SPORTS EDITOR- Will Willems
DOVER — Western Boone senior Austin McCloskey accomplished a lifelong goal Wednesday afternoon.
The Star wrestler signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Purdue University. “It feels really good to sign,” Mc-Closkey said. “It has been my dream since I started wrestling when I was three to wrestle in the Big 10. Now it is official and real.”
McCloskey said that he also looked at Central Michigan and Penn when deciding on a school. He said Purdue’s proximity to home and its success in recent seasons separated the school from the others.
“I really liked that it was close to home and it was like a family over there,”McCloskey said. “The past three years they have just been getting better and better and right now they are ranked 14th in the nation.” Family has always been important to McCloskey and they have been fixtures at nearly all of his matches.
The opportunity for them to see him wrestle in college was important, McCloskey said. “That was really big when I was thinking about a school,” McCloskey said. “(They are) my support group, that is part of the reason I wrestle, I like to see them in the crowd and see their smiles. Plus, being only 40 minutes away, if I need any laundry done, I can always head home.”
McCloskey said there was a good chance that he could compete right away for head coach Scott Hinkel. “The way they were talking, I have a good chance of being in the lineup,”McCloskey said. “But I still have to do wrestle offs and it depends on how I do there.”
McCloskey has gone 109-10 in his three years at Western Boone. But he is still missing the one thing in high school that he wants the most — a state championship. “That has been my goal my entire life, and I am going to achieve it this year hopefully,” McCloskey said. “My goal is to not go into the third period at all this year.”
McCloskey has been extremely close the past two seasons. Last year, he placed second at 160 pounds, losing in double overtime in the state championship match. The year before he placed third at 152 pounds. He said coming so close the last two years has driven him this off-season as he prepares for his final high school season.
“Yes it is a big motivation,” Mc-Closkey said. “It is really win state or bust. In my matches throughout the season I am going to make them drill matches. I am going to try and score as many points as I can. That way, when it gets to state, I’m in that mentality of score, score, score and not getting scored on.”
McCloskey said he plans on studying manufacturing engineering while at Purdue with the dream job of being an manufacturing engineer for Rolls-Royce.
Western Boone’s Austin McCloskey signs his national letter of intent to wrestle at Purdue University as his parents, Western Boone head coach Kyler Kearby (seated far left) and former Western Boone head coach Rick Overfield (seated far right) watch.
Reporter photo by Will Willems