Ohio prep star has clever plan to wrestle for Hawkeyes

Andy Hamilton

Justin Stickley said Thursday night that he plans to join the Iowa wrestling program, but it’ll be a couple years before the two-time Ohio state finalist steps into a black and gold singlet.

Stickley said he plans to move this summer to Iowa City in order to establish in-state residency and cut college costs before enrolling at Iowa in the fall of 2017.

“It’s the best option for my future and probably the best road to make me as tough of a wrestler as I can be,” he said. “I don’t have a ton of money and I want to wrestle for a great wrestling program. This is my best option.”

Stickley said he will likely spend next year splitting his time between working and training with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. He said he also considered Cornell and North Dakota State before selecting the Hawkeyes. The three-time state medalist from Ohio power St. Paris Graham will likely be a 125-pounder in college.

When he gets to Iowa, he’ll reunite with one of his closest friends, prep teammate Alex Marinelli, a four-time Ohio state champ who signed with the Hawkeyes in November.

Stickley said he was drawn to Iowa by “the tradition of a great wrestling program that grinds.”

“The school I’m from, that’s how we wrestle, so it’s a continuation of that mentality where you go out there and push the pace,” he said. “I think it’s the best option for my style of wrestling.”