Prep Wrestling

State wrestling notes: MFL MarMac's Chet Bachman named 1A Coach of the Year

Derek St. John inducted into Hall of Fame

MFL MarMac coach Chet Bachman receives his 1A coach of the year award at the prep wrestling state tournament at Wells Fa
MFL MarMac coach Chet Bachman receives his 1A coach of the year award at the prep wrestling state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — MFL MarMac wrestling coach Chet Bachman was sleeping Thursday night when he received a call.

He didn’t give it much thought at first, but then came news of a pleasant surprise.

He learned he had been named Class 1A Coach of the Year by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. He accepted the award Saturday night during a ceremony before the Grand March.

“It is a real nice honor,” Bachman said. “It’s a tribute to our staff and program. This isn’t one thing done by myself. There are a lot of people who have contributed to the program for a lot of years.

“I’m fortunate to have received the award. It means a lot to me and the community.”

In his 21st season as the Bulldogs head coach, he led them to a 23-3 dual record and the programs first state duals appearance. The Bulldogs had two qualifiers to the traditional tournament with each winning at least one match and fourth-ranked 160-pounder Gabe McGeough placing third.

Unlike some other programs, Bachman’s staff consists solely of volunteers. He praised assistants Collin Stubbs, Chip McGeough, Mike Meyer, Travis Johnson, Tracy Decker and Brent Pape.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with them,” Bachman said. “Wrestling is a family sport.

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“We’re not winning state titles as a team, but I think people appreciate what we’re doing in our area.”

Bachman has 377 career dual victories and has coached wrestlers to three of the school’s five state titles. His older brother, Mike, was the biggest influence, persuading Bachman to take the coaching plunge.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” Bachman said. “He convinced me to start coaching.”

Bachman also cited the influence of state title-winning coaches Andy Davidson and Wes Creason. He also learned from coaches at North Polk before getting to return home.

“Monona gave me a chance to come back to my hometown,” Bachman said. “I think when it’s in your blood and you appreciate it. It means a little more to you.”

Derek St. John enters Hall of Fame

Wrestling has given, and tought, Derek St. John a lot through the years.

The current Iowa State wrestling assistant coach was a two-time state champion for Iowa City West in 2007 and 2008, a national champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2013 and he’s been in coaching ever since he was done competing in 2014.

Before Saturday’s state wrestling finals at Wells Fargo Arena, St. John was inducted into the Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame for his achievements.

“Wrestling runs pretty deep in my life,” St. John said. “My whole life has basically, in one way or another, revolved around wrestling. It started from a very young age, then going to college to wrestle and now coaching — it’s tought me a lot of different life lessons. It’s taken me around the world, it’s given me a job — it’s done a lot of things for me.”

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St. John joins former West teammates Nick and Nate Moore, who were inducted last year as well as their former coach Mark Reiland, who was inducted in 2016.

“Being kind of young and getting inducted already is pretty neat,” St. John said. “I’ve had several high school teammates get inducted and coaches as well. It’s pretty cool to be put in the same category as those guys that I looked up to and strived to emulate.”

Ron Peterson, the Cedar Rapids Pairie coach from 1992-95 was inducted Saturday as well. He led the Hawks to a team title in 1994 and in 1995, he left for Simpson College where he coached until 2008.

Union Community’s Trey Clark was also inducted on Saturday. Clark was the program’s first three-time state champion. He won in 1997 as a freshman, 1999 as a junior and 2000 as a senior.

— Ben Visser, correspondent

Third third for West’s Ashton Barker

Iowa City West’s Ashton Barker earned his third straight third-place state finish. All three have come at 170 pounds.

The South Dakota State signee reached the semifinals and won two consolation bouts, including a fall in his final high school match.

“It sucks so much,” Barker said. “I’ll never be able to call myself a state champion. It’s something that I don’t want to think about at all.

“There’s more to come. There’s more than just high school wrestling. There’s college and international. I definitely want to do both of those things.”

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The common philosophy in wrestling circles is to attain the highest spot possible once the title trek is derailed. Last season, he lost his first match and battled all the way back, despite fighting illness. He reached the semifinals as a sophomore for Iowa City Liberty before getting bronze.

“I’ve been preached to since I was a little kid by my parents don’t quit no matter how much it gets,” Barker said. “Last year, wrestling back five matches with mono, being sick as a dog, it sucked but I didn’t quit.”

Tom Hogan goes out on top

Don Bosco Coach Tom Hogan announced last month that he would step down at the end of the season. Hogan took over for Hall of Famer Tom Kettman in 2011, serving 22 seasons on the Dons’ staff including the last 10 at the helm.

The Dons sent him out in style, completing a state tournament sweep locking up the 1A title Saturday morning. Hogan has coached Don Bosco to four traditional tournament titles, including the last three, and three state duals crowns.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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