Spalding wrestler Logan Breitenbach bound for Iowa State

January 20
(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

In the moment that Spalding senior Logan Breitenbach made his college decision, he knew  he had one more thing to do.

Breitenbach, the Post’s top-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds, was sitting in his room a few months ago weighing the merits of two of the top wrestling programs in the country: Iowa and Iowa State. Breitenbach grew up a Hawkeye fan, but in that moment, he knew for sure that he wanted to be a Cyclone. So he walked around his room and collected all of his Iowa gear in a trash bag, later distributing it to kids at his wrestling club.

“It’s really funny how things work,” Breitenbach said. “I wouldn’t have thought a year ago that I’d be committing to Iowa State, but that’s just how life works sometimes.”

Breitenbach’s decision ultimately came down to a pair of national wrestling powerhouses. Together, the two programs have combined to win 28 of the past 44 national wrestling championships and been home to several collegiate legends, from Dan Gable to Cael Sanderson. Iowa is currently third in the NCAA’s rankings while Iowa State is 17th.

Breitenbach took unofficial visits to both schools before his junior year, when he was in Iowa for the USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals tournament. He said that his decision ultimately came down to coaching and a feeling that Iowa State is “the perfect fit.”

“The coaching staff, I mean, it’s the best in the country, really, when you sit down and look at it,” he said. “[Assistant coach] Travis Paulson has been on world teams, training on the Olympic circuit. Kevin Jackson, the head coach, is an Olympic champion. Troy Nickerson, another assistant coach, is an NCAA champion. And then when you put their credentials aside and just look at the ability they have to train athletes and get the best out of them, it’s the best situation.”

Breitenbach broke Spalding’s all-time wins record over the weekend at the Cavalier Duals, where he finished 7-0 with four pins, including two in 13 seconds or fewer. His only loss of the season came against T.C. Warner — an Old Dominion commit currently ranked third in the country by InterMat — at the Beast of the East Tournament in December, where Breitenbach finished third.

“I just want to keep on going out and dominating every match,” he said. “I want to stay healthy throughout the season, and I just want to keep improving. I love this sport, so I just want to keep finding ways to improve every day. If I keep doing that, then the accomplishments will come.”

After what has already been a storied high school career, Breitenbach hopes that some of those accomplishments will follow at Iowa State — the future destination that he never saw coming.

“You’ve got to keep your options open and be open to new things,” Breitenbach said. “The University of Iowa’s a great school too, and I really enjoyed my visit there. But I’m not a Hawkeye. I’m a Cyclone.”

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