Lisbon state wrestling champion Brandon Paez commits to Northern Iowa

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register
Lisbon's Brandon Paez, a two-time state wrestling champ, announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on Thursday.

The Northern Iowa wrestling team scooped up another small-town, in-state recruit on Thursday, adding Lisbon's Brandon Paez to its 2023 recruiting class.

Paez, a two-time state champion, announced his commitment to the Panthers. He projects at 125/133 pounds and becomes Northern Iowa's third-known 2023 commitment, joining Nashua-Plainfield's Garret Rinken and West Burlington-Notre Dame's CJ Walrath.

"I am thrilled to announce that I will be furthering my academic and athletic career at the University of Northern Iowa," Paez wrote in an Instagram post, announcing his decision. "The amount of support I have gotten from my community, coaches, friends, families, and all my teammates through the years has been surreal.

"Thank you everyone. Go panthers!"

Paez has been a consistent menace in Iowa's Class 1A over the last three years. He has competed his entire high school career at 120 pounds, compiling a 133-9 overall record. He has reached the state finals three times and won titles in 2020 and 2022. He actually beat Rinken, 7-3, in last February's state championship match.

Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab has regularly mined Iowa high school wrestling's smaller classes for recruits. Of the 22 Iowa natives currently on the Panthers' roster, 12 wrestled in either Class 1A or 2A — including starting 141-pounder Cael Happel, who was a four-time state champion for Lisbon from 2017-20.

Paez is now the 13th 2023 in-state senior to commit to a Division I wrestling program, and the 11th to commit to an in-state school.

Iowa high school wrestling, 2023 college commitments

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