Wagner chooses Hawks over Cyclones
By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Vinnie Wagner said Iowa and Iowa State's wrestling programs started showing interest in him about the same time this winter.
When it came time for the Osage senior 189-pounder to make his choice between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones and between wrestling for Olympic gold medalist Tom Brands or Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson, Wagner said he followed family bloodlines and a gut feeling.
Wagner -- a first-cousin of former Iowa wrestler Trent Goodale -- said he will join the Hawkeyes today when the spring signing period begins.
"I think I go with Brands' style quite well, just hard-nosed wrestling, outworking your opponent for seven minutes and always going forward and always working your opponent," Wagner said. "I might not be the best technician in the world, but I hope to progress in that area, too."
Wagner compiled a 176-17 career record at Osage that included a 48-0 mark this season when he captured his first state title after placing third as a freshman and sophomore and second as a junior.
"All summer, I lifted really hard, I wrestled a lot and really focused on my goals and didn't let anything stand in my way," he said.
The Hawkeyes also are expected to sign New Hampton heavyweight Blake Rasing, who verbally committed to Iowa in March. Brands signed Bettendorf heavyweight Jordan Johnson and North Scott 189-pounder Brodie Ambrose in the fall -- fortifying the depth in a room that lacked numbers in the upper-weights this past year.
"After I came down on a visit, I just loved everything about the school, the wrestling program and all the people down there and everything," Wagner said.
Wagner said his future goals are to follow the blueprint of the Iowa coaches and see how far that can take him. He said he knows he has some catching up to do, though, after going 2-2 last month at the NHSCA Senior Nationals.
"It was a pretty fun experience, but it definitely taught me I still have a lot of work to do before next year and over the next few years of my life," Wagner said. "There's a lot of good kids out there that if I want to compete with and beat, I have to put in a lot of time and effort."