Year by Year
A Condensed Look at the First Fifty plus years
of J-Hawk Wrestling...

1958
The 1957-58 school year marked the first wrestling team to compete for Jefferson.  Coach Paul “Bo” Cameron, a Cresco, IA native, was still teaching at Wilson and conducted practices with a combined team of Roosevelt (Jefferson North Campus) and Wilson (Jefferson South Campus) athletes.  He had a returning state medallist in Lonnie Wieland who had taken fourth place at 133 lbs for Wilson High School in 1957. 
The students would not actually enter Jefferson for their first day of school until April of 1958 due to construction delays.  That first winter, Coach Cameron took his Wilson wrestlers to Roosevelt each day for practice in an effort to instill the “team” unity lacking in two long time rivals who were now all competing as J-Hawks.  Cameron’s team wrestled a very challenging schedule that year, posting a 7-4 record.  Three of the four losses were to Rock Island (Illinois state champions), East Waterloo and Davenport (Iowa’s first and second place teams). The J-Hawks took four athletes to state but only Gary Wolverton could manage a medal placing third at 95 lbs. Other qualifiers in the initial season were Bill Aossey-112, Lonnie Wieland-138, and Herb Richards-Hwt. It should be noted that Cresco was a hotbed of wrestling for many years.  Cameron, a two-time state champ, was a member of the 1933 state championship squad.

 

1959

The varsity record improved to 8-2-1 in 1959, which placed the J-Hawks second in the MVC.  Bo Cameron’s troops were now truly combined as J-Hawks and practicing together for the first time. They worked out in the new wrestling room with unpadded and unpainted walls up the stairs from the gymnasium.  Jefferson hosted the district tournament and was led by district champs Lowell Blick-133, Tom Owen-103, Jim Turner-138, and runners-up George (Butch) Slocum-95 and Tom Wisnousky-165.  Jeff won the district championship with those five state qualifiers and third place finishes by Bob Stang and Darrell Winterowd.  Turner went on to place third at 138 lbs at the state meet.  Cameron’s unified team would soon gel to an even greater degree during years to come.

 

1960

Wrestling came of age in Cedar Rapids and the MVC in 1960.  No longer were Cedar Rapids teams to be considered the weak sisters of the state.  Four of the top six teams in the state were now from the MVC.  Jefferson’s schedule was one of the toughest in the state.  It included West Waterloo, the 1959 state kings, East Waterloo, the 1960 champs, Davenport, the second place team, and Iowa City, the third place team.  Jefferson’s dual meet record was 10-3, good enough for second in the MVC with only one conference loss.  It is hard for us to imagine now but seniors could graduate at midyear in those days, and four of Cameron’s seniors left after Christmas.  Mel Wieland, a sophomore reserve, came into his own during the second semester and remained undefeated winning both the district and state championships at 145 lbs. Mel was Cedar Rapids’ first state champion in twenty-eight years.  Jeff finished fifth place at state and was aided by two third place finishes from Dick Winter-165 lbs and Tom Owen-112 lbs.  Tom only placed third in districts; however, he went to state as an alternate where he equaled his district placing.  It was unfortunate that the four talented seniors graduated early in 1960 as the team may have contended for a title, but it was fortunate for Mel Wieland.

 

1961

The 1961 J-Hawks slipped to fourth in the MVC but came on strong for second in their district meet and a credible eighth place finish at state.  Mel Wieland-145 duplicated his sophomore heroics and repeated as state champion.  George Slocum-103 went to state for the third time and finally got by his first round match to finish fourth.  Junior Cal Jenkins matched Slocum’s fourth place finish while competing at 127 lbs.  The J-Hawks had a 8-5-1 record in their fourteen duals, but they could see good things on the horizon.

 

1962 What a way to celebrate the first five years of Jefferson wrestling! Coach Cameron guided the mighty grapplers to their second district title and their first state crown.  The first undefeated season also meant the first MVC title. 
The unbeaten dual season included an exciting 20-19 win over a tough City High squad.  Mel Wieland became one of the few three-time state champions by winning the 154 lb weight class.  The awesome J-Hawks took seven qualifiers to the state meet and six made the finals.  Jeff finished with an impressive three firsts (Wieland-154, Steve Childs-95, and Cal Jenkins-127), three seconds (Al Sievertson-120, Bill Armitage-145, and Monty Rierson-175), and a fourth (Ron Clark-133).  When reviewed today, that feat was truly amazing and may stand the test of time as the greatest accomplishment any Jefferson team realizes at the Iowa state tournament. It is interesting to note Mel Wieland went on to compete for the University of Iowa and was a Big Ten champion at 167 lbs in 1964 competing at the NCAA tournament.  Cal Jenkins went on to the University of Michigan and competed in the 1965 NCAA tournament at 137 lbs.

1963
Gazette sports writer John Berry quoted Bo Cameron in his 1963 article which followed the state meet: “I stayed up half the night trying to figure out where we could get four more points.”  Jeff finished second to East Waterloo by three points that year.  One could hardly blame Cameron for wondering what it must take to win state. 

He finished with three champs, Steve Childs-95 repeated, Al Sievertson-127, and Monty Rierson-180, one runner-up Jon Winger-103 and a fourth, Larry Sievertson-133.  If the J-Hawks could have won but one more match, they could have repeated as state champions. But make no mistake; in Bo Cameron’s final season as Jefferson’s first head coach, the groundwork for a proud tradition had been laid.  It would not, however, be Cameron’s last time sitting in the corner coaching J-Hawk wrestlers. Note: Sievertson would go on to coach high school wrestling in Washington state and win a state team championship. Jon Winger served his country in the military and was killed in action during the Vietnam War.

 

 

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