It might be a stretch to call Wausau West a pipeline for the North Dakota State University wrestling team, but the Fargo, N.D., campus is definitely becoming a popular college choice for the Warriors’ grapplers
West’s Joe Umlauf signed his letter of intent with the Bison program Wednesday, and became the third Warriors’ athlete to commit to NDSU in the past four years. He joins Evan Knutson and Stephen Monk, who qualified for the NCAA tournament this past year in their sophomore and junior seasons, respectively.
“It’s definitely going to be nice,” said Umlauf, who also considered a scholarship offer from Northern Illinois. “I was with Evan for two years (at West) and then Stephen, my brother (Sam) grew up with, and I followed the two around. So it’s going to be fun to wrestle with two guys that you’ve been around since you were little.”
Umlauf was a four-time WIAA individual state tournament qualifier, and was a captain on this year’s Division 1 state championship squad. He leaves West with 187 wins to rank second all-time in the program’s history behind Monk.
“Joe’s (wrestling) style is a perfect Division 1 style — he has that funk. There’s some things that you just can’t teach, and he has it,” West coach Troy Fabry said. “Then you add to that being in the (NDSU) wrestling room everyday. He’s definitely not tapped out, and he will learn that extra work ethic that you’ve got to learn at that level and I think he will do some great things.”