Benson, MN – Eight new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on April 27th in Benson, Minnesota.
The new inductees honored were: Steve Johnson, Roger Knutson, Kory Mosher, Rodd Olson, Jerry Reker, Dan Snobl, Dan Stifter, and Dave Zuniga. Many Hall of Fame members were in attendance.
MWCA Mr. Minnesota of Wrestling selection Jake Short of Simley received a plaque for personal use and a traveling plaque for his school.
MWCA Coach of the Year honorees were: Class A – Joel Viss of Chatfield, Class AA – Jamie Heidt and Paul Mann of Kasson-Mantorville, and Class AAA – Dan Lefebvre of St. Michael-Albertville.
The MWCA selected Dan Lefebvre as State Head Coach of the Year. Selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year was Craig Johnson of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.
Dan Lefebvre and Craig Johnson, along with MWCA Mr. Minnesota of Wrestling selection Jake Short of Simley represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State (NWCA) award winners, which qualifies them for further NWCA honors at the Regional and National levels.
The MWCA presented State Champion and State Runners-up trophies based on the individual tournament to: Class A – 1st Jackson County Central, 2nd Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City; Class AA – 1st Simley, 2nd Kasson-Mantorville, Class AAA – 1st Apple Valley, 2nd St. Michael-Albertville.
2013 David Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductees
Steve Johnson, Coach
Steve Johnson is a native of Hector, MN, graduating from Hector High School in 1966. He wrestled at Morningside College from 1966-1968. The 1967-68 team was 12-0 and beat rival Westmar College to end their 52 win streak in dual meets. In 1971 he received All-American honors (6th) while wrestling for Mankato State College, as well as being crowned the North Central Conference Champion. He graduated from Mankato State in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math Education. He taught and coached for one year at Ogilvie, MN, then took over as a teacher and a coach at Nicollet High School, where he taught and coached there from 1972-2009. He amassed a record of 324-201-6 in his 30+ years of coaching. He received numerous Conference and Section Coach of the year awards. Steve has served as an Activities Director, a Dean of Students, a teacher, and a coach. He is very visible in the Nicollet community. He served on the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Advisory Board for several years. Several of his wrestlers have gone on to coach for other high schools. He will long be remembered for being a motivator, a great recruiter, and a leader in the wrestling community. His teams were tough, in shape, and had great respect for their coach. Wrestling was a big part of the Johnson family; he, his brother Jay and his sons Chad and Ross have over 1,000 combined wins in coaching wrestling.
Today Steve keeps busy serving as a substitute teacher, a City Councilman, and the Valley Conference Executive Secretary. Steve’s wife is Judy, and they have three children; Chad, Ross, and Lori.
Roger Knutson, Contributor
Roger has been a supporter of amateur wrestling since the early 1960s. He was instrumental in getting the Stewartville Elementary wrestling program going back in 1969, and his efforts there resulted in the formation of a booster club and banquet, and a freestyle club. He relocated to Cannon Falls in 1990, and his efforts were very evident in this community as well, helping with the freestyle club and Wrestling Boosters.
Roger began officiating Freestyle wrestling in 1978. He gave countless hours to the sport, being very willing to mentor younger officials. He was honored to officiate at the Greco-Roman Regional Qualifier for the 1984 Olympic Games. He also officiated at the Jr. Nationals for ten years. He has been a member of the Minnesota Gopher Club, and he has attended most of the NCAA Tournaments since his first one in 1966. Roger has not missed a State Wrestling tournament since 1972, and for years he has been a fixture in helping with the Section 1 tournament. He has been active in various parts of Minnesota wrestling for over 40 years, and he is a well-known and well-respected coach, official, and fan.
Today Roger is retired and lives in Stewartville. His wife’s name is Peggy and they have three kids: Roger Lee, Craig, and Denise.
Kory Mosher, Athlete
Kory Mosher attended Fertile-Beltrami High School, graduating from there in 1985. He was a three sport athlete, lettering in football, wrestling, and track. He also played American Legion baseball in the summer. Kory was one of the toughest wrestlers in the state in the mid-1980s. Fertile-Beltrami was regarded as the “team to beat” in the northern part of the state back then, and Kory was one of the main reasons why. He was on the varsity in seventh grade. He was a six-time Region 8 place winner. He was a state entrant four times, placing fourth and third his junior and senior years. Kory’s record was 165-27-3. Kory was on pace to break Steve Carr’s seemingly “untouchable” record of 175 wins, but a severe bout with mononucleosis cost Kory about 3 weeks of wrestling during his 8th grade season. Kory was a Federation National Champion in grade school and represented Minnesota at the Nationals in Freestyle and Greco-Roman throughout high school. He was a 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival Silver Medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Kory attended the University of North Dakota, majoring in Business/Marketing. He went on to become a three-time NCAA Division II qualifier and a two-time NCAA Division II national champion at 158 lbs. Kory was aiming for a third straight national title, but a season-ending injury prevented it. Kory graduated from UND in 1990. Kory was inducted into the UND Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He posted a college record of 117 wins, 30 losses, and 2 ties. He was recently named to the North Central Conference All-Time Wrestling Team. UND wrestled an extremely tough schedule, and most of his losses were to Division I opponents. Kory will long be remembered for being a fierce competitor and hard worker. His opponents knew they would be in for a battle from start to finish.
Today Kory is a sales representative for Midmark Corporation. He and his wife Teresa have three kids: Gaby, Vincent, and Lily. Kory is very active in the Prior Lake Wrestling organization, coaching his son as well as many others. Kory took the lessons of hard work and fair play and has lived by them, as well as having passed them on to his kids.
Rodd Olson, Coach
Rodd was a Fertile, MN graduate in 1963. He attended Concordia College, graduating from there in 1967 with a BA in Physical Education and Coaching. While at Concordia he played football and baseball and was a four year letter-winner in both. He coached football, basketball and baseball in Eagle Bend, MN for 4 years. He then moved to Crookston and was an assistant wrestling coach for 5 years before becoming the head coach from 1976-1999. He amassed a record of 205-150-1 during those 23 years as head coach. He was voted Section Coach of the Year in 1988.
Rodd’s teams were well-coached. They were known for having good basic wrestling techniques, including the double leg and ankle pick takedowns and the butcher series for pinning. Rodd’s 1988 team advanced to the state tournament. This is no small feat considering that Crookston was always regarded as a big hockey town. Rod has coached some phenomenal wrestlers including 33 state entrants, 13 state place-winners, four of whom were 2 time state champions, Paul Kuznik (1985 and 1986) and Lenny Meine (1989 and 1990).
Rodd was a quiet force from the mat sidelines. He was and is a kind man and a class act. Rodd still enjoys making the trek down to “the show” to cover the tourney for KROX in Crookston. He has been a big help to Crookston’s head coach Chad Hitchen. Chad appreciates Rodd’s gentle manner and wisdom in handling situations as they arise. Rod prepared his wrestlers for life; his coaching went far beyond the wrestling room. His former wrestlers have great memories of their wrestling years; much of that is because of Rodd.
Rodd is married to Francine, who was an avid coach’s wife for many years. They have 4 grown children (Jeff Olson, Delano, MN; Paula Olson Odland, Alexandria, MN; Leah Olson Winjum, Crookston, MN; Jake Olson, Delano, MN) and 11 grandchildren.
Jerry Reker, Contributor
Jerry Reker attended Fulda High School, graduating from there in 1970. He went to college at Southwest Minnesota State University, majoring in Physical Education and Health Education. Jerry was a four-year starter and letter-winner in both wrestling and football at SMSU, and is a member of the SMSU Hall of Fame. He was First Team All-Conference in both sports, while earning All-American honors in wrestling. He also had a professional football tryout with the Minnesota Vikings football team in 1975. He completed his Masters and 6th year degrees in Educational Administration from Mankato State University.
Jerry coached wrestling and football in Logan, Iowa, Grand Meadow and Wabasha-Kellogg from 1975-1998. In 1990 he was selected to coach in the Minnesota All-Star football game. He was selected as the Maple Leaf Conference and Section 1C Football Coach of the Year for four consecutive years (1986-1990). He took his team to the Prep Bowl finals in 1987. He has taken more than 20 wrestlers to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament from 1982-1986 and 30 wrestlers to the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament from 1975-1982. He also has been very involved in many wrestling elementary/youth groups and tournaments for many years as an official and coach.
Jerry has been officiating wrestling for 27 years. He is still very active as an official mentoring young officials and serving in the capacity of head clinician for the Southern MN Wrestling Officials Association. Jerry has been selected to officiate in 16 Minnesota State Wrestling tournaments, and he is consistently rated as one of the top officials in the state. He was recognized in 2005 and 2007 as the Section 1AA and 1A Official of the year. He has worked many NCAA National Tournaments and Qualifiers (Division 1, 2, and 3 and JUCO’s), and is regarded as one of the top NCAA wrestling officials in Minnesota.
Jerry’s ability to work well and communicate with others, be a team player, and remain dedicated to students and-student athletes has no doubt assisted him in his current position as Principal of Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson. He has been an administrator/coach in Minnesota for 31 years. Jerry’s leadership has been demonstrated in other ways through his Minnesota State High School League, Region and Section committee and advisory board work. In 2007 he represented the MSHSL wrestling officials/administrators, by working with the Minnesota Department of health to develop guidelines for controlling infections among athletes.
Jerry’s wife’s name is Darc and they have 3 children: Ryan, Jon, and Racquel, and granddaughters Regan and Stella. Jerry’s dream retirement would be to officiate full-time!
Dan Snobl, Contributor
Dan attended Mahnomen High School, graduating from there in 1964. He wrestled (29-15-1), played football, and ran track, earning All-Conference honors in wrestling and All-State honors in football. He attended the University of North Dakota, where he wrestled and played football. He graduated from UND in 1970 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy. He obtained his Masters of Science in Educational Administration at Minnesota State University-Mankato in 1996.
Dan’s contributions to wrestling are numerous. He established and directed the Southwest MN Wrestling Club for 10 years. He was the Section 4A tournament Manager for 10 years and the Section Team Tournament Manager for 3 years. He was the Section 4A Representative to the MSHSL for 2 years. He coordinated the Section 4A Individual Tournament at SMSU for 15 years. He was The Guillotine Team of the Month writer and contributor for 13 years. He served as a wrestling official, and he has been a member of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association for 30 years.
Dan’s gentle presence, his incredible work ethic, and his ability to work with all wrestling coaches and athletes have made him a very respected man in the southwest part of the state. He offered his knowledge of physical therapy to injured wrestlers at tournaments, and his compassion and genuine concern for athletes are evident. He has received numerous awards for his efforts not only to wrestling, but to his community as well. A few of these include being the Tracy, MN Lion Club Man of the Year, the SMSU Humanitarian Award recipient, the SMSU Distinguished Service Award recipient, the SMSU Athletic Hall of Honor Award recipient, and a Section 3A Coaches Recognition Award for dedication to wrestling.
Dan recently retired from his position of Director of Physical Medicine and Coordinator of SMSU’s Expectations Program, and Disabled Student Medical Services. He resides in Tracy, MN with his wife Mary. They have four children: Scott, Camille, Melissa, and Greg.
Dan Stifter, Coach
Dan attended Winsted Holy Trinity High School, graduating from there in 1984. He played football and wrestled. He was All-Conference in both, and his wrestling record was 88-36. He was a Region Champion and competed in the State tournament. Dan attended the University of Minnesota-Morris, where he won 80 matches and obtained All-American honors in 1987 (8th). He graduated from UM-Morris in 1989 with a BA in Social Science Education. Dan later obtained his Masters Degree in Administration.
Dan served as the head wrestling coach at Aitkin High School from 1993-2009. (He was co-coach with Noel Bailey for three years) His overall coaching record is 188-96. He took several teams to state, winning sectional titles in 1997, 2007(placed 4th), and 2008. He was Section coach of the year in 1997, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Dan was selected as the Great River Conference Coach of the Year three times. He was selected as the Aitkin Education Association Teacher of the Year in 2002. Dan is known for bringing out the best in his athletes, teaching them the principles of hard work and good sportsmanship. Today Dan serves in the capacity of Principal at Menahga High School. His wife’s name is Karen, and they have three children: Levi, Jennifer, and Nathan.
Dave Zuniga, Athlete
Dave attended Worland High School in Wyoming, graduating from there in 1986. He was a three-time state high school champion (119, 132, 138 lbs.), compiling a record of 92-4. He helped guide his team to the State title in 1983, 1985, and 1986 under coach Tom Harrington. He went on to wrestle for Utah State, and he transferred to the University of Minnesota upon Utah State dropping its program. He was a two-time NCAA Div. 1 All-American at 134 lbs. He placed 2nd in 1990, losing only to Iowa’s Tom Brands, and 7th in 1991. He was also a big 10 champ in 1990, defeating Tom Brands in the finals.
Dave excelled in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. He was a 21-time state age group champ in Wyoming. He was a 1982 Schoolboy World Champion in Greco-Roman. He placed 5th in the FILA Junior World Championships in Freestyle under the tutelage of Tom Harrington. Upon ending his collegiate wrestling career he continued to compete in Greco-Roman wrestling. He was a member of 4 World Teams (4th in 1994, 14th in 1995), and he was a 1996 Olympian, competing in Atlanta at 136.5 lbs., where he placed 10th ; then placed 16th in 1997. He represented the United States in the Pan Am Games as well, placing 3rd in 1995 and 2nd in 1999.
Dave graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Sports Management. He continued to give back to the sport he loves, helping with the Coon Rapids Wrestling Club, the Iron Mustangs with Marty Morgan, and starting his own school of wrestling, the Minnesota Mat Masters, located in Byron, MN. He also coached the MN Schoolboy National Dual Team to National titles in both Greco and Freestyle in 2011 and coached double All-Americans in 2010 and 2012.
In addition to his coaching duties, Dave works in construction, remodeling and renovating houses. His wife’s name is Dawn, and they have a son Triston.