IOWA CITY ? University of Iowa senior wrestler Ryan Morningstar is far from being one-dimensional.
Sure, wrestling never really leaves his mind. It?s always tucked in the back of his mind whether he?s in class, socializing or enjoying outdoor activities, but it?s not the only way to define him.
Morningstar?s latest accolade supports that premise. He was named the recipient of the Marshall Stewart Scholarship awarded to an athlete based on citizenship, leadership and academics.
?It?s a pretty honorable thing,? said Morningstar. ?I was pretty happy.?
Ryan Morningstar, 165-lb All-American
Morningstar, who received the award at a Johnson County I-Club event Oct. 9, is just the fourth wrestler to receive the sustaining tuition scholarship, joining Joe Williams, Lee Weber and Jody Strittmatter. Stewart was a longtime Iowa City resident and Hawkeye supporter, whose family created the memorial scholarship in his name after his death.
?The Stewart family represents everything good about being a Hawkeye,? Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. ?It does mean you are representing yourself and the program the right way.?
Brands holds the honor in high regard.
?It?s very worthy to me,? Brands said of the memorial scholarship and later adding ?It?s a big deal because you?ve been singled out.?
Morningstar?s mat resume is well-known. He became an All-American last season, placing third at the NCAA Division I national tournament at 165 pounds and was a Big Ten runner-up. Morningstar, a three-time state champion at Lisbon High School, owns an 80-32 career record for the Hawkeyes.
In the classroom, he holds a grade-point average a little less than 3.0, admitting he?s been higher the last couple years. He?s four credits shy of completing a degree in Health and Sports studies, which will be achieved in December.
He?s matured to where he can handle balancing the requirements of being a student-athlete.
?It?s hard but then again it?s not if you?re taking care of business,? Morningstar said. ?It?s taking care of every little detail that you may have to overcome every day. Everything that you do in your day is correlated.?
He?s not all work either. Morningstar, who has raised champion hogs, enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting and farming.
?I?d like to think of myself as a well-rounded person,? Morningstar said. ?I shoot for that. I shoot for being a personable person.?
As tough as he is on the mat, Morningstar remains amicable off it.
?He?s a popular kid and people like him because he?s friendly,? his father Scott Morningstar said. ?He pretty much talks to anybody. He?s been like that since he was a little kid.?
All of his different endeavors may help him during the grind of training as an elite wrestler.
?Maybe that?s why he?s successful. He has other outlets where he can step back from the (sport) of wrestling and enjoy some other things and truly relax,? Scott Morningstar said. ?He?s got a lot of hobbies and likes to do a lot of things. ? It?s a chance for him to get away, but then it?s not that far to go right back to it.?
Morningstar has a tough task ahead this season. The 165-pound weight class is expected to be one of the toughest in a long time. For every tough foe he has to face, they have to face him.
?I feel really good about it,? Morningstar said. ?I know I can beat every single one of those guys and I have full confidence I?m going to do it too. It?s a tough weight class but it?s a tough weight class because I?m in there too.
?A lot of people put it in perspective by you have to beat this guy, you have to beat this guy. The way I see it is they have to beat me.?