Reading this, maybe this coach would approve of fewer weights…
From the Des Moines Register
North/Hoover wrestling goals go beyond mat
By MIKE MALLOY
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
December 14, 2004
Many of Gene Hildreth’s opponents aren’t wrestling teams.
The third-year North/Hoover high school coach has battled a thin
roster, the merger of two schools and a myriad of other problems in his
three seasons on the job.
The scoreboard reflected those burdens Thursday as North/Hoover lost
two matches, 61-10 to Indianola and 62-3 to Valley.
“We’ve got a ways to go. Our lineup isn’t where it needs to be, but
we’re going to get better. We’re going to wins some duals, “Hildreth
Getting his kids to overcome difficult home lives is as much at part of
Hildreth’s job as teaching how to execute a headlock.
“We deal with a lot of problems that most schools couldn’t fathom. I’ve
got a kid who’s wrestling varsity who’s married and has a kid,”
Hildreth said. “He had to leave early because his kid is sick.”
Problems like that have not deterred Hildreth, only made him refocus.
“I could lower my expectations but my expectations get higher and
higher every week because that’s what these kids need, “Hildreth said.
“Our goals are to keep kids out for the whole season, and make sure
they keep their grades up and become productive citizens. I’d love to
win a state title, but right now we’re starting on the ground floor.”
Hope for the future comes from a rebuilt wrestling program for younger
kids, which annually have 80-100 participants.
“We’re starting to reap from that program, “Hildreth said. “We have
some really little kids that are going to state and placing really
high. We’re counting the days until those kids are in our program.”
Hope in the present comes from wrestlers like Damien Burton. The North
senior sat out last winter with a knee injury, but has returned at full
force. Burton pinned Valley’s Sean Lenihan in the 189-pound match
“We need to get more people so we can get a better practice in, “Burton
said. “That’s where we need it – you do your practice thing then you
can take it out to the mat.”
The team currently has 35 members, 10 of which are from Hoover.
“I get along with the Hoover guys – they’re some pretty good
wrestlers, “Burton said. “I like it. It brings more people out to the
Hildreth, a North graduate who went to state in 1996, would like part
with his recent tradition of avoiding Veterans Memorial Auditorium in
“I don’t go unless we’ve got someone there. I tell the kids everyday it
would be nice to go back, “Hildreth said.
North has not had a state qualifier since Sullivan Baccam, who finished
fifth in 2000.
Hildreth didn’t reach the medal stand in 1996, but one of his
teammates topped it. A look back at the three wrestlers from Hoover and
North who have won state championships, with their years and weight
1970- Jack Welch (N), 155; 1974- Mark Johnson (H), 185; 1996- Robert
Cole (N), 171.