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Iowa’s 2012 wrestling class could be one of all-time best

Iowa Wrestling

Eric DeVos can only guess how many miles he's put on his Jeep Cherokee in recent years just crisscrossing Iowa to tangle with the other top wrestlers his age.

The Waverly-Shell Rock state champion has made countless trips to Cedar Falls, where he occasionally gets on the mat with Denver-Tripoli's Dylan Peters. He's made dozens of stops in Iowa City to workout with West High's Phillip Laux and spent several weekends in Des Moines training with Southeast Polk's Cory Clark.

The odometer on DeVos' Jeep, like many of the opponents who have stepped on the mat with the top wrestlers in Iowa's high school class of 2012, has taken a beating during the group's pursuit of greatness.

"In the past three years, I'd say (I've driven) at least 10,000 miles just for workouts," DeVos said. "I put a lot of miles on it, that's for sure."

Yes, there's competition for the attention of college coaches, for scholarship money and for state titles. But there's also camaraderie with the 2012 class.

"We want each other to succeed," DeVos said. "We want to make each other better. I look at it like you want to win the state championship and that's your goal, but it's really about getting better, making improvements and developing yourself as a wrestler."

Said Laux: "It motivates me to get better every day. I have a great opportunity to practice with them. I can test myself to see where I'm at and see what I need to work on. They help me out and we're all friends, no matter what."

This is a bountiful crop for the state. Iowans occupied nine of the top 82 spots in InterMat's list of the nation's top 100 college prospects in the 2012 class.

"Everywhere you look (in Iowa) there's some top-level kids," Urbandale coach Mike Moreno said. "Every year you're going to have some top kids in Iowa, but it seems like the level some of these kids are at in this senior class is pretty crazy."

The 2012 class is positioned to write its own chapter in the Iowa high school record books.

Only five wrestlers in Iowa history have finished their high school careers without a loss and two in the same class have never done it.

There could be three in 2012. Clark and Des Moines Roosevelt's John Meeks are undefeated three-time state champions. Davenport Assumption's Topher Carton is 121-0 in his prep career with a pair of Illinois titles and one Iowa championship on his resume.

There have only been 42 wrestlers who have reached the state finals four times. Peters, who owns a 148-1 career record and a 108-match winning streak, and Southeast Polk's Willie Miklus could join that group.

DeVos, who won state high school titles in Minnesota in seventh and eighth grade and another as a sophomore at Waverly-Shell Rock, has 227 career wins and needs 37 to crack the top 10 all-time on the national victory list.

What's more, there are others in the group who have won big on the national circuit. Laux and Iowa City West teammates Jack Hathaway and Justin Koethe won national titles at the Cadet level.

"It's shaping up to be one of the better classes coming out of here, I think," said Wyatt Schultz, owner of The Predicament, a publication that produces Iowa high school rankings. "You've got so many kids. This is a deep class."

The gold standard for Iowa high school classes is 1987. The group produced nearly a dozen Division-I All-Americans, including Olympic champion Tom Brands and two-time World champ Terry Brands.

Four-time state champions Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere headlined a talented 2005 group. Classmates Ryan Morningstar and Mitch Mueller won Junior National titles.

Borschel went on to win an NCAA title at Iowa and teammate Joe Slaton was an NCAA runner-up.

National champ Matt McDonough and NCAA runner-up Andrew Long have been the college stars of a talented 2008 class.

"It would be an honor to be mentioned (as one of the best classes)," Laux said. "But right now, I wouldn't even put us in the same class as (the others). We haven't done anything yet."



Source | Posted July 10th, 2011. Filed under Amateur Wrestling Tagged: ,

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