160 Best of the Best: John Henrich

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

1.) John Henrich- Akron Westfield
2.) Cade Devos- SE Polk
3.) Jacob Herrmann- Waverly-Shell Rock
4.) Skylar Noftsger- Ballard
5.) Ryker Kurimski- Western Dubuque
6.) Baylor Crigger- Camanche


* People can go back and forth and back and forth and on and on about this one and who deserves the #1 spot, but the fact of the matter is….How can Henrich not win this when he wrestled 3 unblemished seasons in Iowa, all at 160, in a manner in which witnessing the guy give up a mere point was a rarity? The guy was undefeated in 3 years in Iowa, winning state all three years.  Forget the “who did he wrestle?” hogwash that gets thrown around sometimes, for Henrich has pretty consistently wrestled good competition and definitely never had a cake-walk bracket at state… I followed his weight range very well, trust me. The kid finished 132-0 with 103 pins. And get this…in 3 years of wrestling in Iowa, the guy only gave up a combined 16 points. He gave up 3 points in his 2017 finals match and 7 in his 2018 finals match (both matches he won), but that’s 10 of the 16… These two finals opponents were eventual AA’s in NAIA and D3 this season. Other than those two finals matches, he only gave up 6 points in his entire career.  He didn’t give up a single point at all this season.  And Akron-Westfield does wrestle competition…it’s just some of their competition is unfamiliar to us, for they are from SD, NE, etc. schools.  Seriously, if those numbers can’t notch this for him, I don’t know what else he would have to do.  And I am very familiar with Cade Devos… I remember him from way back when, winning AAU State every year. It has become rare to see him lose since he was in youth. Was ranked 1ST when he got injured as a Freshman, got 2nd at 3A 132 to Bradan Birt from Western Dubuque, who was just on fire at the time (isn’t that who beat Runyon in that same tourney?)…then wins it last year and dominates this year.  He’s a big deal.  I know this. He is awesome.  And I know the schedule SE Polk wrestles…it is as tough as they say. They run into some stacked teams from everywhere. I don’t know who would win in a match between Devos and Henrich…I’d like to see it. But Henrich’s stats, and given that Akron-Westfield’s schedule isn’t weak by any means…nor is it strong, but it’s a solid schedule for sure, forces me to conclude, “how can you possibly pick against him and be considered fair?”  No disrespect to Devos…I’m not saying one is better than the other…It’s just that one’s career was more flawless than the other…but Devos isn’t far off, which is sensational given SE Polk’s schedule.  He only had 1 loss that I remember (to Teske) as a Freshman before he got hurt, lost a couple-few times as both a SO and JR and placed 2nd and 1st. Went undefeated and got 1ST this year… Still though… 3 years, 3 titles, no losses and only 16 total points given up…How can Henrich not be given credit for that and who in 1A is more deserving of being named Captain?

* I hyped Jacob Herrmann quite a bit this year because I thought the run he was on was pretty cool. He was undefeated going into his finals match with Devos.  And he only lost 3-1 to Devos. It was fun watching this kid gradually prove to everyone that he is legit. And it was also fun following Ryker Kurimski from Western Dubuque who placed 3rd in that bracket as well, for he dominated everyone he wrestled this year…except Herrmann. Wrestled him during the season with Herrmann winning 5-4 and wrestled him in the semis at state with Herrmann winning 3-1.  Only blemishes on Kurimski’s record.  That was a quietly loaded bracket.  All 3 of those guys, Devos, Herrmann and Kurimski would win most other 3A 160 brackets that have came and went.  If you asked me who the hardest working person that I’ve ever met was, one of the first 3 answers I would give you would be Paul Cleary, who I wrestled with at Loras College. Cleary is the Head Coach for Western Dubuque. Cleary told me that Kurimsky was one of, if not THE hardest working wrestler he ever coached was Ryker Kurimsky.  Coming from Cleary, that’s saying a lot, for an insanely high level of hard work is part of Cleary’s lifestyle/culture.

* There are a couple 2A multi-sporters on this list. Skylar Noftsger, Wes Cummings and Baylor Crigger to name a few.  2A 160 probably had the best all-around athletes. Wes Cummings is good at everything and was the key-piece, football star for the PCM team that won state this Fall. Skylar Noftsger is good at track and football…I think he was 1st team all-state football and scores state placer-level times in track consistently. Noftsger got 2nd, 4th and 1st at state in his last 3 years.  He could arguably be ranked higher on the list.  Winning a bracket that included guys like Wes Cummings, Baylor Crigger, Justin McCunn, Zach Williams, etc. is pretty awesome. Noftsger is way up there. Had 1 apparent loss to Caleb Swalla this season. Not sure what went on there.  Baylor Crigger… is definitely a “Bo Knows” type multi-sporter from Camanche, IA.  Star QB for them, wrestler, I think he runs track, etc.  He was the “Herald Player of the Year” (Clinton) for football this year.  He also comes from a body-building family, so we may see him doing that after his wrestling career concludes at Loras College, where he will join former Camanche teammate, Brice Everson.

* IN THE HUNT: Carson Tenold.  These Tenold twins from Bosco are going to be fun. Not only are they fun to watch on the mat, but their personalities make things fun…they wear their emotions on their sleeves and are so supportive of each other and it’s cool.  Carson got 2nd at 1A 160.  Won some huge matches to reach the finals.  Cole Davis (JR) from Indee placed 4th and started really winning some big matches after the first week or two of the season. Justin McCunn from Red Oak placed 2nd at 2A 160 and will be back next year for his SR. season.