Benson, Minn. – Eight new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 2nd in Benson, Minnesota.
The new inductees honored were Dave Cummings, Jay Johnson, Chris Lembeck, Jeff Mergen, Corey Olson, Gary Pelcl, Mick Rose, and Ivan Zastrow. Many past Hall of Fame inductees were in attendance.
MWCA Mr. Wrestler selection Lance Benick of Totino-Grace received a plaque for personal use and a traveling plaque for his school.
MWCA Coach of the Year honorees were Joel Skillings of Minneota – Class A, Larry Goodnature of Albert Lea – Class AA, and co-coaches Chad Olson and Henry Gerten of Farmington – Class AAA.
The MWCA selected Joel Skillings as State Head Coach of the Year. Selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year was Greg Dravis of Eastview. Skillings and Dravis, along with MWCA Mr. Wrestler selection Lance Benick 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 awards based on the unofficial individual state tournament scoring to: Class A – 1st Jackson County Central, 2nd Frazee; Class AA – 1st Kasson-Mantorville, 2nd Scott West; Class AAA – 1st St. Michael-Albertville, 2nd Apple Valley. Check out 2015 individual-based State team scores here: Class A | Class AA | Class AAA.
Five Lifetime Achievement Award recipients were honored for their coaching longevity – Gerald Breid of Wadena-Deer Creek, Mike Kenny of Wadena-Deer Creek, Dennis Kuisle of Stewartville, Al Price of Hopkins, and Wes Tessman of Minnewaska.
Photos by Jeff Beshey.
2015 Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame inductees
Dave Cummings, Coach
Dave Cummings wrestled for Leroy-Ostrander High School, graduating from there in 1970. While in high school he posted an impressive record of 80 wins, 15 losses, and 2 ties, along with capturing the 154 pound weight class in 1970. Dave continued his wrestling at Mankato State, where he was an NCAA Division II All-American at 167 lbs. in 1973. Dave graduated from Mankato State in 1973 with a B.S. in Physical Education Health Education.
Dave coached at Worthington High School from 1978-1991 and amassed a record of 196-82-2. He took five teams to the state tournament in the large class, and his teams placed 5th in 1978, and 4th in 1980. Dave was selected as Region 2AA Coach of the year five different times. Dave is well-known in the southwest part of the state for being an excellent ambassador to wrestling. He was asked to coach the MN/Wisconsin All-Star Duel Team in 1989. Dave was known as an excellent official as well. He reffed the MSHSL State Tournament eight different times. He was a wrestling official for 35 years. Dave’s wife is Tari, and they have five kids, Chad, Patrick, Shawn, Shelly, and Sheena.
Jay Johnson, Coach
Jay attended Hector High School, graduating from there in 1967. He wrestled varsity six years for the Hector Bulldogs. He then wrestled varsity at Morningside College in 1967-68 which was the first year that freshmen could wrestle varsity. Morningside went undefeated that year (12-0) with the help of many Minnesota wrestlers. Jay finished his wrestling at Mankato State University and earned a BS degree in Health and Physical Education in 1972. Jay was the Head Wrestling coach at Eden Valley-Watkins High School from 1973 to 2008, earning a record of 227-184-7. Jay fielded some excellent teams during his coaching tenure. He was only a few miles away from Paynesville, and that kept some excellent teams that Jay coached at home. He coached a team to the state tournament in 2000 and was Section Runner Up in ’96, ’97, ’04, ’05, and ’06. Jay coached over 50 state entrants and several state place winners. His teams were physical and known for cradles, a headlock, and an arm bar. Jay’s teams were well disciplined and displayed excellent sportsmanship. Jay served as the head wrestling coach at EV-W for 35 years, assistant football coach for 18 years, Athletic Director for 20 years, the Dean of Students for 24 years and Health and Physical Education instructor for 20 years. He served as the Section 5A Wrestling rep from 2001 to 2008 and on the MN Wrestling Coaches Association Advisory Board to the MSHSL from 1987 to 1990. He has been a very good ambassador for the sport of wrestling. Jay’s wife is Doreen, and they have four kids: Lance, Ben, Grant, and Amanda.
Chris Lembeck, Athlete
Chris wrestled at Bloomington Kennedy High School under the direction of Dave Arens. He was a two-time state champ, winning a title at 98 pounds in 1982 and 126 pounds. in 1984. His high school record was 146-7-1. Chris attended the University of Northern Iowa, and he was a Division I All-American in 1988, placing 5th at 158 pounds Chris was also the captain of the wrestling team. Chris was a World Silver medalist at 120 lbs. in Greco-Roman in 1983, competing in Stockholm, Sweden. After graduating from UNI in 1980 with a degree in Physical Education, he went on to coach at Lisbon, Iowa where his teams were state champs in 1992 and 1993. They were also third in the State Duel Tournament in 1992. Chris is a motivator, and he created Optimized Wrestling Systems, and is currently performing camps and clinics for teams/clubs in Iowa and Minnesota. Chris is currently building a website that will help promote wrestling. His clinics focus on the mental and the physical parts of the sport. Chris has a passion for wrestling that is wonderful to see. Today Chris resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Jeff Mergen, Coach
Jeff Mergen wrestled for Albany High School, graduating from there in 1966 with a record of 40-12-1. He was a two-time All-Conference selection and the team captain his senior year. Jeff wrestled at St. Cloud State, gathering an 8-2-1 record and graduated with a double major in Mathematics and Physical Education in 1974. He received his Masters degree in 1989.
Jeff coached for a total of 28 years: seven at St. Cloud Cathedral, 18 at Rocori High School, and three at St. John’s University. He also served for 21 years in the United States Army Reserves (USAR ), balancing those duties along with teaching and coaching. His complete record stands at 284-184-2. Jeff was the Region 8AA co-coach of the year in 1991-92 and the Section 5AA coach of the year in 1998-99. He was the Class AA Coach of the year in 1998-99. His teams won five Central Lakes Conference titles in his eight years as Rocori’s head coach. Jeff was a member of the coaching staff for all ten of Rocori’s state tournament appearances. He has served as a camp counselor for more than 40 of St. John’s Summer Wrestling Camps, and for one of J Robinsons’ camps at the University of Minnesota. Jeff was known in the area f or his hard work, his honesty, and his integrity. He taught his wrestlers lessons they would use as adults. Jeff’s wife of 41 years is Nellie, and they have four children: Russ, Adam, Angie, and Tracee. Jeff and Nellie also have four grandchildren: Charlie, Lilly, Max, and Regan.
Corey Olson, Athlete
Corey Olson attended Hayfield High School, where he was a 3-time MN State Champion. He was first in 1986 at 126 pounds, first in 1987 at 145 pounds, and 1st in 1988 at 155 pounds. His high school record was 155-19. Corey was inducted into MN/USA Wrestling’s All-time MN High School Dream Team. Corey continued his wrestling at the University of Nebraska, where he was a three-time Division I All-American. He placed third in 1990 at 177 pounds, 2nd at 177 pounds. in 1992, and 2nd at 177 pounds, in 1993. Corey’s collegiate record was 115-28 with 67 pins. Corey excelled in Freestyle as well. He was an 11-time state freestyle champion and a six-time national freestyle champion. Corey had 103 career pins while being pinned once.
Corey has given back to wrestling by establishing one of the premier state tournaments in Minnesota. His NYWA tournament is very well run, and it brings the best wrestlers in MN from K to the 8th grade to Rochester, where the kids get a chance to compete in dual meets as well as individual tournaments.
Corey’s wife is Annette, and they have three kids: Blake, Brenn, and Isabelle.
Gary Pelcl, Athlete
Gary’s career in wrestling started in his sophomore year at Hopkins under the watchful eye of Paul Bengtson. After a moderately successful three years of varsity, he walked on at the University of Minnesota. He started as a sophomore, placed 4th in the Big Ten as a junior and served as captain in his senior year. That year he was “fortunate” enough to wrestle Dan Gable in the NCAA’s at Northwestern and finished in the top eight in 1970 at 142 pounds. Gary graduated with a degree in Business Administration and spent the next year as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota.
In the spring of 1972, at the age of 23, Gary wrestled his first Greco-Roman match, placing in the top six at the AAU Nationals and the Olympic Trials at 149.5 pounds. The following year he teamed up with his good friend and teammate Steve Hylbak as assistant coaches at Hopkins Eisenhower. In 1975, Gary placed 2nd in the 1976 Greco Olympic trials at 163 pounds and was an alternate at the Montreal Olympics. After two more years of finishing 2nd place, in 1979 he finally hit pay dirt. Having missed both Greco National tournaments that year because of injury; Gary started at the bottom of the wrestle off ladder and won a spot on the Greco Pan Am team that was headed to Puerto Rico. After winning a silver medal, he successfully defended his position for a place on the Greco World Team that would wrestle in San Diego. The next winter, training for the Moscow Olympics, he won a Bronze medal in the Malar Cup in Sweden, finishing in the round robin with two Olympic medalists.
Gary now lives in Robbinsdale with his wife Karlie.
Mick Rose, Contributor
Mick Rose wrestled for Morris Area High School graduating from there in 1966 He attended Willmar Community College from 1966-1967 wrestling for Jerry Slaughtery. He then attended and wrestled at the University of MN-Morris, graduating from there in 1971.
Mick started coaching with Doug Dufty in 1970 with the Morris Elementary freestyle wrestling. Then in 1971-1972 Mick started coaching at Alexandria Junior High. Mick has also served as head assistant to Doug Dufty and also Steve Carr at the University of MN-Morris. He also was the head coach for one year at the University of MN-Morris. Mick has been involved with the Morris wrestling program in some capacity since 1972.
Mick’s passion is his family and wrestling. He brought his kids into the sport, and as his kids grew up he became more active in wrestling. Mick served on the MN/USA Coaches Staff for many years; this included traveling and coaching state, regional, and national tournaments. Mick has coached youth wrestling for over 45 years. He has had a hand in helping produce 30 All-Americans, three NIC titles, four national champs, and two Olympians. Mick served as coach and co-camp director at the Greg Schwartz camp from 1982-2015. He coached with the MN/USA cultural exchange team with Ed Kane in Sweden in 1998. Mick received the Stevens County Pay It Forward Award in 2014 for his willingness to go the extra mile not only for Morris wrestles, but for other wrestlers in the area. If they want to get better, Mick will help them. Whether it is folkstyle, freestyle, or Greco, Mick’s wide knowledge of wrestling has benefited many wrestlers of various ages. Today Mick still resides in Morris, and he is still coaching elementary wrestling, which happens to also include his grandchildren. Mick’s wife is Deb and they have three children, Eric, Sara, and Kyle.
Ivan Zastrow, Athlete
Ivan Zastrow attended Wayzata High School, graduating from there in 1953. He was one of the main reasons that Wayzata won three Minnesota High School Team Championships. They tied for 1st with Faribault in 1951, won it outright in 1953, and then tied for 1st with Blue Earth in 1953. Ivan was Wayzata’s first four-time state entrant and place winner.
In 1950 Ivan took 4th place at 103 pounds. He lost to eventual state champion Kermit Selke from Winona on a referee’s decision in the semis. In 1951 Ivan took 4th place at 120 pounds. He lost to eventual state champion Dick Mueller from Anoka in the semis. In 1952 Ivan took first, beating Ronald Dusling from Robbinsdale in the finals. In 1953 Ivan captured his second state title, winning an 8-1 decision over Jeff DeLozier from Winona, who had come into the state tournament undefeated.
Ivan accepted a wrestling scholarship at the University of Minnesota, and then he decided to join the Air Force where he became a Survival Instructor at the USAF Advanced Survival School at Stead Air Force Base in Reno, Nevada.
Ivan’s wife is Gertrude, and they have two kids; Jacqueline and Ivan.