UNI All-American Drew Foster joined the On The Mat program to talk about his progression from a .500 record as a freshman, to seventh in the nation at 184 pounds this past season. The show led off with Foster describing the feeling of placing top eight in the nation.

“I was really excited,” Foster said on garnering All-American honors, “When you stop and look around and see all the great guys around you. I have been wrestling around Blaize Cabell, Cooper Moore, JJ Everard just to name a few who have never achieved that. Those are great wrestlers right there and just to know you have that (All-American) honor and in a way you’re representing them in getting that.”

Foster committed to UNI out of Mediapolis high school in 2014. A three-time state medalist in high school, Foster finished his career a state runner-up at 160 pounds. Upon enrolling at UNI, Foster competed at 165 pounds as a redshirt, started at 174 pounds as a freshman before moving into 184 pounds for the postseason. As a freshman, Foster came up one match shy of qualifying for his first NCAA tournament.

“I felt like I got punched in the mouth when I didn’t make the national tournament,” Foster said, “I 100% thought I would be at the national tournament. The coaches had me take some time off right away, but when you get that itch, when you miss the mat, when you just want to get better. You got that in the back of your head, driving you the whole time.”

After a 15-18 record as a freshman, Foster put in the work this offseason to continue to get better. While he no doubt improved his technique on the mat, Foster said that it was his mentality that played a large role in his breakout season.

“I think it was a little bit of everything,” Foster said on his progression, “I’ve always worked hard and I’ve always tried to be the best that I can be in wrestling, and probably in all sports. You get a lot of mental battles. A lot of it is just self-belief. It’s nice to know that you have coaches, families, and friends that believe in you 100%. And when you can get that through your head and believe in yourself I think that’s powerful.”

Looking back now, it’s hard to even imagine that Foster began the season in contention with Jacob Holschlag for the starting spot in the lineup. To Foster 184 pounds was always his spot in the lineup, so when Old Dominion came to town early in the season, Foster was looking to take the decision out of his coaches hands to prove that he was the man for the job.

“I went in knowing I was going to win the match,” Foster said on his first marquee win on the season, a 6-1 decision over All-American, Jack Dechow, “At that part of the season I was battling for a spot. I wasn’t concerned about the other wrestler, but I wanted to prove to the coaches ‘I’m the guy. I’m ready. Let me step up and show you guys.’ And I believe I did that.”

Listen to Drew Foster’s full interview from On The Mat:

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle