Northern Iowa’s wrestling program received major exposure in the state on Friday morning.
Carter Freeman, a two-time Class 3A state champion for Waukee Northwest, announced his commitment to the Panthers. He is Northern Iowa’s first known 2024 commit and picks the Panthers over the states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.
“It was just family there,” Freeman told the Register of his decision. “It felt like (Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab) really cared about me, and that was the environment I wanted to be in.”
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The addition of Freeman is another major domestic win for the Northern Iowa program, which has had much success recruiting the state of Iowa in recent years. The current roster includes 23 Iowa natives, and the 2023 recruiting class includes three more, namely CJ Walrath of West Burlington-Notre Dame, Garret Rinken of Nashua-Plainfield, and Brandon Paez of Lisbon. More could soon join this transport in 2023.
But Freeman’s commitment gives the Panthers a strong start to their 2024 class of recruits.
Freeman has won two individual Class 3A state titles in as many years — in 2021 for Waukee at 106 pounds, then in 2022 for Waukee Northwest at 120 pounds. He will carry a career-record 85-1 into his junior season this winter, including 42 pins and 17 technical falls. He plans to wrestle at 132 this year but collegially forecasts 149/157.
According to MatScouts, Freeman is ranked #102 nationally in the 2024 class. He was a member of the title-winning Junior Freestyle National Duals team in Iowa last summer and has also won state freestyle titles at both the 16U and junior levels .
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As such, Freeman was a highly sought-after Division I prospect. While many of his peers are letting their recruits play into the spring and even into their senior season, Freeman chose to knock out all of his before his junior season fully began.
Aside from wrestling, Freeman hopes to study biology and/or kinesiology and eventually go to medical school or become a physical therapist. When he visited northern Iowa, Kyle Biscoglia was his host. Biscoglia was a three-time state champion for Waukee and is currently the 133-pounder in northern Iowa who majored in biology, chemistry and religion and will be attending Carver College of Medicine in Iowa starting next year.
Time will tell if Freeman follows exactly the same path. For now, he’s excited to join the Panther Train and ready to focus on his junior season. Wolves are expected to be among the better teams in Class 3A again. They finished second behind Southeast Polk at last year’s state tournament and returned for the 2022-23 season with four medalists and a total of seven qualifiers, led by two returning state champions in Freeman and Koufax Christensen.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at@codygoodwin.