SPENCER, Iowa — A Spencer High School wrestler has died after collapsing at a tournament in northwest Iowa.
Austin Roberts died Saturday night at Spencer Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Tia Manwarren said.
Roberts collapsed earlier in the day during a tournament at his high school and was taken to the hospital. It wasn’t immediately clear why he collapsed.
The 18-year-old Roberts wrestled at the 220-pound weight class, and he was ranked sixth in the state’s Class 3A division. Last year, he placed eighth in the state tournament.
Roberts was wrestling a student from Sioux Center on Saturday before he collapsed. Sioux Center coach Aaron Schmidt said Roberts took an injury timeout but couldn’t continue the match and had to forfeit.
“It seemed like he was not quite able to catch his breath … it wasn’t anything that was alarming or anything serious at that point,” Schmidt said.
Spencer football coach Jim Tighe said a large group of students and community members were gathered at the hospital Saturday night when Roberts died.
The 6-foot-4 senior also played on the offensive and defensive line for the football team. Tighe said Roberts was a nice young man who was always willing to help a teammate.
“He was engaging,” Tighe said. “You couldn’t help but like him. Everyone liked him.”
Roberts told the Sioux City Journal earlier this month that he was thinking about attending Iowa Central Community College next year to continue wrestling and playing football. He also had hoped to return to the state tournament in wrestling and compete for a title this year.
One of Roberts’ coaches, Ryan Pratt, said earlier this month that Roberts set a strong example for younger wrestlers.
“It is never a question of how hard he is working,” Pratt told the Sioux City Journal.
School officials opened up the high school Sunday to offer grief counseling. A youth wrestling tournament that had been scheduled in Spencer on Sunday was cancelled.