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Remembering ... And Looking Forward

July 13, 2018
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

A celebration of 50 years of wrestling Emmetsburg High School was held this past weekend. From the very beginning of planning, it was a high energy project. Paul VanOosbree headed the committee that included Dallas Naig, Scott Wirtz and Coach Tyler Bjustrom.

Events were held Friday and Saturday. At the end of the weekend, VanOosbree beamed, "It went exactly how I had hoped it would."

The Shores was filled with wrestlers, parents and fans for the Saturday banquet - over 150 attended.

Kevin Dresser, Wrestling Coach at Iowa State University, was the keynote speaker. Coach Dresser, a Humboldt native, told stories of wrestling in Emmetsburg when he was in the eighth grade. He tossed out names like Kerber, Kauffman and VanOosbree.

"That was the measuring stick,"he said. "If you could compete at Emmetsburg, you could compete anywhere."

Emmetsburg graduate Tanner Lundgren wrestles for Coach Dresser at Iowa State. The coach praised Lundgren and his team, noting, "We are focused on getting kids like Tanner. We are focused on recruiting. We need to build our program on the guys who work their tails off every day. It takes a lot of people to be great."

Coach Dresser concluded, "You've got a real special thing here in Emmetsburg. You have great leadership with Coach Bjustrom."

Joe Milder, a 1979 graduate of Emmetsburg High School, remembered his wrestling days. Sitting at The Shores he looked at the trophies on the tables and out the windows at Five Island Lake, then stated, "It's the people that make Emmetsburg great. God has smiled on the people of Emmetsburg."

Former E-Hawk Coach Clint Young wrestled and coached for 40 years. "I was blessed and thankful to come here," he said. "How fun it is to be a part of this community. The people in this community, the parental involvement, and the volunteers to keep things going - it's incredible."

Young praised Coach Bjustrom, noting he is doing an incredible job since he took over the program a year ago.

Young also praised and thanked Tony Stubbs, for his involvement coaching E-Hawks for many years. "The important people are the coaches for Little E-Hawks who have assisted for free. They help build the program."

The Kerber name has been associated with Emmetsburg athletics for many years.?Emcee Tony Stubbs thanked the Kerbers for their philanthropy with Emmetsburg student athletes. He introduced Jeff Kerber, a four-year high school champion, as "the benchmark for Emmetsburg wrestlers."

Addressing the crowd, Kerber said, "It's a time to look back and remember, and it's a time for the young guys to look forward."?He rattled off a list of wrestling family names, acknowledging people that made sacrifices so that E-Hawk wrestlers could enjoy their sport.

He reflected on the brotherhood of wrestling. "Anybody who has wrestled - it's a unique sport - a sport that parallels life. This sport prepares you for life. There's something there that wrestlers have in common that's hard to explain."

Coach Bob Kenny stressed, "It's all about family. It's all about community. Emmetsburg wrestlers believe in themselves."

Kenny talked about the little kids wrestling program with their own room, and all these volunteers in the program over the years. He talked about the Emmetsburg fans who follow their wrestlers.

Proud to have been a part of E-Hawk Wrestling, Coach Kenny remembered other coaches in the program, including the late Bob Roethler.

Coach Bjustrom came to the podium to talk about his team and the off-season wrestling program. "We're going to do our best to put our best quality kids on the mat. We will give them the opportunities to work with old wrestlers who wrestled under Bob Roethler, Clint Young and Bob Kenny. We are putting the opportunity in front of them; the future is going to be good."

The Wrestling Reunion was a time to remember and a time to look to the future. A result of the reunion: EHS?Wrestlers will attend ISU?Team Wrestling Camp this month, building for the future.



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