Eustice: Laker grapplers poised for greatness
Iowa is the heart of the heart of the wrestling tradition. In its first year, Iowa Lakes Community College wrestlers turned a lot of heads with their performance. And now, with a former two-time captain for the Iowa Hawkeyes as head coach, it seems as though the sky’s the limit for the Lakers as they step onto the mat this fall.
Ty Eustice, head wrestling coach at Iowa Lakes Community College, talked to Estherville Rotarians Thursday about wrestling in Iowa and at Iowa Lakes and how he hopes to build his own wrestling tradition for the Lakers. He was introduced by Thursday’s Rotary program chair Darin Moeller, dean of the Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville campus.
Eustice won four Minnesota state championships when he wrestled at Blue Earth High School. He was also a Cadet and Junior National Freestyle All-American.
Eustice went on to place fifth and second in 2005 and 2006 respectively in the NCAA Division I National Championships. He later served two years at Minnesota State University in Mankato as a graduate assistant where the Mavericks won the Division II National Duals and took second in the Division I national championships in 2008. He was head assistant coach at Cornell College last year.
At Iowa Lakes, Eustice wears two hats – head wrestling coach and housing manager, the latter a job which he characterizes as being a psychologist, mediator and judge.
“It’s been an interesting few weeks,” Eustice said primarily of his housing manager duties.
Wednesday he finally got the chance to to work with his wrestlers in the weight room then it was into the wrestling room Thursday.
“It’s been great getting them back on campus,” Eustice said, noting that he told his wrestlers that wrestling “needs to take second fiddle” to academics.
And he definitely hopes to build on the fine tradition the Lakers built their first year.
“We had several All Americans last year which for a first-year program is unbelievable,” Eustice said.
The coach said he’s trying to raise the team’s goals and to instill confidence in them. “If they don’t believe it, it’s not going to happen,” Eustice said.
The Lakers are going up against a high bar when they wrestle Iowa in a Nov. 20 dual.
“I look at it as a great, great opportunity for these guys,” Eustice said. “Without the results last year we would not have been able to do that.”
Maybe it was a great season. Maybe it’s the fact that Iowa has a great wrestling tradition. Whatever the reason, Eustice said wrestlers from around the country are eager to come to Iowa Lakes to wrestle.
“For us to be able to pull kids in from all over the country is a good thing,” he said. He also noted a great deal of homegrown talent right here in Iowa.
“There is no state like Iowa for wrestling. People really love the state of Iowa when it comes to wrestling,” Eustice said.
And how does Iowa Lakes compare with the rest?
“We have some Division I, II caliber kids on our team right now,” said Eustice.