MesenbrinkJohnx197.jpgJohn Mesenbrink was born April 1, 1969 in St. Louis, Missouri the first of three children to Linda and John R. Mesenbrink with two younger sisters Heather and Holly. As a naval family, the Mesenbrink’s were able to travel around the nation and globe with stops in Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia, Wales - Great Britain and finally Texas for his freshman year of high school. During these times, John had great experiences participating in baseball, soccer, rugby, cross country, track and football. About to enter his sophomore year in high school, the family returned to St. Louis, Missouri and John was encouraged by his father to give the sport of wrestling a try at McCluer North High School.

With the help of his teammates and first coaches Bob Blanner, Charlie Sheretz, Scott Fulton and Mike Matlock; John was able to quickly forge the mental and physical toughness needed to place 4th in the 138lb weight class his senior year at the Missouri High School State Championships in 1987. His team won the Team State Championship as well (even though the record books indicate a 2nd place finish, crazy story).

John was invited during the spring of his senior year to practice and try-out for the St. Louis East vs. West All-Metro Dual Meet competition, which ultimately led him to his next coach and stop; Ron Mirikitani at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. While at Meramec, John served as team captain, was a 2x NJCAA Academic All-American, was the NJCAA Central District Champion & Outstanding Wrestler in 1989 and qualified for the NJCAA National Tournament in both 1988 & 1989. At both competitions, John fell short of earning All-American honors in the blood round. In the Spring of 1989, John was a member of the Junior College National team that trained and competed in tournaments in Austria and Yugoslavia. During this time, John was also actively involved as a USA Wrestling Freestyle & Greco-Roman official for the state of Missouri. John officiated Cadet & Junior National Championships in 1987-1989 and even had the privilege of officiating a Junior Nationals Freestyle finals match in 1989.

Under the tutelage of Coach Mirikitani, his wife Jan and their sons, David and Jason, John was able to develop the skills, confidence and drive needed to progress to the challenges of NCAA Division 1 wrestling. John continued his wrestling career at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa for Head Coach Lonnie Timmerman. After a red shirt year full of open tournaments, John competed for Drake University, which was a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) at 150lbs. During those two years, John served as team captain, amassed a record of 94-14, was the WAC Champion and an NCAA Division 1 National Tournament Qualifier in 1991. He was the WAC First Alternate in 1992. John was also selected to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team that year.

Upon graduating from Drake University in 1992 with a B.S. in Education - Biological Science, John was hired by Des Moines Public Schools to teach 8th grade science at Goodrell Middle School and serve as an assistant coach at Des Moines Roosevelt High School. This is where John got his first true taste of coaching student-athletes and it has been a passion ever since. For the 1993-1994 school year, John accepted positions in Wisconsin with Waukesha Public Schools to teach science at Central Middle School and to be the head coach at the newly built high school – Waukesha West. During his 4th season at the helm, John lead the 1997 team to the WIAA Team State Tournament.

John felt that one of the toughest challenges he faced during his five years at Waukesha West was not being a teacher in the building he coached at. He believed this would have a significant impact on the success of his teams and his wrestlers and as a result, John accepted a new science teaching and head coaching position at Arrowhead Union High School for the 1998-1999 school year. Four thirteen seasons, John guided the Arrowhead Warhawks to numerous Conference, Regional and Sectional Championships. His Arrowhead teams qualified for the WIAA Team State Tournament six times. Three of those years they advanced to the semi-finals and two teams, 2005 and 2011 were State Finalists. John twice coached teams that received Honorable Mention recognition for the Team State Sportsmanship Award.

Throughout his high school coaching career, John coached 87 wrestlers to the WIAA Individual State Tournament. 44 were state medalists, 8 were runner-ups and 12 captured state championships. John is proud that so many of the student athletes he coached developed the drive, determination, passion and skills needed to continue their careers past the high school level and achieve success in the collegiate ranks and in life.

Another key element John identified for the success of his high school teams was the development of wrestlers at the youth level. He developed youth community feeder programs that really focused on skill and athletic development, enjoyment of the sport and providing a safe and fun environment for the participants. From 1993 through 2011, John served as a camp coordinator, clinician and community youth wrestling club coach, as well.

John continued to compete himself in numerous freestyle wrestling competitions from 1994-2004 and feels this continued to elevate his coaching skills and abilities. He competed in the Sunkist International Open, U.S. Senior Northern Plains Regionals, the AAU Ironman Championship and the U.S. Senior National Freestyle Championships where in 1994, he was a match away from All-American honors. John finished his competitive career in 2004 as the U.S. Veterans National Champion at 69kg.

John loves developing his coaching skills and learning new ways to improve the overall performance of his athletes. His interest in the mental side of sport and helping his athletes gain an edge through mental skills and training, lead him to earn a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion, with an emphasis in Sports Psychology in 2007. In 2006, John earned his Gold Level Certification through USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program.

From 1999-2016, John has served as a Coach for the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation in many capacities: as Wisconsin Junior National Team Coach, Junior National Duals Team Coach, Junior Freestyle Developmental Camp Director and Coach and Regional Training Center Coach/Coordinator.

Since 2011, John has had the opportunity to work with and develop kindergarten through high school age athletes with his long-time friends and business partners, Ben & Max Askren at the Askren Wrestling Academy. This has provided him with an opportunity to share his passion and love for wrestling with athletes and families from communities all over Wisconsin. John currently resides in Hartland, Wisconsin with his wife Bernadette and their four children: Morgan, Mitchell, Meryl and Mack.

High School Wrestling Coach – 19 years (13 at Arrowhead Union, 5 at Waukesha West, 1 as assistant at Des Moines Roosevelt, Iowa)

Coaching Accomplishments & Honors
• 87 State Qualifiers
• 44 State Place-winners, 8 Runner-ups, 12 Champions
• 7x Wisconsin State Team Tournament Qualifiers West: 1997, AHS: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011
• 3x Wisconsin State Team Tournament Semi-Finalists 2004, 2006, 2008
• 2x Wisconsin State Team Tournament Runner-up 2005, 2011
• National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Central Sectional Coach of the Year (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan & Wisconsin) 2010-2011
• National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Wisconsin State Coach of the Year 2010-2011
• National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Wisconsin State Coach of the Year 2010-2011
• Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association (WWCA) State Coach of the Year 2011
• Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association (WWCA) District 6 Coach of the Year 2004, 2008
• Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association (WWCA) District 7 Coach of the Year 1997

Freestyle & Greco
• USA Wrestling National Coaches Education Program: Gold Level Certification - 2006
• Served as coach for: Unites States Olympic Team Training Camps, United States Olympic Team Trials, United States World Team Trials, United States Senior National Championships, Sunkist International Open, United States Senior & Junior Regional Championships
• Wisconsin Junior National Team Coach 1999 – 2007, 2009-2016
• Wisconsin Junior National Duals Team Coach 2000 – 2007
• Wisconsin Junior Freestyle Developmental Camp Director & Coach 2005-2007
• Wisconsin Junior Freestyle Developmental Camp Coach 2008
• Wisconsin Regional Training Center Coach/Coordinator 2001 – 2006

High School/Youth Camp Coordinator and Clinician 1993 – 2016
Community Club & Wrestling Academy Coach (Kindergarten – 12th grade) 1998 – 2016

Collegiate Wrestler - Drake University, Iowa & St. Louis Community College at Meramec, Missouri
NCAA Division I National Qualifier 1991, First Alternate 1992
NCAA Western Athletic Conference Champion 1991
National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team 1992
NJCAA National Qualifier 1988, 1989
NJCAA Central District Champion & Outstanding Wrestler 1989
NJCAA Academic All-American 1988, 1989
Drake University Team Captain
St. Louis Community College at Meramec Team Captain

United States Veterans Freestyle National Champion 2004
AAU Ironman Champion Freestyle/Greco/Folkstyle 2002
United States Senior National Freestyle Championships 1996, 1997, 2002
United States Senior National Freestyle Championships 1994 (Defeated in All-American round of wrestle-backs)
Northern Plains Senior Regional 5th 1996, 4th 1997, 3rd 2002
Sunkist International Open 1994
United States Junior College Freestyle National Team Member, Yugoslavia & Austria 1989

Inducted 2016