Humboldt Sports History Today: 1992 State Wrestling Dual Championship

By: Donovan W. Mann –

Humboldt, IA – In 1992 Humboldt High School wrestling won their first and so far only State Dual Championship in a historic, dramatic and somewhat controversial manner.

Humboldt wrestled Osage for the 1992 Class 2A State Dual Championship. For the first time in the history of the dual tournament it ended in a tie at 28-28.

Then Head Coach Ron Wasoba says he can remember the crowds being large and fantastic.

The biggest moment was heavy weight Corey Peters, who injured his elbow two weeks before, needing to pin Bob Muller, who finished in the top five in the traditional tournament that year, to force the tie.

Coach Wasoba described his heavy weight as being “pumped up” while the team was excited because they knew they had the criteria to win if Peters forced the tie. He got the quick pin and the coach says that was “just unbelievable. It was just so exciting.”

The dramatics did not stop there.

Coach Wasoba says “the thing that was significant about that was [Humboldt] had actually won it outright with the criteria but when they went to the record book to check the criteria line up for spots after a tie the record hadn’t been up to date with the new technical fall that was added the year before.”

Since it wasn’t in the record book the team was told they would not count the tech fall as criteria. Coach Wasoba says his argument was “we had the criteria and it was scored in the match, it should absolutely be part of the score.”

His argument failed to get the desired results for the team. The day of the tournament Osage was given the title.

That does not conclude the story for Humboldt.

Then Superintendent for Humboldt Dave Fleming came to help argue Humboldt’s case by calling the Iowa High School Athletics Association. “And with little arbitration they came out and called it a tie” Coach Wasoba says. The coach does say they wanted to avoid “ill feelings” between Humboldt and Osage.

The former coach says “it was kind of a letdown to think we got second that day but the championship trophy did come to Humboldt after all” thanks to the efforts of Fleming.

The story gets better for Coach Ron Wasoba when he thinks about their other opponent during the tournament. “The thing that made it even more interesting for me was in the semi-finals we wrestled Maquoketa, where I was from” he says.

He says that winning the championship “was beyond words” because “as a coach that’s you’re ultimate thing.” Humboldt has earned many honors throughout the history but winning the state dual title was certainly special.

Coach Wasoba says that while a team can do well at the traditional tournament with five or six wrestlers participating, the dual tournament is about the team as a whole. “From top to bottom this was a really solid team that did very well.”

The historic tie for the championship was one part of the history. The second part was the rule change that came the following year to include the tech fall for the criteria.

Coach Wasoba says the situation that unfolded for Humboldt was “unfortunate” with them having to split the title but the rule change should prevent it from happening again.

That 1992 Wrestling Team for Humboldt included six wrestlers who participated in the traditional state tournament. It also included a couple of two time state champions Tony Ersland (1991 & 92) and Jamie Heidt (1993 & 94). The unit was senior heavy with six of the 13 participants in the duals being senior statues.

As Coach Wasoba thinks about this team he says they did a lot of exciting things as wrestlers and “are still doing exciting things in their lives.” He knows two are still involve with wrestling as coaches.

Jamie Heidt coaches at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Minnesota and has led them to multiple state championships. Tony Ersland is the current coach of Purdue University.

No matter what any of his former wrestlers are doing Coach Wasoba says it makes a coach happy to know their athletes are successful in life.

Humboldt High School wrestling has made a total of five appearances in the State Dual Tournament, four since the championship. They have finished third twice (1995 & 96). Their most recent appearance was in 2020 when they finished eighth.