In their March 1, 2006 issue of Wrestling USA
magazine staff writer Al Fontes called the Walsh
Jesuit ASICS/Ironman “The Toughest Tournment in
the Nation”. Fontes goes on to say “In fact it
has been the toughest for the past few years and
appears to be getting even tougher.”
was the creation of Walsh Jesuit coach Bill Barger.
The first one was held on December 17th 1994 featuring
16 teams from all over the nation. Walsh Jesuit
won the first Ironman, Northampton PA was 2nd,
Nazareth PA 3rd, followed by Bismarck Century
N. Dakota, Easton PA, Choctaw Oklahoma and St.
Edward Ohio. Several other Oklahoma teams and
several California teams were entered as well.
The Ironman was the nation’s very first “SUPER
tournament”, meaning it brought together many
of the very best teams from all over America.
Currently the Ironman is much larger with approximately
30 to 34 full teams and a dozen or more partial
teams each with just a few wrestlers. So much
interest was generated by the first Ironman that
it just grew and grew, and has since been imitated
by several other tournaments around the nation.
The Ironman not only brings top teams together,
it has been an innovater in technology, using
matboards projected on the walls; using a paperless
scoring system; and being seeded live on line
3 days before the tournament begins. The 2006
version of the Ironman will feature the nation’s
top 2 teams in the preseason rankings, St. Edward
Ohio and Blair Academy New Jersey. The Ironman
will be the ONLY tournament this season where
these 2 goliaths meet head to head.
is still held at Walsh Jesuit, in a high school
setting which many fans prefer. It is expected
that upwards of 70 college coaches will attend
the Ironman, now held in 2 gyms close together
to accommodate the growing number of teams and
all the fans who want to attend. All quarterfinal,
semifinal, place matches and finals matches are
held in the main gym.
Since Walsh Jesuit’s team win in the initial Ironman,
only two other teams have won the title: Blair
Academy 7 times and St. Edward 4 times. There
has never been a 4 time Ironman champion, but
6 wrestlers have won it 3 times including: Mark
Jayne of St. Edward, Jeff Knupp of Walsh Jesuit,
Harry Lester of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
Ohio, Kurt Backes of Blair Academy, Patrick Bond
of Great Bridge VA, ands Aaron Hart of St. Paris
Now in its 13th year, the
Ironman continues to be the model that sets the
standard for elite competition, cutting edge innovation,
and the promotion of all that is positive in high