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Wednesday, May 7, 2008
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2007-08 Year in Review
Apple Valley

AV's Jim Jackson Named National Wrestling Coach of the Year

By Jason Bryant, NWCA
Manheim, PA

Audio Feature
Click here for an interview with Jim Jackson, AV wrestling
The National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholastic Board of Directors announced on Tuesday the annual winners for the NWCA Scholastic Coach of the Year, Scholastic Assistant Coach of the Year and the Scholastic Wrestler of the Year.

Apple Valley High School coach Jim Jackson is the recipient of the Head Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to nine state dual team titles in the last 10 years.

Ranked in the top five all season, Apple Valley has been one of the upper Midwest’s powerhouses for over a decade and Jackson has quite a stable of former wrestlers who went on to bigger things.

One will even be making waves on Sundays in the near future as AV graduate Trevor Laws was picked in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

This year, Jackson crowned five individual state champions.

“When a person receives an award like this, it’s more a program award,” said Jackson. “The credit belongs to the athletes, the parents and my assistant coaches and my administration. It’s a combination of that, I’m honored by it, but it’s a program award.”

“There are a lot of people that have a piece of this award,” said Jackson.

“What Jim Jackson continues to do in a rugged wrestling state like Minnesota is remarkable,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “Wrestling tradition and history is storied at Apple Valley. It’s one name that immediately springs to mind nation-wide when you talk about the scholastic wrestling in Minnesota.”

Jackson’s Apple Valley teams have won 10 state team titles in 13 years and nine of the last 10. Prior to taking over the reigns as head coach for the 1995-96 season, he served as an assistant coach for Bill Demaray for 15 seasons.

But since taking over, Apple Valley’s dual meet mark is an astonishing 465-25-3 (94.3 percent)

With more than its fair share of worthy and qualified candidates, Easton Area (Pa.) High School’s Jordan Oliver emerged as the NWCA’s Scholastic Wrestler of the Year.

Oliver won his third state championship and also won titles at the Manheim Lions, Reno Tournament of Champions and High School Nationals.

Oliver’s Reno title was his second and he completed his scholastic career with a remarkable 175-5 record. Oliver was also the NWCA Region 2 Wrestler of the Year.

Bound for Oklahoma State, Oliver’s also versed in the international styles, winning a Junior National Freestyle Championship in 2007 to follow his Cadet title the year before.

“I’m looking forward in being in the environment with John Smith and Eric Guerrero and just being around trained by those coaches and in good surroundings, I’m looking forward to training with my teammates,” said Oliver.

“Lightning quick, technically sound and an absolute terror on the mat -- Jordan Oliver has all the tools,” said NWCA President Ron Mirikitani. “It’s not a question of will he do well on the next level, it’s more about how soon.”

Oliver also participated in two of the most prestigious post-season All-Star events in the nation, the Dapper Dan Classic and the Wrestling USA Dream Team Classic. He was also the state and regional winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award as presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“It’s a pretty awesome of an accomplishment, I never had it in mind during the season, but throughout the season, I wanted to dominate. It’s an honor,” said Oliver.

“The field of regional and state award winners was deep and talented,” said Moyer. “We would have been pleased with any number of different wrestlers who were nominated, but you really can’t go wrong with a kid like Jordan. His credentials and reputation speak for themselves.”

Tom Spale of Schuyler Central High School in Nebraska was honored as the Assistant Coach of the Year by the NWCA.

A 35-year veteran of coaching on the youth and scholastic levels, Spale’s been a high school assistant for 25 years and helped guide Schuyler Central to an 11th place finish at the Nebraska Class B state championships.

Schuyler qualified five to the tournament and crowned one state champion, Dustin Stodola at 112 pounds and 130-pounder John Svoboda finished second.

“A common misconception in our sport is some people believe you have to be a dominant program to be considered a good coach,” said Moyer. “Caring coaches like Tom Spale have been involved with good teams and great kids, but his steady hand and commitment to wrestling are things you can’t put wins and losses against.”

Regional Winners
Region  Award   Name   School
1 Head Coach, Lawrence E. Tremblay, Winchester HS (MA)
1 Assistant, Bob Bathalon, Otter Valley Union HS (VT)
1 Wrestler, Hunter Meys, Shenendehowa HS (NY)
2 Head Coach, John Garnder, High Point Regional (NJ)
2 Assistant, Bill Lehto, C. Milton Wright HS (MD)
2 Wrestler, Jordan Oliver, Easton Area HS (PA)
3 Head Coach, Doug Thurmond, Jefferson HS (GA)
3 Assistant, Jon Renner            , Science Hill HS (TN)
3 Wrestler, Peter Yates, Salem HS (GA)
4 Head Coach, Dale Eggert, Libertyville High School (IL)
4 Assistant, Craig Zeerip, Hesperia High School (MI)
4 Wrestler, Andrew Howe, Hanover Central High School (IN)
5 Head Coach, Jim Jackson, Apple Valley HS (MN)
5 Assistant, Chris Kyle, Holt HS (MO)
5 Wrestler, Jake Dietchler, Anoka HS (MN)
6 Head Coach, Terry Alley, Andover Central HS (KS)
6 Assistant, Tom Spale, Schuyler Central HS (NE)
6 Wrestler, Tyler Graff, Loveland HS (CO)
7 Head Coach, Jeff Thompson, Flathead HS (MT)
7 Assistant, Thomas W. Tripple, Governor John R. Rogers HS (WA)
7 Wrestler, Tyrell Fortune, Lakeridge HS (OR)
8 Head Coach, Tom Wokasch, Mingus Union HS (AZ)
8 Assistant, Mario Chagolla, Camp Verde HS (AZ)
8 Co-Wrestler,  Jason Welch, Las Lomas HS (CA)
8 Co-Wrestler, Jason Chamberlain, Springville HS (UT)

The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a professional organization dedicated to serve and provide leadership for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on scholastic and collegiate programs. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling.

The NWCA, through its organizational structure, promotes communication, recognizes achievement, recommends rules and regulations, sponsors events, and serves as an educational and informational source. Additionally, the NWCA strives to foster the sportsmanship and integrity that are the cornerstones of athletic competition.

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