesis (Eric Juergens of Maquoketa) for
the fourth time in two years. The two gladiators
faced off twice each his junior and senior year,
they proved to be Vlasek’s only losses.
It is a fact if Juergens had been in 2A, as Maquoketa
is today, Jon Vlasek would clearly have been a
two-time state champion for Jefferson. In their
final meeting in the 112 lb 3A state finals Vlasek
immediately took Juergens down to his back and
held him there for what seemed like an eternity.
Slow to react, the dumbfounded official did not
react in time or position himself to see both
scapula clearly down on the mat for several counts.
Unfortunately, Juergens fought off his back winning
by decision on his way to becoming one of precious
few four-time Iowa state champions. Juergens’
career high school record was 144-0. He would
go on to compete for the Iowa Hawkeyes becoming
a four-time All American and two-time NCAA champion.
Briggs would later reveal Jon Vlasek was, “the
most complete wrestler I have ever coached, an
excellent athlete, fierce competitor, great team
leader, with awesome work ethic.” Vlasek
finished his career eclipsing Mark Ironside’s
four-year wins record with 142. Also becoming
state medallists were seniors Jeremy White-103
and Jason Meier-135 both placing fifth, and junior
AJ Williams-119 copping sixth. Footnote: White
went on to wrestle four years for Central College
and is an assistant coach at Oskaloosa today.
1995 In the six years previous to 1995 Dick Briggs’
J-Hawks found a way to place in the top ten in
Des Moines each season. Forty-three state qualifiers
produced twenty-nine medals and eight individual
state champions. In addition, the eleven years
previous saw Jefferson sophomore teams post a
dual record of 125-15-0. Although the 1995 varsity
squad would not produce comparable results, they
would find a way to do something that had not
been done since the McNiel-era teams of the seventies.
Cedar Rapids Prairie had not lost a dual to a
metro team in almost twenty years. The streak
came to an end at the hand of a determined group
of J-Hawks, 27-25. In doing so, they also won
the first MVC crown in ten years finishing 11-1.
Oddly, that string-ending Prairie team would go
on to win the state title at Veteran’s Auditorium
the next month. The MVC was well represented at
the barn once again with two of the top four 3A
schools. Briggs called it, “the best dual
season since I’ve been coach at Jefferson.”
Eight wrestlers recorded more than twenty wins
for the season. Unfortunately, it was also the
worst district and state tournaments since he
took over in 1983. Three seniors represented the
blue and white in Des Moines. AJ Williams-112,
Russ Tollefson-119, and Jake Smithhart-140, competed
but all returned empty-handed (For only the third
time in thirty-eight years). Because of this disappointment,
but also because there was keen interest, a J-Hawk
Youth Wrestling program began without an identifiable
name, they would later be known as the Bad Boys.
1996 Add to that last statistic four times in thirty-nine
years. In 1996 seven state qualifiers made the
trip to the Big Barn and for the second year in
a row each returned without a medal around their
neck. Sophomores Nick Bloxham-103 and Tim Ironside-119,
juniors Tom Eaton-145 and Dan Newhard-171, and
seniors Brian Newhard-152, Tracy Donels-160, and
Andy Evers-189 all made the trip for the J-Hawks.
The dual season produced ten wins but also seven
losses, due in part to grades, injury, illness,
defection, and an inability to put a 275 lb competitor
on the mat once all season. For the first time
in school history the entire team roster slipped
to just thirty brave souls. Four sophomores were
varsity regulars and six freshmen strapped on
a varsity singlet at some point during the course
of the season. At one point the 1996 J-Hawks were
6-6 and still justifiably ranked tenth in 3A.
They lost twice to the number one ranked team,
had defeated the number six team, and lost tightly
contested duals to numbers two, three, five and
seven. Brian Newhard (Captain, MVW, 32 wins, 16
falls) led the team winning four tournaments including
the J-Hawk, MVC Super-Meet, and Districts. Briggs
recapped the season stating the obvious, “The
coaching staff is very proud of the seven state
qualifiers. From a team standpoint it was a frustrating
season, knowing how good this team had the potential
to be, but never realizing it.”
|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