VALENTINE, Neb. -- Fifteen new people have been inducted into the Nebraska Wrestling Hall of Fame, including a Valentine man who was on the town’s first wrestling team. Joe Mundorf first learned how to grapple in 1964.

“I was a freshman, and I was in Coach Mo Tehrani’s algebra class,” Mundorf said. “I had planned on playing basketball, but he recruited me to wrestle. My dad said it would help me in football.”

With wrestling so new to the area, Mundorf recalls some unique experiences.

“An area team had put a whole bunch of mattresses on the floor and put a tarp on top of the mattresses. That’s what we wrestled on,” Mundorf said.

But the Valentine man quickly learned how to take down his opponents. In his Junior year Mundorf won every match, that is aside from one—the state championship.

“It was in overtime, and I made sure that the next year I was in really good shape,” Mundorf said.

That he did. During Mundorf’s Senior year, he was undefeated, becoming a state champion wrestler. It was quite the ride considering he learned the basics of the sport just four years earlier.

“It was one of the highlights for me forever,” Mundorf said.

Mundorf had many other highlights in college.

“I wrestled two different national champions and one Olympic champion,” Mundorf  said.

He wrestled two years in Utah and another half year in Lincoln.

“I started wrestling there my Senior year, but my wife had a baby in December, so I figured I better go find a job,” Mundorf said.

Even while raising a family, the couple’s dedication to their favorite sport didn’t stop. Mundorf went on to coach elementary and middle schoolers in the Wood Lake area for more than two decades.

“And watch them get into high school and become state qualifiers and champions. That was the most enjoyable,” Mundorf said.

Even though he said he’s too old to coach, this weekend Mundorf had another pin--being inducted into the Nebraska Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“I never dreamed something like that would happen, but it was a very nice honor,” Mundorf said.

However, Mundorf said the greatest win has been playing a role in not just teaching kids about wrestling, but about life.

“Wrestling is different than a lot of sports. There’s a lot of comradery. You see them all the time. There’s a lot of down time between matches, so you get aquatinted with a lot of kids,” Mundorf said.

Kids who can now say their coach is a Hall of Famer.