UNI national champion to visit White House

UNI national wrestling champion Drew Foster

 

Drew Foster’s time at the University of Northern Iowa will wind down with student teaching, a chance at cracking the U.S. wrestling team and a trip to the White House to meet President Trump on Friday.

Foster is the reigning 184-pound Division I wrestling champion and set to graduate from UNI this December. He, along with the other nine national champions, were invited to the nation’s capital to meet the president.

It will be Foster’s first visit to Washington, D.C.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to see the White House in this capacity,” Foster said. “It would be cool to get a tour and just be able to get to see Washington, D.C. Who knows when that opportunity will come forward again? There’s just so much history. I think I’ll take a lot of pictures, especially for my family too, so I can share it with everyone back home.”

Foster will finish student teaching sixth-grade math at Hoover Middle School in Waterloo, Iowa, on Dec 19. Then he will jump on a plane to wrestle in Texas at the U.S. Open in hopes of cracking the U.S. wrestling team lineup on Dec. 21.

“We’re incredibly proud of him and how he’s represented the program since it happened,” said UNI wrestling coach Doug Schwab. “I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who have had a conversation with him and are so impressed with him. They are impressed with the humility he has and how he shines a light on the program and the type of kids we have. It’s always about someone else and how much he can give back to those who helped him get to this point.”

Planning on substitute teaching in the local area, Foster intends to continue training in hopes of earning a spot on the national wrestling team.

“The main focus will be wrestling, but I am not the type of person who likes to sit around, so I’m going to look for some substitute teaching positions,” Foster said. “I am building a lot of connections now to where I can be able to get into some schools and work multiple days and help out.”

Next year is based on his wrestling success, but he is planning to be in the area.

“He hasn’t changed at all,” Schwab said. “That’s the great thing that he hasn’t changed. He’s still the same guy. Winning a national title is a great accomplishment. It gives you more opportunities, but it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. And he knows that.”

Foster is the first Panther to earn an NCAA Division I wrestling title since 2000, defeating No. 6 Max Dean of Cornell, 6-4.

UNI's last champion was Tony Davis, who won in 2000 at 149 pounds. Until the 2019 national championships, UNI hadn't fielded a finalist since 2005.

“Having a new name on the national champions board makes our guys think ‘Drew did that. I’m going to do it too,’” Schwab said. “He broke down a wall for our program, and our guys have to keep breaking that down. He deserves every acknowledgement and opportunity he can get to be praised for winning a national title. There are only 10 Division I guys who got to win one last year. Only one guy in his weight class who got a title in Division I. He’s earned that right, and I’m happy for him that he is getting this opportunity. I hope he enjoys it.”

Foster became UNI's 25th two-time All-American. He earned his first All-America honors when he took seventh at 184 pounds in 2017.

Foster made the podium by knocking off Virginia Tech's No. 3 Zack Zavatsky in the quarterfinals. It was the fourth time in Foster's career that he had beaten Zavatsky. He added two more top-15 wins by beating No. 14 Chip Ness of North Carolina in the semifinals and No. 12 Lou Deprez (Binghamton) in the second round.