The team championship was secured with a win by 85 points.
“This was a huge day for the entire squad and bodes well for the future of Cleveland High School wrestling,” said Josh Bosken, head coach for Higher Calling, a competitive youth wrestling organization. “Our goal is to train and maintain the highest-quality athletes to help continue the finest wrestling program in the state.”
Higher Calling gives young wrestlers of all skill levels, grades K through 5, a chance to learn the essentials of practice and competition.
“The club is important because the wrestlers develop a love for the sport and build a strong work ethic that will carry them through life,” Bosken said. “The club also strives to teach the young athletes moral character and good sportsmanship. Winning starts at this level, which is why Cleveland is a hotbed for champions.”
Bosken referenced the recent success of Cleveland High and Cleveland Middle School as proof that Higher Calling is having a positive effect.
The middle school won the 2014 club conference title and the high school team dominated as state champions for the third time in the last four years. In 2013, the Blue Raiders beat runner-up Wilson Central 78-4 in the state tourney dual meet championships — a TSSAA record for the most lopsided margin of victory, most pins and quickest championship.
“Cleveland now has a wrestling trifecta,” Bosken said.
Bosken said Cleveland’s road to dominance began in 2006, when the Allan Jones Foundation donated $50,000 to the city school system to hire the athletic recruiting firm Double Pump International so that a national search for a coaching staff could be hired to replace the retiring Al Miller at Cleveland High.
New coaches were hired for the high school, middle school and kids club, and the foundation implemented a “six-year plan” designed to guide the Cleveland wrestlers to a championship.
Mike Hatcher, a graduate from the University of Iowa, was brought in to take over the Kids Club. Bosken, who also helped Eslinger, joined him. When Hatcher left, Bosken settled into the Kids Club coaching role to ensure the Cleveland pipeline would stay full.
"The concept back in 2006 was that in six years, the sixth-graders would be seniors and would have come through the system installed by coach Heath Eslinger and would win the state championship,” Bosken explained. “We can now say that the six-year plan conceived by Allan Jones was a success.”
Prior to the implementation of the six-year plan, Bradley Central High School had served as a long-respected state powerhouse, and had beaten Cleveland in competition for 19 consecutive years. For the past three years, Cleveland wrestlers have defeated their crosstown rivals, Bosken said.
“If there is a state championship won in wrestling, we want it to be one of our three schools,” said Allan Jones. “It all starts with the Kids Club, which we recognized back in 2006. Josh Bosken is doing an incredible job, and we congratulate him on the 2014 State Championship and Team Championship.”
Individual state champions on the squad included Walker Chouinard, Bentley Ellison, Lawrence Madson, Tucker Smith, Garrett Bowers, Bryce Pond, and Cody Mathews. The club also had 22 state medalists: Luke Mountain, Quentin Dyer, Madden Cobb, Cole Dyer, Jax Godfrey, John Emendorfer, Luke Chouinard, Logan Douglas, Trae McDaniel, Aidan Bowers, Emory Taylor, Wesley Devaney, Cade Holloway, Burns Meagher, Logan Whiteside, Austin Sweeney, Russell Barry, Jalen Ballou, Nyzaya Vincent, Jack Hicks, Kevin Martinez, and Caleb Flickner.