Ballard’s Noftsger Loses State Wrestling Medals, IHSAA Comes To Rescue

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CAMBRIDGE — Skyler Noftsger still remembers how it felt to win a state championship.

“I couldn’t stop smiling for several days,” said Noftsger. “I was so happy.”

Three times, a state place winner. A South Dakota State Jackrabbit in the fall. But before that…

“We came outside and there was a fire on the fence.”

Skyler was a victim.

“I grabbed the garden hose and tried to put it out,” said Skyler’s father Drake. “But there was just so much fire that it started the garage on fire, and after that, they put me to the street.”

The scene now, a pile of burned belongings. The Noftsgers lost more than $100,000 dollars in personal property in the fire. Including Skyler’s state tournament medals.

“I saw my state bracket, because my state bracket was right by the window,” said Skyler. “The whole thing had been burned, but there was a corner left out of it. That’s when it really hit me that a lot of the stuff that means a lot to me is gone.”

With his state tournament medals and championship bracket up in smoke, Skyler thought he had nothing to show for his hard work. But little did he know, the Iowa High School Athletic Association had already caught wind of the situation.

“I received a couple of emails from some people in the Huxley area.”

Lewie Curtis is the IHSAA’s wrestling administrator.

“I’ve had a couple of similar instances.” said Curtis.

So he got to work.

“We just started putting the pieces together and getting our staff on ordering what we needed,” said Curtis.

Three replacement medals, and one big bracket, delivered last Friday.

“When I saw him walking with the brackets, all the emotion came back,” said Skyler. “And I was just so happy to see it all back.”

“As a mom, it breaks your heart to see your kids lose everything,” said Skyler’s mom Melanie. “I just knew how much it meant to him, so I wanted to be there to see that happiness come back.”

Happiness, and gratitude.

“It’s awesome that they`d take time out of their days, take time out of their lives to make someone else happy,” said Skyler.

“It’s kind of a neat thing to be able to think back and always remember. We’re glad he’ll be able to have that.”

A healing family regaining gold.


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