When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?
I started wrestling when I was four years old. My father is the one who introduced me to the sport.
Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?
My old man wrestled back in his day. He went to Wilton High School and hammered on kids. Sadly though, his career was cut short due to injuries. I grew up with my brother, Dallas, and my two cousins, Johnny and Jacob. Dallas didn’t get into wrestling until 8th grade, but he worked hard and was a state qualifier for BHS his Jr year. My two cousins wrestled for a few years and both did well for themselves. We all were hard headed and extremely competitive kids.
Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?
I caught on to the sport pretty quick. My first couple years as a preschool/ kindergartner, I did awful, winning maybe two to three matches and losing about twenty-five. But by my first grade year I had caught on and won nearly every match.
What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?
I have wrestled around in quite a few places growing up. When I first started wrestling I went to Burlington’s Youth Club. I also attended many Mediapolis youth club practices. So as a kid I was able to grow and watch wrestlers such as Matt Seabold, Austin Boyd, Dalton Witte, Drew Foster, Adam Drain, Shea and Brennan Swafford, and both Luke and Cole Erickson. All great wrestlers who achieved great heights throughout High school and some competed collegially. Eventually though, I ended with DC elite, training under Old Man Siegel and Johnny Siegel. Each club had great benefits to offer and I couldn’t have asked for better coaching staff.
What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?
My favorite memory as a kid was watching Stewart Holloway win a state title his senior year. I remember it like it was yesterday. With 7 seconds left on the clock, Stewart gets down in referees position. He immediately stands up and he’s let free. He turns, shoots hard, and gets two to win a state title for West Burlington. Another good memory is going up to Monster USA wrestling club for freestyle practice and getting to drill with Tony Ramos.
How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?
From first grade to eighth grade, I got 1st or 2nd at every state tournament besides my seventh grade year. That was a bad year. I didn’t place at all.
What are some of your more memorable moments from high school wrestling?
Some of my favorite moments in high school were at Malachek camp in Wisconsin, Dells. We stayed at a nice resort and had condos most every year. We would walk around the inside and outside water park and try to pick up girls. I’ve actually gotten a kiss up there so I’d call that pretty successful. We also got caught being awake past 2 am with all the lights on, music playing, people in the jacuzzi, and video games being played. We accidentally left the door cracked open because the lock was in the way. A bunch of college kids came in and made us do push-ups and burpees in the middle of the night.
How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level?
I qualified my sophomore and senior year. As a sophomore I came one match short from placing. As a senior I placed 5th coming back from the transfer rule and shoulder surgery.
Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?
As a kid I really looked up to my first original coach’s, Alex Sherwood and my father. They just knew how to pump me up and get ready to wrestle. Every state title I won as a kid I had those two in my corner. I also have always enjoyed watching David Taylor wrestle. I like his style and have watched him since his early college years. The Taylor and Dake matchups have always been one of my favorite.
You had some wild battles with a wrestler from CR Prairie names Colton LaGrange at districts and state. I mean, they were just wild. Would you consider those battles a couple of your most intense matches in your HS career considering the circumstances?
He was one of few to shock me during a match. He came out with heavy hands and constant movement. He took me down multiple times. I would definitely say he has given me some of my most intense matches.
Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?
I would say my eighth grade year I noticed the most improvements. My technique improved greatly and was able to compete with higher level kids.
Who were some of your toughest competitors in HS?
Throughout high school my toughest opponents were Colten Lagrange, Kyle Hefley, and Shawn brown. Nobody though could compete with my lifetime practice partner Brennan Swafford. He was the toughest challenge all through my career.
What are your wrestling goals now that you are moving on from high school?
I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I would love to continue to find ways to incorporate wrestling in my life.
How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?
I would say my wrestling style compares to that of David Taylor and Bryce Meredith. Kinda funky along with great scrambling.
Do you have any regrets from wrestling or did you leave it all out there?
I regret a lot in my wrestling career. I wish I would have dedicated myself and worked harder. Some practices I felt that I absolutely did not want to be there, but in reality I was already there, so I should’ve made the most of it.
What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?
I’ve played football, cross country, wrestling, soccer, track, and baseball. I did well in all sports, but wrestling was definitely my most successful one.
What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?
Lately, I’ve been lifting a lot of weights, trying to get big before college. But I mainly go for long car rides with friends listening to music and hanging out. Sometimes during the winter I like to throw on my snowboarding gear and go to snowstar with friends.
What is some of the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever heard was “Shi* happens.” It’s quite simple, yet has a deep meaning. Everybody goes through their own personal problems, and life likes to throw curveballs, but through it all, things will always get better. Whether you made a mistake or an external force caused problems in your life, stay strong and things will work out for the best.
Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?
The way you practice is the way you will perform. If you are lazy and feeling sorry for yourself, nothing will come out of that practice. Always tell yourself that your opponent is working harder than you, then push yourself past your limit. It’ll build your mental toughness and prepare you for battle.
What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?
I would have to say freestyle is my favorite type of wrestling. Although I didn’t wrestle as much of it as I’d like to, I felt as if my style of wrestling fit it better.
Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?
Jim Drain, Jay Huff, and both Siegel’s influenced my life in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. Without them, I wouldn’t be near as technical nor would I have near as much mental toughness.
What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?
My plans for college are still undecided. Regardless of my decision to wrestle or not I hope to incorporate it into my life. I’d love to become a coach at some point and be a mentor for my future children.
What is the future outlook for Burlington wrestling?
As Matt Seabold takes over the high school coaching spot, I strongly believe BHS will thrive in the sport of wrestling. He makes strong connections with all the students and is always willing to help those out who want to get better. We also move conferences next year, which I hope will provide more confidence in our wrestlers.