ABE YODER PASSES 100 VARSITY WRESTLING WINS
By SUE RIEDER
Senior Abe Yoder pinned his first opponent at the South Hardin Tournament on Jan. 17 to claim his hundredth varsity wrestling win. He had hoped to accomplish the feat at the Ram’s home meet last Thursday, but when Woodward-Granger backed out, the double dual became a single dual, and the 132 pounder knew he would have to wait for another day. Although his weight class was one of the more challenging at the Saturday tourney, his first opponent was inexperienced, and Yoder got the historic win by pinning his opponent in 1:07.
All of Abe’s varsity wins have come in the Jefferson based program. He wrestled at 113 pounds his freshman year and had a 20-14 record. His sophomore year he wrestled in the 120 pound weight class and was 33-13, and his junior year he wrestled at 145 pounds and went 25-13 in his matches. After Saturday’s meet, Abe’s record this year is 23-4, so he has almost equaled his wins from last year and has a lot of matches left this season.
Wrestling has been a family affair for the men in the Yoder family. Abe’s father Ben graduated from a small rural high school that did not offer the sport, but he encouraged his sons to participate when they got old enough. “When the boys were younger, we used the Saturday little kid tournaments as a good way to have father/son time together, said Mr. Yoder. “We didn’t emphasize winning much, because there are so many other positives that the sport teaches. Wrestling teaches kids how to respond to both winning and losing. It also emphasizes setting goals and working hard to accomplish them. I like the character that the sport instills in young men.”
Abe’s two older brothers wrestled when they were in high school. Joe and Sam both wrestled under Dan Knight when they attended Clinton High School. Joe was a state qualifier, and Sam was a state place winner and also lettered in wrestling at Iowa State when Cael Sanderson was the head coach. Abe watched many of his older brothers’ matches when he was growing up, and now they return to support he and his younger brother Isaiah who is a sophomore wrestling at 160 pounds for the Rams. “I live in Ames, and my brother Sam lives in Ankeny, so we can get to many of Abe and Isaiah’s meets,” said Joe. “After trying to help them learn the sport, it’s exciting to lean back and watch them succeed.”
Coach Mark Sawhill was also very proud of the second Ram to hit the century win mark this season. “This is a great achievement for Abe. He has worked very hard and continues to set a good example for the younger wrestlers at practice and in competitions.”