Hawkeyes add longtime fans, friends, neighbors to wrestling class

Andy Hamilton
Class 3-A (138)
Jacob Woodard
Class 3A 138lb Jacob Woodard (Bettendorf) defeats Karsten VanVelsor (Ottumwa)white singlet, in their championship match at the 2013 Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday Feb. 16, 2013.(Rodney White/The Des Moines Register)

Paul Glynn was 5 when he joined Bettendorf's youth wrestling club, taking up a sport that ultimately introduced him to his best friend and future neighbor.

Jacob Woodard first stepped on the mat the following year and later moved a couple doors down from Glynn.

Their first singlets were black and gold, and they've been wearing those colors ever since.

They won't have to go through a wardrobe change for college.

Both Bettendorf seniors committed to Iowa on Tuesday, each selecting the Hawkeyes over a Big Ten rival.

Woodard, a 2013 state champion, three-time state medalist and two-time Cadet freestyle All-American, picked Iowa over Minnesota.

"I wanted to be a Hawkeye since I first started wrestling," he said. "This is just like a dream coming true. It's kind of like the same feeling as when I won state."

Glynn, a state runner-up as a junior, selected Iowa over Wisconsin. He also considered West Virginia and Missouri.

"My dad (Paul) wrestled for Iowa in the '80s and he's always taught me to like Iowa, but I've been a huge (Tom and Terry) Brands fan and a Hawkeye fan," he said. "I used to go up to the meets when I was younger. It's always been a dream to wrestle in Carver-Hawkeye in front of that many fans."

The seniors are believed to be the fourth and fifth wrestlers to join Iowa's 2015 class. The Hawkeyes also snagged OA-BCIG of Ida Grove state champion Cash Wilcke, Mediapolis three-time state medalist Cole Erickson and three-time Pennsylvania state finalist Michael Kemerer.

Glynn and Woodard are part of a Bettendorf bumper crop. Five Bulldog seniors are expected to join Division-I programs.

"(Glynn and Woodard) are good workers and good kids off the mat," Bettendorf coach Dan Knight said. "They'd be a good addition to anybody's room. They love to wrestle, and (Iowa is) a great place for any kid that has those qualities."

Woodard placed seventh at the Class 3-A state meet as a freshman at 126 pounds, won the title at 138 as a sophomore and placed fifth last year at 152. He expects to wrestle at 149 or 157 in college, which could mean regular battles in the practice room with former prep teammates Logan and Connor Ryan. It might also mean some college clashes with his current training partner Fredy Stroker, a Minnesota recruit.

"He's my teammate, he's someone I wrestle with every day and he's part of the reason why I am where I am today," Woodard said. "We scrap and go at it every day in practice."

Bettendorf's Paul Glynn celebrates a win over Dowling Catholic's Michael Zachary during the semi-final round of competition for Class 3-A in the 120-pound weight class at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Litchfield/The Des Moines Register)

Glynn, likely a 133- or 141-pounder in college, popped onto the Division-I radar last year. He was stuck behind eventual state champion Jacob Schwarm as a freshman and wrestled at the junior varsity level. He went 31-14 and qualified for the state meet as a sophomore and compiled a 39-12 record last year on his way to the 120-pound state title bout.

"Every time he's had a setback, he came back and worked that much harder," Knight said. "He never gave up on himself, and he's gone everywhere to get better. He's the kind of kid who's going to succeed."