CRESCO, Iowa – University of Northern Iowa volunteer wrestling coach Tolly Thompson will be the 106th member to be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco April 8.
The 44th annual awards banquet and induction ceremony will begin with a 5:30 social hour followed by a 6:30 banquet at the Cresco Country Club south of Cresco.
Thompson was a three-time NCAA All-American while capturing one NCAA championship for the University of Nebraska. The Janesville native was runner-up two times in the high school state tournament. Thompson further distinguished himself as he wrestled internationally for eight years after college. Thompson placed third at the 2005 World Championship at 120 kgs/265.5 lbs in Budapest Hungary. Along with the bronze at the World Cup, Thompson placed second at the Cerrod Pelado International and was the Dave Schultz Memorial International Champion.
Thompson just helped coach the Panthers to a 15th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which is UNI’s best finish since 2005.
David Ripley of Charles City, Robert Kenny of Mason City and Jason Kelber of Valentine, Neb., also are being inducted. The first class was inducted in 1970.
Ripley was the Riceville wrestling coach for 33 years. In those years Ripley’s teams won two state titles while also being a runner-up in both the state and dual meet tournaments. The Wildcat teams posted a record of 319-90-1 under Ripley’s tenure. Ripley coached 95 state qualifiers, 51 state place winners and 7 state champions. He was twice named Coach of the Year.
Kenny also had an outstanding coaching career, his at Emmetsburg. Kenny’s teams won six state teams titles and two state dual meet titles while also being a runner-up in three other state tournaments. Kenny’s teams were 289-123-1. He had 88 state qualifiers and 56 place winners. He coached 12 wrestlers to state titles, 12 to second place finishes, 13 to third place finishes and 9 to fourth place finishes.
Kelber, who wrestled for West Marshall High School in State Center, was a three-time state champion who went unbeaten his sophomore, junior and senior seasons (123-3 overall). Kelber also wrestled at the University of Nebraska where he was a 126 pound NCAA champion and a three-time all American.
Banquet tickets are available at the Cresco Chamber of Commerce (563-547-3434) and CIA Insurance in Cresco (563-547-2382). Tickets are $20 and advance registration is required.
The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, which was remodeled and expanded in the past two months, will be open until 6 p.m. the day of the banquet.
HALL OF FAME
The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame’s sole purpose is the promotion of amateur wrestling in Iowa. The Hall of Fames honors native Iowans at its annual awards banquet and induction ceremony. The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame museum is located in the Cresco Welcome Center, at the intersection of Highway 9 and Elm Street. Visit the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame website at iowawrestlinghalloffame.com.