Jimmies News · JHS Winter Kiwanis Honorees

Matt Gimson, Elizabeth Zerfas, Riley Horvath and Connor Gimson accept their Kiwanis Student Athlete of the Season Awards
On Tuesday, February 26th, the Kiwanis Club of Elkhart honored outstanding student-athletes from Jimtown, Memorial, Central and Concord.  This annual Kiwanis program aims to spotlight those students in our area schools that are not only recognized for their excellence on the field or court, but also for their excellence in the classroom and leadership roles at school.   The Kiwanis Club has this program near the end of each of the sports season and then has a year-end program at the end of the school year.
We are very thankful and appreciative of our local Kiwanis Club for putting on a program like this.  It allows us to really shine a light on the important things in Education-Based Athletics.   THANKS SO MUCH!!

Jimtown decides it’s honorees through the nominations and input from the coaching staff of each of their sports.  This winter…we are pleased to honor 2 young ladies and 2 young men that have been leaders at Jimtown both on and off the field.

Both of the young ladies that represented Jimtown at Kiwanis this winter are history-makers in Jimtown Athletics.  Both have accomplished something that nobody else in the history of the high school has done.

Riley Horvath—Wrestling


  • Riley is a junior at Jimtown
  • She is here today for Wrestling.  While we have had several young ladies in the past that have participated in wrestling—Riley was a record setter this year for Jimtown.  
  • Riley has struggled to work her way into an every meet wrestler, simply due to the level of (male) competition in the room when they do wrestle-offs
  • This year our coaches entered Riley in the IHSWCA girls wrestling state wide competition.  Girls in wrestling is becoming more and more commonplace throughout Indiana. The IHSAA has never sponsored a separate wrestling category for girls.  That may change in the future, but as of right now, the wrestling coaches association has sponsored the girls state tournament.
  • Riley was entered in a regional competition for which she placed high enough to qualify for the state tournament
  • At the state tournament, Riley placed 6th in her weight class.   This was an historic moment for Jimtown.
  • Riley has started out in athletics as a Rugby player.  Rugby is not an IHSAA sport but if you know anything about Rugby you know how physical the game is and what good shape you need to be in.  Riley’s rugby team was state champions in 2018
  • Riley joined wrestling to try to stay in shape for Rugby.  She never wrestled until this year.
  • Riley plays in our marching band, jazz band, pep band and winter percussion.   She has been in band since 5th grade
  • Riley has been volunteering in her church for Vacation Bible School and morning church as well as “Feed my Starving Children” and the wrestling and rugby clubs.
  • She is a member of national honor society and will be inducted soon into the National Technical Honor Society
  • Riley attends the Elkhart Area career center in the area of audio and visual arts.  She wants to attend college for a degree in filmography
  • Riley currently carries a GPA of 4.08

Elizabeth Zerfas—Girls Swimming

  • Elizabeth is only a freshmen at Jimtown
  • This is highly unusual that we would bring a 9th grader to Kiwanis
  • Elizabeth is an historic athlete at Jimtown because of swimming
  • This is our first year of having a swim team in school history at Jimtown
  • No Pool—must drive every day to Northwood
  • Dozens of girls came down when we had a call-out meeting, but of course, only 6 girls had the temerity and work ethic to stick it out, wear our colors and represent Jimtown through the grind of the season
  • Elizabeth has shown very good potential as she has improved throughout the season.  
  • The capper was that Elizabeth Zerfas became the first athlete in Jimtown history to stand on the podium at an IHSAA Swimming sectional as a placer in the top 8 .   Elizabeth ended up 6th in the 50 freestyle at the very tough Concord sectional. Not high enough to advance to the state meet, but an awesome accomplishment to place in the first ever sectional swimming event in school history.   Elizabeth was the youngest student athlete on the podium that day.
  • Elizabeth is also very active in the Jimtown Marching Band.  
  • She is president of the freshmen class and will be part of our track team this spring.
  • She is actively involved in also in theater, choir and volunteers at the Elkhart County Humane Society for clean-up and pet adoption
  • She carries a GPA of 4.03 and is ranked among the top students in her grade.
  • I totally respect students like Elizabeth Zerfas.  She is not afraid to try new things and work hard at it…even if not everyone else is doing it.  She makes up her own mind and decides that if she is going to do something, she might as well give it her all and see what happens.  This is rare in many young people—especially a freshman in high school

On the boys side, we were represented by our twin-brother superstar wrestlers…..Connor and Matt Gimson.   These two young men have been hammering their way through the Indiana wrestling scene since 3rd grade when they began their wrestling journey with the Jimtown Wrestling Club.    Both young men ended their high school wrestling career’s recently on the big stage at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at the IHSAA state finals.  Both Connor and Matt have been considered 2 of the top wrestlers in their weight class all season.  Both have finished the season with only 2 losses, (both of Connor’s losses to the same kid—the eventual state champion).

Connor Gimson and Matt Gimson—Wrestling

  • both seniors at Jimtown
  • Both Matt and Connor just got back last weekend from the IHSAA wrestling state finals where Connor placed 3rd place in the 138 pound weight class and Matt placed 4th in the 132 pound weight class
  • It doesn’t work this way with the brackets, but really, Connor was the 2nd best wrestler in the entire state this year at 138.
  • Connor lost 2 matches all year—both to the young man that was eventually the state champion.  Matt only lost 2 matches the entire year also, and they were both in Indy at the state finals
  • Connor was also the 5th place finisher last year at the IHSAA state finals and Matt was 8th both are 3 time state qualifiers
  • Connor and Matt have  been wrestling at Jimtown since they have been knee high to a grasshopper They are both a product of our little kids wrestling club.
  • Connor and Matt both were the NIC,  sectional, regional and semi-state champion for the Jimmies this year.
  • Connor, his brother Matt and our state champ from last year, Hunter Watts were all semi-state champs.  This provided enough points in the semistate to crown the Jimmies as the Fort Wayne semi-state champion for the first time in school history.
  • Connor has also played football for the Jimmies until his senior year when he decided to not play football to focus on Wrestling.
  • Academically, Connor is solid student, ranked in the top 25% of his class and carries a 3.5 GPA  Matt also carries a GPA above 3.5 and is ranked in the top 25% of their class
  • Both young men will attend Indiana Tech University next fall to continue his academic and wrestling career.  Indiana Tech is located in Fort Wayne and is a powerhouse in the NAIA wrestling world.
  • Matt and Connor Gimson are both two of the nicest young men I have ever met.  In 4 years of high school I have never seen either not smiling and I have never heard either say a negative thing to another student or coach.  Both of these young men have worked their TAIL off to get where they are. They are both a model of what we want our student athletes to act like at Jimtown.  
  • Hard work—high expectations—-no excuses.