CEDAR FALLS — Doug Schwab was in a reflective mood Monday.
Speaking at the University of Northern Iowa’s weekly coaches’ luncheon, Schwab didn’t dwell on what took place on the mats in St. Louis at the NCAA Championships last week, although his team performed well and crowned All-Americans in Max Thomsen (fifth place) and Drew Foster (seventh).
Rather, Schwab took a few minutes to talk about why his wrestlers were successful and what it means to him and his program. He borrowed a statement made at an event after the meet by Panther 133-pounder Josh Alber, who was one of the wrestlers who didn’t quite get what he wanted at nationals.
“One thing he said, ‘I’m grateful for the heartache,’” Schwab related. “I’ve really been thinking about that a lot, that a guy would be grateful for that because that’s really what makes you grow. When you have guys who have that kind of perspective, it’s a great thing.
“Listening to our guys talk, I’ll tell you ... I’m proud of how our guys compete, but I’m extremely proud of how they’re holding themselves. I think what’s really getting through is, yes the sport’s important, but what’s more important is how we move forward. What’s more important is how we know how this sport’s going to make us grow even if we don’t get what we want. There’s not a lot of guys who get what they want. That’s the nature of it.”
Looking back, Schwab is both excited about his team’s future and thankful to be part of it.
“More than anything, I guess I’m grateful to have this opportunity and to be able to coach these guys and be around guys who really have bought into and believe in what we’re doing. It’s something special, it really is. I truly believe that.
“Hopefully, we’re making an impact on them way beyond these five years.”
SOFTBALL: UNI’s first Missouri Valley Conference season of the series was largely a success as the Panthers (14-11, 2-1) took two of three at Missouri State.
“It’s a Monday and we’re talking about a road series win in the Valley, so that’s a good thing,” said head coach Ryan Jacobs.
“The positive for us is there were a lot of things we learned from the weekend. The first thing is, we’ve got to take what we’re doing in practice to the field. Offensively, we struggled” this weekend. We’ve got to do a better job of getting our best swings off.
“The positive was, we were still able to find a way to get two wins.”
UNI is on the road again this weekend when it travels to Indiana State.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: A spring break trip to Florida resulted in a win and two defeats for the Panthers, now 7-4 overall. UNI lost to Navy 5-2, defeated Fairfield 5-2 and fell to Fordham 7-0.
Among the highlights, Gisela Kemper and Sydney Wolfe won all three of their doubles matches and Kemper won twice in singles.
“The good news is, we kind of figured out what we need to work on,” said coach Chris Sagers, whose team opens Missouri Valley Conference play April 1 against Drake. “We’ve got a lot to work on this week and next week.”