The match that led to a Minnesota kid becoming an Iowa wrestling fan is nearly a decade old now, but Zach Glazier smiles at the memory.
In 2009, the second of what was then three straight NCAA title-winning seasons for Iowa, a young Brent Metcalf was college wrestling’s best. That year, the former Hawkeye met Penn State’s Bubba Jenkins in the Big Ten Conference finals at 149 pounds, a matchup between the two top-ranked wrestlers in the country.
Metcalf pinned Jenkins that day, quieting the home crowd. Nearly 1,000 miles away in southern Minnesota, Glazier was enthralled.
“Ever since I was little, I had some family friends that were Iowa fans,” Glazier says now. “I started watching Brent Metcalf, and I remember him beating guys up, and that was super fun to watch. So I followed him and followed Iowa and just became a fan.”
That fan will soon become a member of the program. Glazier, a rising-senior at Albert Lea Area high school, announced his commitment to Iowa last week. He is the Hawkeyes’ first 2019 recruit, a talented heavier weight who projects at 184/197 pounds.
Glazier is the program’s second recent commitment from a Minnesota prep. Patrick Kennedy, one of the nation’s most-talented 2020 prospects, also announced his plans to wrestle at Iowa last month. Those two came after the Hawkeyes added Aaron Cashman to the 2017 haul, and both Austin DeSanto and Jason Renteria joined the program through the transfer market.
“It’s super exciting. That’s part of wanting to be there, too,” Glazier said. “They’re building and wanting to win national titles. They aren’t content with just sitting behind Penn State and Ohio State. They’re building and it’s exciting to watch and I want to be part of it.”
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In Glazier, the Hawkeyes are adding another one of the nation’s best. Flowrestling ranks him fourth nationally at 170 pounds and as the No. 32 overall 2019 wrestler. He was a 2017 Cadet freestyle All-American, placing fifth at 160 pounds.
More recently, Glazier placed fifth at 80 kilograms (176 pounds) the UWW Cadet World Team Trials last month. He is also a three-time state medalist for Albert Lea Area, where he is 127-14 overall and won a 2018 state title at 170 pounds.
It was after his individual state championship triumph in March that Iowa first reached out. Glazier’s recruitment slowly began ahead of his junior season, but it picked up steam after he steamrolled his opponents by a combined 46-9 to win in Minnesota’s AAA division.
“I was fortunate enough to have a few different options,” said Glazier, noting Minnesota, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State and Purdue as other schools he considered. “I’d say probably Minnesota was next in the running. I liked it a lot.
“But it was just a little different at Iowa.”
Glazier was always more excited about Iowa than he was other schools. He said he often drove to Minneapolis to watch the Gophers and Hawkeyes wrestle at Williams Arena. He’d wear an Iowa hat and a Minnesota shirt.
“Because it’s my home state, you have to cheer for the Gophers, right?” Glazier said and laughed. “But I also loved the Hawkeyes. I had a bunch of Iowa stuff. I was looking at pictures the other day of when I was a little kid, wearing Iowa stuff.”
A couple of visits this spring sealed his decision, and he typed out a tweet on June 27 to announce his decision to the world. With it, Glazier posted a picture of assistant coach Ryan Morningstar and head coach Tom Brands standing inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
And now, an admission: Glazier has never actually been to Iowa City for a wrestling dual. He trekked down for the Olympic Trials, but he always watched them from afar or when the Hawkeyes visited the Twin Cities. He’s heard the Carver crowds can get a little rowdy.
And he can’t wait to experience them himself.
“The energy in the room is completely different than anywhere else I had been,” Glazier said. “It’s electric. The feel you get when you go to Carver and go to the room — it makes you want to attack practice and get better.
“I love Brands and Morningstar and all of those guys. It was a different feel being in Iowa City than anywhere else. I just kind of knew.”
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.