Home Youth jersey UNI Wrestling to host all 2022-23 doubleheaders at McLeod Center

UNI Wrestling to host all 2022-23 doubleheaders at McLeod Center

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — UNI Athletics announced on Friday that UNI Wrestling will hold all of its doubleheaders at the McLeod Center beginning in the 2022-23 season.

Competing at the McLeod Center further aligns UNI wrestling with its peers in the Big 12, which is consistently recognized as one of the premier wrestling conferences in the country. As evidenced by attendance at the McLeod for wrestling events over the past few seasons, UNI’s growing fanbase has developed an appetite for the amenities, ample parking, family washrooms and upgraded concession options that the McLeod Center offers.

As UNI seeks to increase the popularity of wrestling in Iowa and increase youth participation in the sport, it is imperative that the Panthers showcase their wrestling program at a premier competition venue. Additionally, the ability to compete full time in front of cheering crowds at the McLeod Center will no doubt help UNI continue to attract high caliber wrestling prospects to Cedar Falls.

“In order to provide the best possible facilities for our fans and supporters and to give our wrestling student-athletes a modern facility for competition, we will be competing at the McLeod Center in the future,” said the athletic director of ‘UNITED. David Harris. “The West Gym has been a very special place for the entire wrestling community. Our wrestling program in particular has an undeniable emotional connection to this historic facility where UNI hosted and won an NCAA championship.”

“However, the repairs required to maintain it as a competition facility are prohibitively expensive,” Harris continued. “We have demonstrated that an exciting environment for wrestling can be created at the McLeod Center as evidenced by some of our matches over the past few years. Our department looks forward to continuing the home mat advantage we have enjoyed for our wrestling program as we transition to the McLeod Center thanks to the tremendous support of the Panther family.”

UNI moved to the Big 12 conference in 2017, pitting the Panthers against the top programs in the country. UNI wrestling’s presentation at the McLeod Center not only allows the Panthers to use every asset of lighting and media to create an electric atmosphere, but also provides another reason for the nation’s top wrestling student-athletes to consider UNI as a place where they compete. at an elite level, while gaining hands-on educational experience.

UNI finished 14th in the nation for annual attendance at Division I wrestling programs a year ago. From head coach Doug Schwab took over in 2011, UNI has made the top 10 four times (2014-17). With the move to McLeod for all doubleheaders, the Panthers plan to be in the top 10 attendance programs each year.

While the West Gym will remain the training facility for UNI wrestling in the short term, based on feedback from various experts and consultants, the functional life of the West Gym is limited. A financial commitment of approximately $20 million to replace the roof of the building and to begin making multiple other structural improvements to bring the facility up to the standards needed to host dual competitions is impractical and prohibitively expensive.

With this reality in mind, UNI continues to assess its options for a wrestling training and operations center that will meet the needs of the program over the long term. New wrestling offices and a well-designed space for day-to-day wrestling operations are key to ensuring UNI Wrestling’s upward trajectory continues under Coach Schwab’s leadership.

Built in 1925, the West Gym is a historic structure dear to the UNI community, as well as to the many student-athletes, coaches and fans who share so many fond memories there. As well as considering how to best fund, design and implement plans for a wrestling training facility, UNI management is also developing plans to celebrate West Gym’s rich tradition to preserve these moments and these memories for generations to come.

“I fell in love with West Gym years ago on the side of the mat watching my brothers wrestle,” Schwab said. “Having the opportunity to coach at this historic gymnasium, a place where so many greats have walked before me and given their all to the name on the front of their shirts or shirts will always be a highlight of my coaching career.”

“Having said that, the spirit of our team and our fans isn’t just captured within West Gym as we saw in our duel against Iowa State,” Schwab continued. “We can’t wait to fill the McLeod stands and create a new place where teams will enthusiastically enter to compete because of the atmosphere. We’re going to need all of you fans to make McLeod always loud and rowdy. “

The Panthers have finished in the top 20 in the nation since at least the 2008 season. Parker Keckeisen led UNI Wrestling last year as the Panthers earned four top-15 seeds at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Keckeisen became a two-time All-American, winning bronze at 184 pounds. The Panthers are on a five-game winning streak with at least one all-American selection.

The Panthers sent nine wrestlers to the 2022 NCAA Championships, the most since UNI also sent nine in 2008. The team finished tied for 20th, eighth in the top 25 under Schwab. The team earned NWCA Scholar All-America honors while Keckeisen, Kyle Biscoglia, Lance Runyon and Tyrell Gordon earned NWCA Scholar All-America Individual Honors.

UNI wrestling season tickets for the 2022-23 season are general admission seats for $75. Matside seats get fans even closer to the action for $159. To qualify for mat-edge seating, fans must be at the PSC Gold level. Only six seats can be purchased per subscription account.

The Panthers will host three teams that finished in the top 25 at the 2022 NCAA Championships. Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Wyoming will all make trips to McLeod Center. UNI will also host Oklahoma, who finished 29th at the national championships last year. Cal Baptist will be on the local UNI calendar in the Lancers’ first year as a Division I member. Fans will also have a sixth home event when the Panthers host the UNI Open.

Fans who wish to purchase subscriptions can call (319) 273-4849 or click here to visit UNITix online. Tickets are also available in person at the McLeod Center box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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