The IHSAA is proud to announce the 2024 honorees for induction into the IHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame, IHSAA Officials Hall of Fame, and escort for the Grand March, to be recognized on February 17 before the state championship matches at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Below is brief biographical information on each Hall of Fame selection and award winner. More information on IHSAA awards is available in the annual state tournament program, available for $5 at Wells Fargo Arena or through the IHSAA website and office.
IHSAA WRESTLING HALL OF FAME
MARK CHIRI, New London
Career coach at coach at New London who recorded 468 dual meet victories and coached 10 individual champions across 37 seasons. A Woodward-Granger graduate who wrestled for coach Dennis Field while also playing football and baseball, he attended Drake University while working full-time and supporting a family. He was hired by New London as a teacher and coach in 1986, at times leading the school’s wrestling, baseball, softball, football, and junior high track and field. New London finished in top 10 at state tournament seven times and qualified for state duals four times under Chiri. In his 37 seasons, the Tigers racked up 111 state qualifiers across 35 seasons, including a four-time champion in Marcel Lopez, and the winningest wrestler in state history, with Dominic Lopez’s 221. Chiri lives in New London with his wife Karen, and has six grown children: Nic, Jeret, Logan, Caitlin, Reno, and Trey. Three of Chiri’s sons wrestled, qualifying for the state meet in 10 of a possible 12 years, winning six medals and one championship.
JASON CHRISTENSON, Southeast Polk
A native of Anamosa, Christenson wrestled for his father Denny and they would become the second father-son coaches to earn team wrestling titles in Iowa as Jason developed into one of the winningest coaches in state history. Christenson coached at Collins-Maxwell-Baxter (1991-97), Oskaloosa (1997-2001), and Southeast Polk (2001-20), totaling nine state championships – five dual team, four traditional tournament – and six runner-up finishes. He was named state coach of the year six times across IWCOA, USA Wrestling, and All-Iowa, and became a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2020. His teams qualified for 15 state dual team tournaments, won 19 conference titles, earning him a 482-106-6 career dual team record. Individually, Christenson’s squads logged 186 state qualifiers and 25 state champions, including nine straight trophy finishes at Southeast Polk. Outside the high school season, he was an major contributor to Iowa/USA Wrestling as a director and coach, taking cadet and junior teams to Fargo and abroad. Christenson continues to teach at Southeast Polk. He and his wife Jeannie have a son, Gabe, who was a two-time state champion.
CORY CLARK, Southeast Polk
A four-time state champion from 2009-12 with a career record of 185-1. Clark was twice named Iowa’s Mr. Wrestler, his titles for coach Jason Christenson’s Rams came at 103, 112, 119, and 126 pounds. He was also a national junior champion in both freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling. Clark would go on to become four-time All-American and 2017 national champion with the University of Iowa, competing in three finals and finally taking the 133-pound championship as a senior. Clark lives outside Chicago, Illinois and coaches wrestling.
JAKE MARLIN, Creston/Orient-Macksburg
A four-time champion from 2010-13 with a career record of 204-6. Marlin graduated with a state record 147 falls and led the Panthers to four consecutive state dual team tournaments. His victories at 130, 135, and twice at 138 pounds came during a talent-rich time in Iowa high school wrestling, with numerous Division I wrestlers competing for titles. Marlin became a NJCAA national finalist for North Iowa Area Community College in 2014 and is now an entrepreneur. He and his wife Molly have two children, McCoy and Blake.
JOHN MEEKS, Des Moines, Roosevelt
A four-time champion from 2009-12 who became just the sixth wrestler in Iowa high school history to complete his career unbeaten. Meeks went 168-0 at Roosevelt, helping the Roughriders to a Des Moines Public Schools best third-place team finish as a freshman and capping his time as the first African American to complete an unbeaten varsity career in Iowa. Meeks also excelled in freestyle, earning All-American honors in Fargo, winning an AAU preseason national championship in 2011 and the Iowa state championship in 2012. Meeks was honored as national Dapper Dan winner and then continued wrestling as a four-year starter for Iowa State. He began coaching in 2018 at Waukee, serving as an assistant for state place-winning squads and has been head coach at Waukee since 2021. Meeks works as an insurance agent. The son of Keith and JoAnn Meeks, he has two daughters – Tilly and Sloane – with his wife Madison.
BRANDON SORENSEN, Denver/Tripoli
A four-time champion from 2010-13 who graduated tied for the most wins in state history at 208-3. Sorensen led Denver/Tripoli to team titles in 2010 and 2012 and while recording 121 falls across his success at 119, 130, 132, and 145 pounds. Sorensen went unbeaten in his freshman and senior seasons while also leading Denver to second-place finish at state cross country in 2012. The son of Dwight and Julie, he continued wrestling at the University of Iowa and became a four-time All-American with a career record of 127-17, including Academic All-Big Ten honors. Sorensen has continued his work in Iowa City, where he lives with wife Kelsey, and is employed as a coach with Hawkeye Wrestling Club.
IHSAA OFFICIALS HALL OF FAME
An award-winning wrestling and football official from Maquoketa, Meinecke has made 19 state tournament appearances in the circle, including nine finals rounds. Started officiating as a volunteer once his sons joined the local wrestling club, and “blossomed” into a key mentor and recruiter in Eastern Iowa for officiating and the IWCOA. Meinecke has worked football for 27 years and made 19 postseason appearances for the IHSAA, bolstered by 17 seasons and numerous postseasons in the NCAA Division III level. Meinecke has operated an insurance agency since 1985 in Maquoketa, where he and his wife Vicki have four adult children and 11 grandchildren.
CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND MARCH ESCORTS
Eight IHSAA Award-Winning Officials
The Iowa High School Athletic Association is honored to recognize wrestling’s outstanding officials and their essential contributions to the sport in our state by having a group of eight lead the 2024 Grand March. Iowa is nationally-recognized for having top quality wrestling officials, so the IHSAA will have eight officials who have been selected as NFHS state official of the year in wrestling and who are working state championship matches lead the march on Saturday night.
The officials: Greg Becker, Waterloo; Jim Bruck, Harlan; Jim Pfeifer, Milford; Mike Winklepleck; Brian Gray, Winterset; Jim Salker, Sergeant Bluff; Travis Pike, Mason City; and Eric Eckerman, Waverly.
These eight officials graduated from eight different Iowa high schools, spanning 1973 through 2002 and each corner of the state. They have all been honored as state official of the year for their sport skill, knowledge, and support of other officials through mentoring, media, education, and the IWCOA. All have worked several years of championship matches and assist the sport off the mat with other events and local organizations.
The IHSAA sincerely appreciates the contributions all officials make to Iowa high school athletics and activities in our state. The grand march will begin following Hall of Fame and awards ceremonies on Saturday night and lead all place-winners into Wells Fargo Arena ahead of the 42 state championship matches.