Creston three-time state wrestling champion Jake Marlin made it official Wednesday afternoon.
He's going to be a Hawkeye.
Marlin, who told Iowa coach Tom Brands on Oct. 21 that he would accept the Hawkeyes' scholarship offer, signed a National Letter-of-Intent Wednesday at Creston High School. The other Iowa wrestler seeking a fourth title this winter — Brandon Sorensen of West Delaware — is expected to sign with Iowa today.
"It's just the atmosphere," Marlin said, "the coaches and the wrestlers. Their fan base is really good."
Former Nodaway Valley wrestler and Panther assistant coach Mario Galanakis wrestled at Iowa. He had a smile on his face Wednesday afternoon.
"It's awesome," he said. "Of course, that's where I've always wanted him to go, but I didn't push it on him too hard. I don't even think he's scratched the surface yet of his potential. Iowa is getting good recruits and keeps building. I look forward to going over and watching."
For his career, Marlin has a 148-5 record heading into his senior season, after going 53-1 with 40 pins last season as the 138-pound champion in 2A. His closest match in Iowa last year was a 10-2 major decision in the state finals, yet coach Darrell Frain said he's headed to even greater heights.
"It's one of those things we have looked at since he was a freshman, that there was a possibility of that," said Frain, who also coached national runners-up Dylan Long (UNI) and Andrew Long (Iowa State, Penn State). "When Jake gets in the Iowa room, it will be incredible to see the progress he will make."
Nebraska was the other finalist in Marlin's decision, but there were plenty of other high-powered suitors, such as Wisconsin and Iowa State.
"Jake has incredible explosiveness on the mat," Frain said, describing Marlin's Division I talent. "And it's so natural to him, he doesn't even understand it. I just think they (coaches) think he has such a huge ceiling, an upside to what he could do in the future."
Frain said an early signing was part of Marlin's plan, as he sets out on his quest to complete a four-title run this winter.
"That was a big deal for him, signing today," Frain said. "Going through the process all along, he talked about doing it early, so he could focus on his senior year. Now, it's in his court to do what he wants to do."
The Panthers open Nov. 27 at Interstate 35, Truro.