Jason Christenson Era
(2002 - Current)
Joseph "Joe" Horton was an Owens Era Southeast Polk wrestler and a true student of the sport. Horton ushered SEP Wrestling into the modern era with a "summer wrestlers make winter champions" mentality. He spent his summers driving wrestlers to Freestyle / Greco Roman tournaments across the State and Nation, coaching any wrestler that desired help - regardless of which school they wrestled for.
Horton spent 8 years at the helm of the wrestling program, coaching 1 State Champion and 10 State Placewinners. Horton's coaching style was simple: perfect the basics and confidence comes from conditioning. Horton's teams finished 7th at the State Tournament. Constant at Horton's side was his long-time assistant, Russ Vermie, whose quick laugh and Far Side humor brought levity and confidence to the program.
Horton's committment to the program knew no bounds. He coached a wrestling meet against Dowling mere hours after his son was born and he involved his entire family in the wrestling process. His father, Mike Horton announced the wrestling meets for decades and wrote wrestling articles for the Altoona Herald, while his mother, Bev Horton, kept dual meet scores and was hands down the biggest fan Southeast Polk Wrestling ever had.
Horton's voice, while no longer calling for more heavy rope jumps, sandbag squats, or 'down the line' drills, can still be heard in the halls of Southeast Polk as an administrator for the school district.
Richard "Red" Owens was the founding Godfather of Southeast Polk Wrestling. Red was the head coach from the program's inception in 1964 until his retirement with State Champion Ben Smith ini 1993. During his tenure, Red coached 2 State Champions and dozens of State Placewinners. Red's teams finished 4th and 7th at the State Tournament and rolled 11 Conference Titles.
Red was assisted by long-time assistant Harold "Buck" Wheeler during nearly his entire tenure. Red's judo style mixed with Buck's mat and leg wrestling to produce several legends SEP Wrestling, including Jim Jones, Dick Marshall, Rich Herman, Craig Sexton, Greg Berg, and Ben Smith, earning him the Iowa High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year Award in 1983.
Red is a member of the SEP Hall of Fame, Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. Red remained active with SEP Wrestling until his passing and SEP's host tournament (formerly the Holiday Invitational) is named in his honor.
Red was as much a father figure as a coach to scores of SEP wrestlers, spending as much time fishing, mushroom hunting, and roofing houses with his wrestlers as he did coaching them. His own sons, Jason Owens and Patrick Owens, wrestled for their father in the Black & Gold. Red's legacy lives on through the many people's lives he touched and the hard-nosed SEP wrestling style that thrives in the program today.
Red's unexpected passing in Fall, 2012, inspired the Rams throughout the 2012-2013 Season with the mantra #Win4Red. The boys would have made Red proud with their record breaking performances, record crowd at "Red Out" Dual Meet Night, and State Dual and State Traditional Championships in 2013.