South Tahoe’s Jack honored with brick at Champions Plaza

David Jack speaks to the audience during a ceremony last week at Champions Plaza.
Mike Peron/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — David Jack was an ill-timed injury away from possibly earning a spot on Team USA to wrestle in the 1980 Olympics.

The South Tahoe High School 1975 graduate, and Zephyr Cove resident, was leading the legendary Bruce Baumgartner by four points in the 1980 NCAA Western Regional Finals, where Jack was the two-time defending champ, when he suffered a knee injury and was forced to quit the match.

Baumgartner went on to become one of the most dominant wrestlers in the world. He appeared in four Olympic games and medaled in every one.

“I got caught up in a weird position and tore my MCL,” Jack, 64, told the Tribune. “I would’ve been an All-American and I felt that I had a pretty good shot at making the Olympic team.”

Jack didn’t let the injury end his career. He battled back while earning his architecture and construction degree from Cal Poly, and made a run to compete in the 1984 games, but finished third in the Olympic trials and just missed out.

Jack was honored last week during a ceremony at Champions Plaza in South Lake Tahoe.

David Jack poses with his wife, Diane, next to the brick that honors him and his accomplishments. David and Diane met at Cal Poly and have been married for 41 years.

He had his name engraved on a brick in front of the bronze statue that honors South Lake Tahoe athletes and will forever be remembered for a wrestling career that culminated just short of an Olympic berth.

Dr. Dave Borges, from the Borges family that Jack calls godfathers of South Tahoe wrestling, introduced the former high school and college star to a crowd that included the current South Tahoe High School wrestling team and its head coach Ryan Wallace.

Borges spearheaded the push for Jack to be honored along with the likes of other Tahoe Olympians Maddie Bowman, Jamie Anderson and Hannah Teter.

“I was a senior when Dave was a freshman and he was in my weight class,” Borges said. “We at that time had an inexperienced coach and learned from a book. Dave had a great career and then went off and became a national engineer building large structures. But we really want to inspire other wrestlers in the community.”

“The ceremony was great,” Jack said. “I looked up to Dave. The Borges family are the godfathers of wrestling in South Tahoe. I really appreciate the work Dave Borges did to make this happen.”

David Jack during his wrestling days at Cal Poly.

Jack earned a full-ride scholarship and was a 4-year letterman at Cal Poly. He was a 3-time NCAA division 1 championship qualifier and recorded the third most pins in Cal Poly history. He owns three of the top 20 fastest times in pinning an opponent, his fastest being 14 seconds.

“I wanted to be a good wrestler and athlete,” Jack said. “I thought I’d probably play football in college, and I could have. When I was a high school senior Cal Poly was a huge powerhouse in wrestling and didn’t lose any matches for 10 years or something. They also had a great architecture and construction program.”

Jack plans to retire from working coast-to-coast in February 2023 and is hoping to help Wallace coach the Viking wrestlers.

“Ryan is doing a great job and South Tahoe is building its program once again,” Jack said. “I’d like to help Ryan however I can and help take kids to the next level.”

Certificates Jack received from USA Wrestling and the United States Olympic Committee.

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