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30 Years of Pierce Wrestling 

By Addison Croghan 

Believe it or not, this competition year was Pierce wrestling’s 30th birthday. 

All the way back in March 1992, the Pierce School Board directed that then-principal Lynn Moeller start taking steps to provide Pierce High with its first wrestling team during the next school year, 1992-93. 

Starting from complete scratch, the new teacher and coach Todd Kiplinger had quite a bit on his hands. With 22 signed up, the first team practice commenced that following winter. The beginners had some team goals to accomplish including not finishing last in any meet and bringing home at least one medal every meet. 

Mike Thayer can be counted as Pierce’s very first wrestling winner at the Creighton Invitational. Other highlights of that first season include hosting the first dual at home and taking 10 wrestlers to the second day of districts, also known as round three. This was pretty impressive considering it was one of the toughest districts in class B, with seven of the 14 teams in the top 10 in the state. This included Chris Coulter, Bill Vyhlidal, Mike Thayer, Brett Oestreich, and Adam Planer all wrestling state placers. Chris Coulter’s favorite part about being on the first wrestling team was, “Being supported by the community. It was a 1st and nobody knew anything about wrestling, so it was great having home duals and having a packed house in the auditorium. It was absolutely great having the community not knowing anything about the sport but still showing up to support the team!”

Coach Kiplinger concluded the 1992-93 season with, “The kids were excited by the newness and challenge of the sport. It’s always hard to be the first, to make mistakes, rise from them, and try to better oneself. The guys did a great job of taking the challenge head on.” 

In the next year, Pierce found its first victory in a dual against Plainview, 64-24. In only his second year of wrestling, Chris Coulter was Pierce’s very first state qualifier at the Norfolk Catholic Invite in 1994. He commented, “It was very surreal. I had only wished I had some of my teammates to go with.”

These original wrestlers are what ultimately led up to the success Pierce High wrestling has nowadays!



Pierce Public Schools 201 N. Sunset St. Pierce, NE  68767

402.329.6217 Fax: 402.329.4678

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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