For high school seniors, the National Letter of Intent signings tell the athletes that they made it and can continue to compete collegiately.
For Gering wrestler Jacob Awiszus, he has completed that step as he signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Awiszus will head to Kearney to wrestle for the Lopers at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a school he has wanted to wrestle at since middle school.
“It’s been a dream of mine since about seventh grade when I really wanted to wrestle in college. UNK was one of those colleges I was starting to follow right away,” Awiszus said. “My practice partner Brock Smith is a UNK alumni, and he helped play a little bit of a role in getting me on campus.”
The moment Awiszus stepped on the UNK campus, he knew that's the school he wanted to wrestle for and felt he belonged.
“Right when I got on campus, I felt at home,” Awiszus said. “It felt like I was a part of the team already, hung out with the team a lot and the coaches joked around with me like I was on the team already.”
His family has been with him every step of the way and is proud of how far he’s come.
“It’s one of his dreams, so I’m just really proud of him,” mom Tarra Awiszus said. “It was a journey to get there and he set a lot of goals and always pursued them. I’m proud of him. He’s there and he made it happen.”
Coach Jarred Berger said that Awiszus has the right mentality to wrestle in college and believes he will fit right in.
“He’s built for college wrestling, physically and mentally, and he’s what college wrestling is all about. We kind of saw that coming in as a freshman,” Berger said. “One really good attribute that he has is that he never counts himself out, never has he ever, whether he is wrestling the best guy in the state or his teammate. You have to have that mentality when you go to college. He’s going to fit right in and do very well.”
Once the season ends, Awiszus will take off the Gering name for the final time after having represented Gering throughout his childhood.
“It’s going to be weird not representing Gering for the first time since kindergarten. I’ve been Gering all the way since then and now into my senior year,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try and bring the Gering name to Kearney.”
The Gering wrestling team will start its season in a dual against Chadron at home on Dec. 2.