HAWARDEN — West Sioux’s Adam Allard wanted to get one major thing out of the way so he can fully focus on winning his fourth individual state wrestling title and help the Falcons to a team trophy this season.
Allard needed to make a decision on his college wrestling future.
Allard made his visits and narrowed his choice to three schools — Iowa State, Northern Iowa and North Dakota State. The decision was weighing on Allard as friends and family tried to help him pick the right school.
However, Allard realized he had to block some of those opinions out and go with what he felt was the best fit for him as a wrestler, not what others thought.
“I didn’t really know what college I was leaning toward. Having parents and people around me with those opinions, I was feeling pressured to go to a certain school,” Allard said. “It’s not up to them and it is my future. I had to think really hard about where I fit in best.”
After putting a lot of thought into his decision, one school and one coach kept sticking out — UNI and head coach Doug Schwab. Everything about UNI and Schwab felt right to Allard.
On Tuesday, Allard verbally committed to UNI.
“The decision was really difficult. At the end of the day, it’s about what fits me best and where I could accomplish my goals as a wrestler and it came down to UNI,” Allard said. “They have great wrestling partners and I can socialize with the team and the coaching staff, they can make me better and into the college wrestler I need to be.
“There’s nothing bad about those other schools, UNI is just where I fit best and that’s where I see myself.”
Allard is the first wrestler from West Sioux who will wrestle for an NCAA Division I program.
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“Adam has had a dream of being a Division I wrestler since he was young. Many kids abandon this because of the work it takes to get there,” West Sioux wrestling coach Mark Van Oort said. “Adam has embraced the challenge. He has pursued this relentlessly and we are very proud of him for his continued commitment.
“Adam has been a great Falcon, one that rewrote the West Sioux wrestling record books. We are very excited for Adam and his future opportunities with UNI.”
Schwab brought Allard in for a visit last February when UNI hosted Iowa State at the West Gym. Schwab has since been in constant contact with Allard, who has wrestled in the War in the West Gym a couple of times hosted by iawrestle.com.
Not only does Allard feel Schwab and the UNI coaching staff can shape him into an All-American and potentially a national champion, he also enjoys Schwab’s personality, which he feels is a good mix of having fun and being serious when necessary.
“He’s funny and a good guy and he likes to have fun. Going into the visit, I didn’t know much about him but I could tell his personality by the end of the visit,” Allard said. “That’s good because every once in a while you need to have some fun but there are times when you get in the wrestling room and need to get serious and get the work in.”
Van Oort thinks Schwab will bring the best out of Allard.
“Coach Schwab and his staff will certainly help Adam accomplish his goals at the next level,” Van Oort said. “Until then, we will focus on this upcoming season and the goals that he currently has in front of him. Getting this decision out of the way is a significant amount of stress off his shoulders.”
Figuring out which college to wrestle at was a stressful process for Allard but now that he has made his decision, he can focus on becoming a four-time state champion.
“I wanted (to make this decision) for sure (before the season started). I didn’t want that pressure and I didn’t want to worry about it with coaches calling (during the season),” Allard said. “Now I am aiming for the fourth state title and hopefully get the team to the state tournament again and hopefully get a better placement.”