Jefferson Wrestling Honors McNiel, Dominates Kennedy

By Jeremiah Davis, Reporter

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By KCRG Sports

CEDAR RAPIDS – The smile may never fade from Bill McNiel’s face again.

The former Cedar Rapids Jefferson head wrestling coach was honored last night before the dual meet between Jefferson (9-0) and Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-8), which the J-Hawks won, 66-12.

McNiel was met on the mat in a pre-match ceremony by former wrestlers and fellow coaches, and he said it was a night he won’t soon forget.

“This limelight stuff, I’m not comfortable with, but it’s great,” McNiel said after the ceremony. “Tonight I think (the most special part) was seeing the wrestlers that went through the program and some of the people that were responsible for having the success they did.”

McNiel was coach from 1967-78, and along the way guided the J-Hawks to back-to-back team state championships in 1973 and 1974 (preceded by a runner-up team finish in 1972), six conference championships and a 105-24-1 overall record.

He was inducted into the Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1981, and then again in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998, but said being back at Jefferson and seeing so many familiar faces and what those people have become makes the night rank right up there.

“What impresses me more than anything else is that I look at some of the individual wrestlers – and I see what they have done since those days – I get a bigger kick out of seeing (what they’ve become) than whether or not they won or lost a match,” McNiel said. “There’s a lot of good people that came out of (our program).”

The current J-Hawks were in top form on the special night, and won all but two matches in the dual meet. They were led by No. 6 152-pounder Kelly May, who pinned Kennedy freshman Garrett Kubovec in just 39 seconds.

Read more: http://iowaprepsports.com/2014/01/23/bill-mcniel-night-a-special-occasion-for-cr-jefferson-wrestling/#ixzz2rI0kd0rC
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