Jacob Bryce Minnewaska Area High School Class of 2004
The name Bryce has become synonymous with Minnewaska wrestling. Jacob Bryce, following the lead of his father and two older brothers, became one of the best wrestlers to ever compete at Minnewaska Area High School.
What many don’t know is that Jacob was also a solid football player in the fall for the Lakers. As a senior, he was named a team captain and had a solid year as he became an All-West Central Conference player. The success of his fall sport, was just a warm-up to his first love of wrestling.
It did not take Jacob long to make his impact on the Minnewaska varsity wrestling team. In only his 8th grade year, Bryce was wrestling varsity at 160 pounds. As a freshman, and again wrestling at 160 pounds, he was a state tournament entrant and was named “Most Improved” on his team.
Jacob entered his sophomore season with a national ranking; something that would continue through the rest of his high school career. Bryce’s sophomore campaign also resulted in him being named team MVP, All West Central Conference, and Conference Champion. By the time he finished his sophomore season, Jacob had won the section tournament and finished runner-up in the state tournament.
Jacob’s junior season was filled with some of his most renowned accomplishments. He picked up his 100th career victory, was named All Conference, Conference Champion, Team Captain, Team MVP and most notably, he became the state champion at 171 pounds. Bryce was also succeeding in the classroom as he was named Academic All State with a 3.95 GPA.
Entering Jacob’s senior season, he was ranked #1 in the state of Minnesota at 171 pounds and was named all state. He was again a team captain, team MVP, all conference and conference champion.
He was undefeated during the season and again earned the opportunity to compete at the state tournament, despite an injury to his ACL suffered in a late regular season match. During his senior campaign, Jacob wrestled in one of the toughest weight classes in the entire state tournament. Among four of the wrestlers in his bracket, they had won a combined 5 state championships. Jacob capped off his fourth-straight state tournament appearance with a fourth-place medal and finished the season with a 43-2 record.
Jacob’s wrestling style was one where he was constantly on the attack. He liked to wrestle from the neutral position and take-downs were his specialty. In many of his matches, you would see Bryce take down his opponent on numerous occasions which would wear down his opponent both mentally and physically. Jacob would then be in a prime position to pursue a pin, which he accomplished on most occasions.
Wes Tessman, Laker wrestling coach at the time, noted recently that Jacob was one of the very best wrestlers he had the opportunity to coach during his tenure. “He was intelligent, highly skilled and technically outstanding.” In a recent conversation he also mentioned, “If not for the knee injury he suffered late in his senior year, I believe he would’ve repeated as state champion.
That being said, his fourth-place finish with the injury he wrestled through at the state tournament showed just how tough a wrestler he really was.”
After high school, Bryce would follow in his brother’s footsteps and take his talents to North Dakota State University. After redshirting his first year on campus, Jacob would wrestle in NDSU’s starting lineup as a redshirt freshman where he wrestled at 197 pounds. Bryce’s redshirt sophomore year saw him become an NCAA Qualifier and he was named Most Valuable Upper Weight Wrestler for the Bison. As a redshirt junior, Bryce was an NCAA qualifier, team captain, Most Valuable Upper Weight Wrestler and was named the team’s hardest worker. Bryce finished his college career with a record of 51-31.
When Jacob looks back on his wrestling career, he is most proud of how hard the laker wrestling team worked. He believes that there was not a team in the state of Minnesota that worked harder than they did. Jacob is also proud to have been a part of the group that pushed to create the Mat Pack wrestling club. This was a club designed to help the team reach its goal of making it to the state tournament.
Jacob now lives in Alexandria with his wife, Jenna, and their children, Jackson, Amele, Clara, and Thomas. Jacob is an owner of Machinery Scope, which is a financing and warranty company for Agricultural and Construction equipment. He gives back to the local wrestling community as the Alexandria Youth Wrestling coach and the Peak Wrestling Club coordinator.
Congratulations to Jacob Bryce, 2023 Minnewaska Area Schools Hall of Fame Inductee!