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BALL FIVE: Tigers tie for most state wrestlers

Seemingly within minutes after the Tigers won the Region 4B wrestling crown on Saturday, there was a Facebook post asking when was the last time the Tigers sent 10 wrestlers to state. There was a list of answers in the comments. Not many were right. Maybe that’s because it was more than 30 years ago. Even longer ago than the last time the Tigers were Region 4B champions. Both questions will be answered here, along with a little deeper dive into Tiger wrestling history.
Let’s start with team region championships. It’s a shorter tale to tell. The Tigers last won the Region 4B title 26 years ago in 1992. That region title was the end of a long Tiger reign in 4B wrestling. From 1980 to 1992, the Tigers won nine Region 4B titles, taking the crown in 1980, ’81, ’82, ’84, ’88, ’89, ’91 and ’92. In 1986, the Tigers won their only Class A title, winning the Section 3A Tournament. The Tigers won three Region 4B titles in the 1970s. The 1972 team that took second in state won the Tigers’ first-ever Region 4B title. That was followed by reigning again in ’76 and ’77. This year’s region title is the 14th in Tiger wrestling history (including the 3A sectional).
We have to go back 31 years to find the last time the Tigers sent 10 wrestlers to state. That year coach Joe Coghlan took 10 wrestlers to the State Tournament. Kansas DuBray at 145, Jim Salsziedler at 112 and B.J. Shillingstad at 98 won section titles. John Salziedler at 119 and Tate Moser at 155 took second. Brad Heil at 132 and Corey Dale at 185 took third, and Brad Brockel at 105, Clark Bakkegard at 155 and Doug Faehnrich at 167 took fourth. That team finished sixth in state with DuBray winning the state title, John Salziedler taking second, Moser taking fifth, and Jim Salsziedler and Faehnrich taking sixth.
The Tigers took 10 wrestlers to state back-to-back in 1981 and 1982 under coach Rod Moon.
The 1982 state champions cruised through the region tourney with Tim Lawrence at 105, David Rowe at 112, Mike Monfore at 132, Ross Kornmann at 145, Jeff Martin at 185 and Kyle Jensen at heavyweight winning titles. Bill Syverson took second at 145. Greg Heil at 98 and Jeff Martz at 119 took third and Bob Clapsaddle at 167 took fourth. At state the next week, Jensen won the heavyweight state title, Monfore took second, Martin third, Lawrence fourth, and Heil, Rowe and Kornmann fifth. Rowe started his run of four straight state titles the following season.
In 1981, the Tigers took fourth in state after winning the region. Winning region titles were Don Davidson at 105, Al Lawrence at 119, Mike Monfore at 126, Kenny Jensen at 167 and Kyle Jensen at heavyweight. Tim Lawrence at 98 and Jeff Martin at 185 took second, Jeff Martz at 112 and Bill Syverson at 145 took third and Ross Kornmann at 138 took fourth. Al Lawrence won his second state title that year. Davidson finished third, while Tim Lawrence and Kenny Jensen finished fifth.
The 1980 state champions, featuring Bill and Jim Scherr sent just seven wrestlers to state but had three champions in the Scherrs and Lawrence.
The first Tiger team to ever send 10 wrestlers to state was in the fifth year of wrestling in 1964. That was a big year for the wrestling program. It was also first year region tournaments were held to qualify for state (before that any team that could load a bus and take kids to state could compete). At the Central Regional Tournament in Miller, three Tigers won titles, Byron Becker at 120, Jim Sittner at 154 and Tom Martin at 112. Dan Eichelberg took second at 95 and Rick Morris took second at heavyweight. Taking third were Terry Bender at 103, Bob Larson at 127, Frank Moon at 133 and Mike Moon at 138. Bill Eichelberg took fourth at 165. Jim Sittner won the 154-pound state title the next week. Becker took second after winning the Tigers first-ever state title the previous year, and Martin took fourth.
P.S.: I told the Facebook crew there have been four Tiger teams to send 10 wrestlers to state, but a little more digging turned up the 1964 team. The ones who did not read this Ball Five will be wrong the next time this trivia question comes up. They will not be winner winner. They will not get chicken dinner.