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Manstedt’s influence reaches beyond his team at High Plains

General News


By Marc Zavala

Published: Friday, December 18, 2009 8:49 PM CST


Norm Manstedt has been around the sport of wrestling for a number of years.

And it doesn’t appear he isn’t going anywhere soon.

Manstedt’s High Plains wrestling team was one of 20 teams competing this weekend at the Fla*censored*er Fracas at the Heartland Events Center.

During his 41 years of coaching at Clarks and High Plains, he has produced 31 individual state champions, one team state title in Class D in 1972, and one runner up finish in Class D in 1978.

Manstedt said wrestling has always been a part of his life.

“It’s the one thing I have been successful at year after year,” Manstedt said.

A few of Manstedt’s wrestlers have taken that next step in becoming head coaches. In fact, there are two coaches competing in the Fracas that have wrestled for Manstedt. Those coaches include his son, Gothenburg coach Eric Manstedt, and Grand Island Central Catholic coach Marc Starostka.

Norm Manstedt said he’s happy to see former athletes get into coaching and making an impact on the wrestler’s lives.

“That’s really neat to see,” he said. “To know that they are trying to do the same things that I have taught them. I hope they are picking on some other things as well because I don’t have them all figured out. I know both Eric and Marc have used the same philosophy that I have.”

Eric said he owes his coaching success to his dad.

“He’s always been a big coaching influence on me in terms of my coaching style in how I talk and treat my kids,” Eric said.

Starostka, who won a state championship for Norm Manstedt in 1983, said the same thing, but also added that he also teaches kids more about life than wrestling.

“I don’t think I have time to discuss how much Norm has meant to me and what it was like wrestling for him,” Starostka said. “He’s always been a mentor of mine and I still always call him. He’s a teacher about life. He’s a believer of every kid, whether you are good or bad. He’s got the ability to make you believe in him as a coach in the lifestyle. He’s a life builder.”

Eric also said there’s been a lot of talk around the dinner table about wrestling, which is something Eric said his mom, Janet, didn’t mind.

“I think she was more of a wrestling fan than me and my brother Mitch have ever been,” Eric said. “She grew up around the sport with her brothers and nephews. She would sit front and center and scream at the top of her lungs. We are just a wrestling family.”

Norm Manstedt is involved in a areas when it comes to wrestling. He is one of the original members and president of the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association and also started the Nebraska Invitational Dual Team Championships held in Columbus every year.

“I don’t know if we would know how much impact he has made for the sport,” Eric said. “I tried to ask my dad how much of the stuff he is involved in. He hasn’t just been trying to get Clarks or High Plains better, it’s about trying to get the sport in Nebraska better for everybody. He really has influenced a lot of kids.”

Norm Manstedt hopes the wrestlers get more from the sport than wins and losses, like the lessons learned from competing in the sport.

“I hope what they get out of it is to be successful not just by winning,” he said. “The sport takes daily work. The wrestlers will face many challenges in their life and they know they will have to work hard every day to get better in practice to prove themselves. A lot of things in life might not be as difficult as what they are facing right now. The thought process is being prepared every day to go to work. Every kid I have coached have been fun to have, whether they have been good or bad.”


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