In 2018, 34 Iowa high school wrestlers earned All-American honors at the Cadet and Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota.
Just last weekend, Jesse Ybarra was on the University of Iowa campus, one of many wrestling prospects taking an official visit. A few days later, the Arizona standout felt he had seen all he needed in order to make his college decision.
Ybarra, one of the best young lightweights in the country, announced his commitment to the Iowa wrestling program on Thursday morning. The junior from Sunnyside High School in Tucson projects at 133/141 pounds, and picked the Hawkeyes over Ohio State, Michigan and Arizona State.
"I took a campus visit this past weekend, and I saw the campus and the coaches and the team and the way they train," Ybarra told the Register on Thursday night. "I just felt like that's somewhere I wanted to be, where I could get better in wrestling. That's really my goal."
Ybarra is the second commitment in Iowa’s 2020 recruiting haul, joining Patrick Kennedy, who committed over the summer. He also becomes the latest in a run of commitments that have projected a bright future for the Hawkeye wrestling program, with names in the 2019 class like Abe Assad, Zach Glazier, as well as transfers Austin DeSanto and Jason Renteria.
MORE ON IOWA WRESTLING's 2019 AND 2020 RECRUITS
- Abe Assad, a Cadet world medalist, commits to Iowa wrestling
- For Zach Glazier, committing to wrestle for the Hawkeyes is a dream come true
- Patrick Kennedy commits to Iowa wrestling with an eye on the future
- Cullan and Colby Schriever announce commitments to Hawkeyes
Ybarra is considered the No. 42 overall prospect in the 2020 class, per Flowrestling, and is currently ranked No. 8 in the country at 120 pounds by Flowrestling and No. 12 nationally at the same weight by The Open Mat. He is a two-time Arizona state champ, winning titles at 106 and 113 pounds. He has an overall record of 69-3 heading into his junior season.
Even more, Ybarra excelled in freestyle, winning a Cadet freestyle national title this past summer, outscoring his seven opponents 60-8 en route to first place at 120 pounds. He beat Ankeny’s Caleb Rathjen in the finals, 4-2. He also won the Cadet Pan-American Trials last April, going 4-0 at 55 kilograms (121 pounds). He plans on wrestling 126 this coming season at Sunnyside.
Ybarra, who hails from the same high school as Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young, is believed to be the first Arizona prep wrestler to commit to the Hawkeyes. A visit included talks with NCAA Champion Spencer Lee, among others, who convinced him Iowa City was the place to be moving forward.
"The atmosphere, the people there, and them being so big into wrestling — that really made me want to be in that spotlight and want to wrestle for the university," Ybarra said. "I can't wait to get there."
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.