CEDAR FALLS — The Northern Iowa wrestling team picked up a big transfer Tuesday as former Bettendorf three-time state champion Jack Wagner has confirmed he will join the Panthers for the 2017-18 season.
Wagner received a full release from Iowa where he was 17-7 last year as red-shirt wrestling at 133 pounds.
“I’m thankful for my time at Iowa, but it came to not being the right fit or me not being the right fit for them,” Wagner said. “It was time to explore new options.”
Early in his recruitment in high school, UNI was on Wagner’s radar before he choose Iowa over Minnesota and Nebraska.
This time around, UNI became a bigger attraction, especially with childhood friend Jay Schwarm on the roster, and good friends Max Thomsen and Carter Isley, two guys he has gotten to know well on Iowa’s National USA wrestling team.
“Jay and I have wrestled together since the six grade,” Wagner said. “It is going to be a good fit. It is going to be a good culture to wrestle in.”
Wagner joins the mix at 133. Rumors have two-time NCAA qualifier Josh Alber moving to 141 leaving a starting spot open. The Panthers have Schwarm at 125, who filled in nicely in a part-time role for an injured Dylan Peters, and there is red-shirt Rudy Yates, who is listed at 125, but wrestled open tournaments at 133.
In addition to Wagner, UNI has also received commitments from Don Bosco’s Gable Fox (133), New Hampton’s Michael Millage (149) and Atlantic heavyweight John McConkey for the 2018-19 season.