CEDAR RAPIDS — Dustin Coufal wanted to find a way to give back to wrestling, a sport which had given him so much through the years.
So in 2008, Coufal started the DC Elite Wrestling Club in an effort to take wrestlers from all ages and all skill levels and build them up to be the best they could be, both on and off the mat.
Last year, Coufal put the Cedar Rapids portion of the club in mothballs while he coached wrestling at North Linn High School.
After a year of processing things and at the urging of parents and wrestlers from all around, Coufal has decided to resume the DC Elite Club in Cedar Rapids.
So on Aug. 26, Coufal will host a grand opening at the new facility located in Hiawatha, just off the 380 exit on the north end of Cedar Rapids. DC Elite will showcase its new building, a 3,200 square foot garage with mats aplenty.
Coufal is excited to get the Cedar Rapids club back up and running this fall.
“We are taking over a garage next week and we will get busy laying the mats down,” Coufal said. “It’s right off 380. It’s the first exit as you are coming south from Waterloo or the last exit as you are heading north toward Waterloo. It’s a great location.”
Coufal said he kept the DC Elite branches open in Mount Pleasant and West Burlington. Those site are operated by Johnny Siegel and John Siegel. But parents and wrestlers in the Cedar Rapids area were clamoring for the reopening of the Cedar Rapids site. Coufal was happy to oblige.
“We started looking around for sites to have it and found a great location where the price is good,” Coufal said. “A lot of my kids were driving down to Mount Pleasant and West Burlington, but they wanted something closer to this area.”
Coufal, a two-time NCAA qualifier for Wisconsin, went back to his old stomping grounds for a little help.
“I actually went up to Madison, Wisconsin, and they were redoing their indoor football practice facility,” Coufal said. “We were able to get their wall mats. Everything just kind of fell into place from there.”
Coufal said he plans to have divisions for beginners, advanced, elite and girls. Brandon Pence, who worked at HardDrive wrestling last year, is coming on board to work with the girls. He helped coach the Iowa girls team the Disney Duals this summer.
“He’s bringing over his group of girls and I expect a lot more girls to join,” Coufal said. “Girls wrestling is getting ready to explode here in Iowa and we want to be on board with it.”
Coufal is also bringing in Dan LeClere, a four-time Iowa state champion and All-American at Iowa, as a clinician.
“he’s going to run some sessions in Hiawatha,” Coufal said. “Dan teaches a lot of great technique. He worked over in the Bettendorf and Davenport area and really helped Jack Wagner and Fredy Stroker and a lot of those guys. We are really excited about bringing Dan on board with us.”
Coufal said the DC Elite Club is holding a fundraising raffle, with the drawing on Aug. 26 at the grand opening. Prizes include Iowa football and wrestling season tickets and UNI and Iowa State wrestling season tickets.
Coufal said Iowa national champion and recently retired Wisconsin wrestling coach Barry Davis will be on hand for a couple hours at the grand opening, which is scheduled from noon-8 p.m. on Aug. 26. Coufal said there will be plenty of food on hand and hopes to have a large turnout of people to come and see the new facilities and take home information to sign up for the DC Elite club.
“There will be a lot of DC Elite alumni there, too. We have a great tradition. A lot of our guys have gone on to do great things in high school and college,” Coufal said. “Hopefully a lot of people will come out to check us out. Everyone is invited.”