He had already earned more than 900 wrestling victories in his youth career, including six AAU titles, a mark matched only by former Titan standout Trent Paulson and Lisbon's Ryan Morningstar, both of which went on to impressive careers.
Waters excelled not only in wrestling, but also in football and baseball and today becomes The Daily Nonpareil's Council Bluffs Male Prep Athlete of the Year for 2007.
The loss came at the end of his freshman year at the state tournament, where he fell to Thomas Jefferson's Hunter Carruthers in the 145-pound state title match. It was the fourth meeting between the two and Waters had taken the match a week earlier in the district final.
"I think that loss, my freshman year kind of helped define me as a person, and showed my character and commitment to come back the next year," Waters said. "It was real frustrating to look back at the match, but it made me come back a lot stronger and more committed and made me hit the weight room and work a whole bunch harder. If I would have won that match, I don't know if I would have worked as hard in the off season."
Waters went on to win the second most matches in Iowa prep history, he finished with more than 100 pins, and added three state titles. The most impressive of those numbers may have come in his final match of his prep career, when he went out on the mat and completed a 50-0 season in the 189-pound championship match at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Waters was more than a little under the weather, battling bronchitis, strep throat and a banged up big toe that needed constant bags of ice. His ailments led to a Friday night emergency room visit during the tournament.
Of course, nothing made the pain go away like raising his arms as the state champion for a third-straight year.
"It broke my heart to lose (as a freshman)," Waters said. "I didn't want to have that feeling again."
One would assume wrestling would be in the cards for Waters, who said he took a good look at his options.
"Wrestling wise, I could have gone anywhere," he said with a chuckle, "from North Carolina, Iowa, Iowa State ... it was really coast-to-coast.
"I kind of made the decision that if I was going to wrestle, I was going to do so at Iowa State. I had that part of the decision made after Cael Sanderson made a home visit."
Waters, who also had offers in football, including Iowa State, said it was baseball however, that really spoke to him.
"I had baseball coaches telling me I had potential to go this far, and that I can eventually be a professional baseball player," he said. "It's something I've always dreamed of."
Then there's the after college choices in the sport.
"That's the other thing, after college what is there (in wrestling)?" he said. "They're trying to develop some things, but even with that, no one makes a living off doing that. You've got the Olympics, but you're really limited to what you want to do afterward in the sport. In baseball 1,200 guys get drafted every year and there is a better opportunity to make money at something you love."
That opportunity led to the University of Kansas, where he'll play baseball this spring.
In high school, Waters was a varsity standout for about two-and-a-half seasons. He starred his freshman year, but wasn't able to play until late in his sophomore season because of a torn labrum in his arm. Still he returned to be the team's designated hitter down the stretch, and helped the team advance to the Class 4A state baseball semifinals.
"I kind of came back a little early from the surgery," Waters said. "I started doing a little more stuff in rehab and the physical therapist said I could start swinging a bit, but I don't think he thought I would start playing.
"But I wanted to come back, I felt I could help the team."
Waters said the state tournament was a once in a lifetime experience.
"It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the ballpark," he said.
Still the injury kept him from pitching, and it's likely if he were healthy Waters would have got the start in the second game at state.
"A lot of us, when we get together, we think we could have won the tournament if I would have been healthy," he said. "Obviously Justin (Toole) was just awesome. Luke (Stamp) was more of a closer type guy, so we felt with Justin, Me and (Tyler) Drvol with Luke pitching in relief we could have won that."
He returned to finish to earn a second team spot on the Iowa Newspaper Association All-State team his junior year. When it came to his senior year, Waters decided to forgo his last season at L.C. and try his hand against some tougher competition.
"When I came to a vist to KU some of the other players said they were playing summer ball and when I met with coach Ritch Price he mentioned something about getting placed on a team this summer," Waters said. "At that time I don't think he realized that Iowa was a summer high school sport. I really went back-and-forth on the deal, but ended up deciding I would like to go somewhere and play 65 games and get 200 at bats."
Waters ended up with the Arizona Clash. He played on the 18-and-under squad, where he hit around .400, and the college team, where he hit roughly .375.
"I was playing doubleheaders every day," he said.
The season saw him travel throughout the country, and he ended being chosen for an All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas, where he went 3-for-3 with a single, a double, a triple and added a sacrifice fly for good measure.
Then there was football. Waters was a three-time all-city selection, twice as running back, and his senior season as quarterback, where he was named the Nonpareil's Player of the Year after leading the Titans to a 7-2 mark. He was also named an INA first team selection as a linebacker.
Waters totaled more than 2,000 yards of total offense by himself, rushing for more than 1,000 on 210 carries (5.2 per carry) and added more than 900 yards through the air, completing 61 of his 139 attempts.
He also totaled 29 touchdowns on the season and was the team leader in total points by more than 100.
"We had a pretty successful year," he said. "I just really feel, looking back on the season, we were capable of more. A few things just didn't go out way, and some things were out of our control."
Waters said returning to quarterback was a gratifying feeling.
"I wanted to play quarterback ever since I got to high school," he said.
When he got his first assignment, he said, it was as a fullback, but he had other ideas.
"The funny thing is that when they sent me in (the first time) it was as a fullback and I told (the other running back) to say at fullback and I went to tailback," he admitted. "I just tried to make the most of it and I earned that spot."
The next year he was slated to be the quarterback, but his injury limited his ability to throw.
"I was kind of forced to play a different position than quarterback," he said. "That was frustrating for me, because I really wanted to play quarterback, have a good junior year and have colleges interested in me as the quarterback position. But I said let's do this for the team and try to make the best of it."
Waters, who said he wanted to thank his parents for "all the resources they have given me to be successful," said now that he's focused on only baseball and KU, he realizes how much he enjoyed the other sports as well.
"I didn't think I was going to miss a lot of stuff," said Waters, who also shared thanks to his personal trainer, Corey Cain. "But right now I miss playing football. I miss the Friday night lights and running out of the tunnel. I'm sure once wrestling season starts I'm going to be missing that as well.
"The again, I'm happy where I can work on one sport."
C.B. Male Athletes of the Year
2007 - Jimmy Waters, Lewis Central
2006 - Luke Stamp, Lewis Central
2005 - Derek Townsend, Thomas Jefferson
2004 - Brock Gentile, St. Albert
2003 - Scott Kemp, Lewis Central
2002 - Rickie Kellar, Abraham Lincoln
2001 - Jon Clanton, Lewis Central
2000 - Jonathan Taylor, Thomas Jefferson
1999 - Tony Leick, St. Albert
1998 - Adam Nelson, Abraham Lincoln
1997 - Doug Kinsel, Lewis Central
1996 - David Kjeldgaard, Lewis Central
1995 - Chad Deal, Lewis Central
1994 - Brad Krohn, St. Albert
1993 - Chauncey Jones, Thomas Jefferson
1992 - Kelly O'Connor, St. Albert
1991 - Eric Emsick, Lewis Central
1990 - Matt Madsen, Thomas Jefferson
1989 - Brian Ratigan, St. Albert
1988 - Chris Hanafan, St. Albert