Underwood Wrestling: A Tradition of Excellence
Underwood has been known for many years as a "Wrestling Town." That notion continues to this day. Underwood High school has produced some of the best high school wrestlers in the history of Iowa High School wrestling. The storied wrestling program at Underwood reached the pinnacle when, in 1999 and 2000, the Eagle teams captured consecutive state team championships. Under the guidance of high school coaches Lewis Curtis and Trevor Carritt, junior high coach Chad Ryan and volunteer coach Kevin Hough, the Eagles made their mark on the wrestling world by capturing team gold at Veteran's Auditorium (The Barn) in Des Moines. Individual state champions during those two seasons included Blu Wahle, Joe Durick, Keith Clausen, and Mark Lander. Cody Koenig and Danny Davila were members of those teams that would capture their own individual state championships in their respective senior seasons.
The state championship teams, however, did not accomplish their feats without some predecessors who helped pave the way. Underwood had already been established as a school that produced great individual talent. Underwood's first state champion was crowned in 1976 when Jim Kimsey took home the 119-pound title. Two years later, Kevin Hough captured the 98-pound championship. The Eagles were shut out of champions until Blu Wahle walked away with the title in 1998 at 152 pounds. The next year Wahle (160) and Durick (140) won individual gold, as the Eagles captured their first team title in 1999. Clausen (160) and Lander (275) took top honors the next season as the Eagles repeated as champs. Koenig (152) captured the title during his senior season (2001) as the Eagles took home a second place team trophy, under the coaching of Matt Dyer and Chad Ryan. Davila (103) continued with the Eagle barrage on the top step with his championship the following season (2002). Finally, Scott Hazen captured gold in 2005 at 171 pounds. In 2013, Underwood re-established itself as a producer of state champions when the Eagles crowned two titlists. Taylor Curtis took top honors at 106 pounds and Andrew Foutch took home the gold at 126. In all, Underwood has crowned twelve individual state champions in wrestling!
Equally impressive are the 20 second or third place individual wrestlers in Underwood history. They include Wayne Driver (2nd, 143#, 1975), Kevin Hough (3rd, 112#, 1979), Eddie Lee (3rd, 98#, 1985 and 3rd, 105#, 1986), Bruce Obrecht (2nd, 119#, 1987), Chad Ryan (3rd, 119#, 1991 and 2nd, 135#, 1992), Dean Leaders (3rd, 140#, 1993), Brad Scoles (2nd, 119#, 1997), Mark Lander (3rd, 275#, 1999), Keith Clausen (2nd, 145#, 1999), Cody Koenig (3rd, 152#, 2000), Joe Durick (3rd, 145#, 2000), Jesse Simons (3rd, 135#, 2000), Dan Davila (3rd, 103#, 2000 and 3rd, 103#, 2001), Henry Wahle (2nd, 140#, 2002 and 3rd, 140#, 2003), Kyle Olson (3rd, 215#, 2003), Scott Hazen (2nd, 160#, 2003), Andrew Foutch (2nd at 106# in 2011 and 3rd at 120# in 2012), Taylor Curtis (3rd, 106#, 2012), and Drake Fanslau (3rd, 160#, 2012).
The Underwood Wrestling squad of 1998-99 also qualified for the State Dual Meet tournament by winning the sectional tournament, then defeating Griswold, 42-18 in the Regional Dual Meet. (Underwood had lost to Griswold 33-36 earlier in the season!) The Eagles pounded Schaller-Crestland in the opening round 42-21, before losing to Columbus Junction 26-35 and dropping the consolation match to Lake Mills 20-39. This left the Eagles in 4th place with a season record of 27-3. The next year the Eagles returned to Cedar Rapids by defeating Panorama 50-15 in the Regional. At the State Duals, the Eagles topped #1 Gilbertville, Don Bosco by a 35-21 score, then defeated Woodbury Central in the semi-final 54-18. In the finals, the Eagles met their match in losing again to Lake Mills, 28-37. That was the first dual meet loss for the year, as the Eagles finished at 28-1. The 2011-12 made its claim as the most productive in school history by marching through its first 33 dual meets before losing in controversial fashion to Nashua-Plainfield in the state championship match. In the 2012 state dual tournament, the Eagles smacked Alburnett in the opening round, 41-27. They followed that up by whipping West Branch, 46-23. In the championship dual, the Eagles appeared to be ready to erase an early-meet deficit when their wrestler was called for an illegal slam while leading a match by over 10 points. The Eagles forfeited the final three weight classes, making the score more lopsided than the actual meet.