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Cornell's Max Dean holds on to the leg of UNI's Drew Foster during a wrestling match last season in Cedar Falls.

CEDAR FALLS – Drew Foster’s time at the University of Northern Iowa will wind down with student teaching, an attempt to make the U.S. wrestling team and a trip to the White House to meet President Trump on Friday.

Foster is the reigning 184-pound NCAA Division I wrestling champion and is set to graduate from UNI in December. He, along with the other nine national wrestling champions, were invited to the nation’s capital to meet the president.

It will be Foster’s first visit to Washington, D.C.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to see the White House in this capacity,” Foster said. “It would be cool to get a tour and just be able to get to see Washington, D.C. Who knows when that opportunity will come forward again? There’s just so much history. I think I’ll take a lot of pictures, especially for my family, too, so I can share it with everyone back home.”

Foster will finish student teaching sixth-grade math at Hoover Middle School in Waterloo on Dec. 19. Then he will jump on a plane to wrestle Dec. 21 in Texas at the U.S. Open in hopes of cracking the U.S. team’s lineup.

“We’re incredibly proud of him and how he’s represented the program since it happened,” said UNI wrestling coach Doug Schwab. “I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who have had a conversation with him and are so impressed with him. They are impressed with the humility he has and how he shines a light on the program and the type of kids we have. It’s always about someone else and how much he can give back to those who helped him get to this point.

“He hasn’t changed at all,” Schwab continued. “That’s the great thing that he hasn’t changed. He’s still the same guy. Winning a national title is a great accomplishment. It gives you more opportunities, but it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. And he knows that.”

Foster plans to teach in the local area and continue training in hopes of earning a spot on the national wrestling team.

“The main focus will be wrestling, but I am not the type of person who likes to sit around, so I’m going to look for some substitute teaching positions,” Foster said. “I am building a lot of connections now to where I can be able to get into some schools and work multiple days and help out.”

Foster is the first Panther to earn an NCAA Division I wrestling title since 2000. UNI’s last champion was Tony Davis, who won in 2000 at 149 pounds. Until the 2019 national championships, UNI hadn’t fielded a finalist since 2005.

“Having a new name on the national champions board makes our guys think, ‘Drew did that. I’m going to do it too,’” Schwab said. “He broke down a wall for our program, and our guys have to keep breaking that down.

“He deserves every acknowledgement and opportunity he can get to be praised for winning a national title. There are only 10 Division I guys who got to win one last year. Only one guy in his weight class who got a title in Division I. He’s earned that right, and I’m happy for him that he is getting this opportunity. I hope he enjoys it.”

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