Eric Juergens runs clinic at Michigan Xtreme
BY JEFF CHANEY
Nearly 50 West Michigan wrestlers showed up at the Michigan Xtreme Wrestling Center Jan. 22 to learn from one of the best and most decorated Iowa wrestlers.
Eric Juergens, the former two-time NCAA Division I national champion and four-time All American for the Iowa Hawkeyes, was at Michigan Xtreme putting on a clinic for the lucky wrestlers that showed up.
"I just came up here to put the clinic on, and it was good to see kids from Michigan wrestling," Juergens said. "I do a ton of these during the summer, and sometimes do one or two in the fall. I don't do very many during the season."
As lucky as the wrestlers that were there to learn crab riding, defense of the legs and the intensity that Juergens showed when he was a Hawkeye, Juergens also had a chance to take something away.
He got a chance to see some very good Michigan wrestlers, which may pay dividends in his current job. That's because Juergens in the coach for NCAA Division III Augustana (Iowa).
Right now the Vikings have five former Michigan high school standouts on their roster, including Rockford's Jacob Scholten, Grandville's Jordan Richardson and Allegan's Steve Poffenberger.
"I like Michigan a lot, there are good kids and good wrestlers here," said Juergens, who also ran a smaller clinic at Grand Haven High School earlier that Sunday. "Doing clinics like this help in my networking and helps build."
Juergens, who is one of only four Iowa high school wrestlers to be an undefeated four-time state champion, says it is much harder being a coach than it was a wrestler.
"Without a doubt," Juergens said. "With coaching, you are not in total control. When I was an athlete, if I saw something, or was told there was something wrong, I could go out and work on that. As a coach you can see that same thing, point it out, but it's up to that wrestler to have the desire and work ethic to make it work."
It is that kind of attitude that made the Iowa practice room a perfect place for Juergens, who was third at 125 pounds his freshman and sophomore years, and champion at 133 pounds his junior and senior seasons.
"I realize now how important what I learned at Iowa was," Juergens said. "The hard work, pushing until you can't push anymore, and then push a little more, not until I got out did I realize how important that it. (Coach Dan Gable), he started that. He was ahead of his time in how important conditioning was. That's why you see so much parody in wrestling today, because all the coaches put that importance on conditioning and work ethic."
All you had to see was all the sweat on the mats at Michigan Xtreme after that Sunday clinic to see that Juergens practices what he preaches.
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