The University of Northern Iowa’s redshirt junior, 197-pounder Jacob Holschlag has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of wrestling. While a prep at Union High School, he placed at state three times and was state champion twice. At UNI he has grown to become one of the most feared wrestlers on top while also becoming a two-time NCAA qualifier and earning All-America honors in 2018 by placing fifth in the country. Jacob is the brother of Derek Holschlag, who also wrestles for UNI, and his sister, Kaitlin, runs track and field at Grand View University. I had an opportunity to interview Jacob, and I hope after reading along you too will also know the man off the mat.
Q: How did you get started in the sport of wrestling?
A: At first I saw my close friends going to wrestle, so I got curious and decided to tag along. After that first practice, my dad asked if I wanted to keep going back. The answer was obviously yes. I definitely would’ve wrestled anyway to get rid of all the energy I had as a little kid. I also find it kind of funny that I was motivated to wrestle, because I saw Max Thomsen, who has been my teammate since high school, winning brackets in kindergarten. To be honest, I was jealous and wanted to win brackets too.
Q: What made you come to UNI?
A: I bet everyone says it, but it felt like family. On my visits, I felt wanted by the coaches and the guys on the team. Our coaches also really cared about me and built a great relationship. Most important, the teams values aligned with mine: hard work, consistency, and a deep love for the sport.
Time at UNI
Q: What is your current major, Jacob?
A: Currently I am studying biology at UNI.
Q: Not including anything wrestling related, what has been your favorite part about UNI?
A: That is a really tough question, because most of what I have done and learned is influenced by wrestling. Especially since it is the main reason I have gained some pretty amazing friends and I spend most of my time around wrestling. However, I would say my favorite part is that I have grown stronger in my faith.
Q: What is it like having your younger brother, Derek, on the team?
A: We are both very competitive, so we push each other a lot because neither of us want to lose to each other. Also you can always count on Derek doing the right thing; he is very accountable. Outside of the wrestling room, he has a chill feel that helps me enjoy time to relax, and I can always count on him to make me laugh.
Q: What has been the main reason for your growth as a wrestler?
A: I try to put all my time into it. I pride myself on being a “mat rat,” because I really enjoy the sport. Besides practices I feel it is really important to get one on ones with coaches.
Career and Life Goals
Q: What are your plans after college?
A: My goal is to be a wrestling coach, and if I could be a college coach that would be my dream job. But, if needed, my backup is being a exotic animals veterinarian.
Q: Why would you want to be a vet?
A: When I first came to UNI, I did not know what I wanted to do. When I met with the academic advisor they asked me what subjects I liked. I told them I was pretty good at biology and they gave me a list of careers in that field. When I saw being a vet was an option, I remember I saw a video about a man that helped out with exotic animals. I knew that would be right for me.
Q: What are your goals for your family in the future?
A: There are a couple of goals I have in terms of the family I would like to have. I really want a big family. I feel a big family will always keep me active with things to do. A big family will also be sort of chaotic; chaos sounds like it would be an adventure. Most important, I want to be able to impact my children’s lives in a positive way by teaching lessons and providing a good life for them.
Q: Who have been the most influential people while you have grown your faith?
A: When I young my Sunday School teacher, Penny Clark, was the person who got me really interested in Christianity and knowing who Jesus is better. When I got to college, Cooper and Paden Moore helped out a lot by taking me to the wrestling teams Bible study. More recently, I have spent time with Ken Klingman, who volunteers with our program, and he helps me grow my love for the Lord every day.
Q: What separates Iowa wrestling from the rest of the country?
A: In Iowa, everyone loves wrestling. It is just what we do. There are small towns in Iowa with not much else to do so you wrestle. I guess that is how its been for a long time, so it is just a part of the culture. I really enjoy how communities bond over it.
Q: Who is tougher: you or Derek? Who is better looking?
A: I am the toughest and best looking Holschlag, and that’s just fact. The real question is why are you asking questions you already know the answer to, Kordek?
Make sure to give Jacob Holschlag a follow on twitter: @HeadbuttHog
And check out his roster profile here.
Also check out this previous Panther Perspective post about Carter Isley!