Three-time Montana state champ Leif Schroeder commits to Iowa wrestling program

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

The Iowa wrestling program added another talented wrestler to its 2020 class on Friday morning.

Leif Schroeder, a state champion out of Bozeman, Montana, announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes via Twitter. He ultimately picked Iowa over Missouri, and projects at 149/157 pounds.

“I felt at home there, and really connected with the other recruits and the guys on the team,” Schroeder told the Des Moines Register. “I just think it’s a place where I can be successful, on and off the mat, and as a man. I think it’s the place to be.”

Schroeder — his first name is pronounced Layf — has actually won three Montana state titles. He claimed first at 113 pounds as a freshman, at 126 as a sophomore and at 132 last season. He carries an overall record of 82-1 into his senior season.

Nationally, Schroeder has a limited resume. He was a Greco-Roman All-American at the 2016 Cadet national championships, reaching the semifinals and placing sixth at 106 pounds. But he has not shied away from the competition, as he’s competed at the NHSCA sophomore nationals in 2018, as well as the 2019 Junior men’s freestyle national championships this past summer.

By picking the Hawkeyes, Schroeder joins Iowa’s already-loaded 2020 recruiting class. He is the third out-of-state commitment, joining Minnesota standout Patrick Kennedy and Arizona prep Jesse Ybarra. Those three are joined by a trio of in-state kids, in Southeast Polk’s Gabe Christenson and the Mason City twins Cullan and Colby Schriever.


But Schroeder’s decision was also something of a small dream come true.

His first exposure to the Hawkeyes came on a trip to USA Wrestling’s folkstyle national championships when he was very young. The family drove in and took a detour to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where Schroeder got a workout in before competing a few days later.

Since then, Schroeder immersed himself in Iowa wrestling. He watched the Hawkeyes online, and when he couldn’t, he found ways to follow their results. He grew to love Thomas Gilman’s tenacity, and pictured himself donning the all-black singlet someday.

The Hawkeyes reached out about a month ago, Schroeder said, and he took a visit just last weekend. He is Iowa’s second commitment in the last week, as Missouri prep Wyatt Henson, a 2021 recruit, announced his intentions to join the Hawkeyes last Sunday.

Like Henson, Schroeder liked what he saw, and on Friday morning, he pulled the trigger on a dream.

“I remember being a little kid and telling my parents, ‘I’m going to wrestle for the Hawkeyes,’” Schroeder said. “I haven’t had the best national success in my high school career, so I thought it might be slipping away and that I might be running out of time.

“But everything happens for a reason, and I’m just blessed.”

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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