Don Bosco's Thomas Even will have a chance at the Class 1A 182-pound title on Saturday. Des Moines Register
Thomas Even steadily climbed the state wrestling podium each year during his high school career, and the end result came in the form of an opportunity for the Don Bosco senior to wrestle collegiately.
On Tuesday, Even, a 2020 Class 1A state champ, announced his commitment to Northern Colorado. He picked the Bears over Upper Iowa and Loras, and projects at 184 pounds. He is now the 17th in-state senior of the 2020 class to wrestle Division I.
"I like to set my goals high," Even said in his announcement on Instagram live. "I only wrestle for three months out of the year. So I think if I get into a college routine and only focus on wrestling and do it year-round, I think I can be pretty good."
In doing so, Even is also just the third Iowa native to join the Northern Colorado program in the last decade. Boone native Mason Hulse just finished his sophomore season while Johnston native Jacob Scanlan was there during the 2018-19 season.
Perhaps it could be a sign of things to come, as a pair of Northern Colorado coaches have Iowa ties. Top assistant Garett Kiley wrestled at Simpson and was previously the director of operations at Iowa State. Assistant coach Michael Moreno was a two-time All-American for the Cyclones and a 2010 state champ for Urbandale.
Even hopes to add not only some more Iowa flavor but some more wrestling accolades as well.
By the time he was a senior, Even had become one of the most exciting wrestlers in Iowa. He produced a 143-31 career record, including an 88-5 mark between his junior and seniors seasons with 68 pins. He ended up a three-time state medalist, placing fifth as a sophomore and second as a junior before winning last February.
Throughout his career, Even was part of some stellar Don Bosco teams. The Dons have won the last two 1A traditional team titles and have reached the finals of the state duals championships each of the last four years, winning titles in 2018 and 2019.
Even is also one of the most versatile athletes in the state. He was part of Don Bosco's perennial powerhouse eight-player football program, which has won state titles in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Last season, he rushed for 2,013 yards and a state-leading 39 touchdowns. Also hauled in four touchdown receptions and recorded 88 total tackles and 12.5 for loss.
It wasn't until this past February that Even thought a Division I wrestling future was possible. Throughout the recruiting process, he talked with both Upper Iowa and Loras about wrestling and playing football at the next level.
But Northern Colorado, led by Kiley, chimed in with a chance to add to the Bears' continual rise. Under head coach Troy Nickerson, Northern Colorado had five qualifiers for the 2020 NCAA Championships and three wrestlers earned NWCA All-American honors for the 2019-20 season.
"They've got a lot of good things going for them," Even said. "Coach Nickerson won a Division I national championship (for Cornell). He has a lot of experience and is starting to do some good things with that program.
"The ultimate goal is to be a Division I national champ."
Even is the eighth in-state senior to commit to an out-of-state Division I wrestling program. The others:
- Union's Jack Thomsen, Lisbon's Marshall Hauck and Martensdale-St. Mary's Cole Cassady are all headed to South Dakota State;
- Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Josh Vis and Centerville's Kayden Kauzlarich are both headed to Northern Illinois;
- Iowa City West's Will Hoeft is going to Harvard;
- and Waukee's Cody Anderson is headed to Wisconsin.
The other nine are staying in the state:
- Iowa is getting Mason City's Cullan and Colby Schriever and Southeast Polk's Gabe Christenson;
- Iowa State is getting Woodward-Granger's Cody Fisher and Ankeny Centennial's Ben Monroe;
- and Northern Iowa is getting Lisbon's Cael Happel, West Sioux's Adam Allard, Woodbury Central's Wade Mitchell and Nashua Plainfield's Jakob Whitinger.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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