John Meyers – Poway CA Coach
Give Back to Your Community
By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer
“Can you imagine what it would look like if every youth team in America was giving back to their community?” Eight years ago, when Coach John Meyers took on the reins of the Poway (CA) Elite Wrestling Club, he implemented a community service component as a life teaching tool.
As successful as they were as wrestlers, he wanted his young proteges to appreciate that they would not be where they were without having a community at their backs. Thus, since its inception, Poway Elite wrestlers have performed services such as delivering a Thanksgiving dinner to a family in need and providing gifts to a young person with kidney disease. To parents, Coach Meyers simply says: “This is why we give back.”
Named the head coach for the Poway High School team in 2018, his 2019-20 team returns all but two wrestlers from a program ranked 15th in the country in February 2019. Meyers maintains the strong tradition of excellence established under Coach Wayne Branstetter from 1978-2018, under whom Poway had 27 top-five California state finishes and four state titles, with Meyers serving 16 of those 40 years as assistant head coach.
States Meyers: “We have kept the philosophy of building a strong program on great values while seeking out the toughest competition by upgrading the dual meet schedule. Also, as of March 2019, we became the first high school in the country to serve as a regional Olympic Training Center. With a unique schedule which allows for all 50-60 wrestlers to be in the same P.E. class every day, we can get in lifting and running, as well as check in daily with each student on his academic performance.”
A high school English teacher at Poway, Coach Meyers is proud of “being stopped on a weekly basis by teachers and administrators who emphasize how our kids are positive role models. We teach them to be part of the solution.” More than a coach and a teacher, John sees himself “as an academic counselor keeping track of grades and behavior. We want our wrestlers to develop an aura through which they represent the best in themselves throughout the school and the sport.”
One place where Poway has honed their talents outside of the season is by participating in Rocky Mountain National Events. “We love the fact that everything will be on time and the competition will be at a high level regardless of the venue. Thus, when RMN introduced the Smash National Duals this December, we jumped at the opportunity; we know because it’s RMN, it will be a great event. There are a very few people I would trust to run a quality first-year event, but with Ed Gutierrez and his family I have absolutely no doubt it will run smoothly.”
As a San Diego school, Poway has been part of the D-Day on the Midway (August 1-3) since its inception, but Meyers is especially excited now that RMN Events has brought its professional organization here to manage the tournament experience. He proclaims: “In my opinion, San Diego is the best city in the world. What an experience to combine one of the greatest cities with the highest level of competition and the expertise of RMN.”
The 2019-20 Poway High School team “has the potential to be one of our best ever. We have the highest number of kids wrestling at Fargo. Our athletic director and principal strive for excellence in all areas. They actively support well-rounded students who participate in extracurricular activities and will thereby make a deeper connection with themselves and others.”
“We encourage parents to have conversations with their kids. We love to win and love to wrestle. But we also want to make sure that our kids are involved in improving the communities in which they live and in always better knowing themselves.”
AARON GANDARA - POWAY CA - 3X Fargo All-American (freestyle & Greco finalist) – 4th in CA State, ranked 25th nationally at 153 lbs., upcoming senior
POWAY CA - 2018 RENO TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS - TEAM CHAMPIONS
JASON MIRANDA - POWAY CA - 3rd in CA State, ranked in top 20 nationally at 126 lbs., upcoming senior
POWAY CA - CIF MASTERS TOURNAMENT TEAM CHAMPIONS 2019