The wrestling program at University of Northern Iowa must have that same feeling ... as the Panthers has launched a crowdfunding project to upgrade its wrestling room in the school's storied West Gym, built in the 1920s, and home to some legendary wrestlers over the years such as Gerry Leeman, Bill Koll, Bill Smith, Keith Young, Bill Weick ... all the way to Drew Foster, 184-pound champ at the 2019 NCAAs, the program's first individual titlewinner since 2000.
The main focus of that upgrade: new wrestling mats for the practice room.
"When I first got the job nine years ago, I got these mats redone," Northern Iowa head wrestling coach Doug Schwab said. "I talked with coach (Dan) Gable before I got the job and I asked, 'What's important, what should I really look for,' and he said, 'the mats.' We are on these things every day."
"A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been poured on this mat, and a lot of pain and suffering, but a lot of rewards also have been built in this room on these mats," Schwab continued in a video on the fundraising page which shows a close-up of a well-worn wrestling mat. "With all that work comes wear and tear and it is time for some new ones."
The current mats are nine years old and well past their expected lifetime and the team is looking to Panther fans to help cover some of the cost.
Wrestling fans can do their part to replace those well-worn mats with a contribution as little as $50, with levels of giving all the way up to $5,000.
The goal for the project is to raise $15,000 within 30 days.
To make a contribution, click here.
A rendering of UNI's new practice mats