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Endeavors of a Wrestler: A Look at Coach Stoel

Wrestling is in his blood.  He knows the mat, and the pain and dedication that it demands, better than anyone else in our community.  For many years, wrestling has been the labor of Gregg Stoel’s love.  Even before coaching at Hamilton for 17 years, wrestling was a huge part of his life.

Hamilton Coach Gregg Stoel has been a staple in the Hawkeye corner for decades.

Hamilton Coach Gregg Stoel has been a staple in the Hawkeye corner for decades.

It started in 1969, when Hamilton’s first wrestling team was without a coach.  Rising to the challenge, Stoel’s father took the team under his wing.  Despite not having a background in the sport, he made sure that Hamilton students would have the opportunity to wrestle.  Without that initiative, Hamilton’s wrestling program would not be nearly what it is today.

Wrestling quickly became a huge part of Stoel’s family.  He began wrestling at 12 and was soon a team manager, getting an early start on what would turn into a long career.  By the time freshman year rolled around, he and his brothers were ready for the next four years of high school wrestling.  The Stoel family spent many Saturdays during those four years competing and spectating together.  Stoel fondly remembers the encouragement his parents gave him to work hard and succeed in his endeavors.  He continued on to wrestle in college, but was taken out of the running by untimely injuries.

However, Stoel wasn’t nearly finished.  After college, he began his teaching career at South Christian.  At the time, South Christian was without a wrestling team.  Because he wanted to stay involved in the sport, he officiated other wrestling events for the next ten years.  And when the position for a wrestling coach in Hamilton opened up, he felt it was where he belonged.

He brought an involved coaching style with him when he came back to Hamilton.  “I’ve always believed in conditioning and intense coaching” he said.  The hardest working, best conditioned wrestlers are the most successful, he reasoned.  Hamilton wrestling’s demanding physical training aspect gives the team another advantage when it comes time to compete.

“I have a competitive nature,” Stoel said.  “I don’t like to lose.”  Channeling this, he teaches Hamilton wrestlers confidence through the trials of the sport.  Literally a form of combat, succeeding in it boosts a teenager’s self-esteem like few other things can.  When leading students throughout the course of their high school careers, he watches them mature and become men.  On this he quoted Dan Gable: “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

Some of his proudest moments have been convincing reluctant wrestlers to stay and then watching them succeed.  Andy Cook, a wrestler who had to struggle to make weight and become confident with himself, became a state champion under Stoel.  He was immensely proud to be a coach that day.

Stoel is proud to coach wrestling at Hamilton, and Hamilton is lucky to have him.

 

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