Senior 133-pound wrestler Darren Eades came from Storm Lake High School, where he was a four-time letter winner for the Tornado wrestling team. Although Eades may not possess the longest list of credentials, he has something that is way more important at this level: a deep love for the sport and an eagerness to learn. Darren has a very interesting Panther Perspective as it is his final season being on the UNI wrestling team. As he looks back upon his career, he is able to show us just how much one can grow in the short amount of time as a college student.
Q: How was life like when you went to Storm Lake High School?
A: Storm Lake High School was a very different and diverse climate than other people may have experienced when they were in high school. What I enjoy most, when I look back at my time as a Tornado, is that I was able to get a whole years worth of college credits out of the way.
Q: What was the relationship of the wrestling team there?
A: At Storm Lake there was no true comradery between the members of the team. Also it seemed as if the coaches played favorites most of the time. It was tough to even try to get extra work in on the mat. The resources we had were not good enough to allow us to improve.
Q: Who introduced you to the sport of wrestling?
A: My dad played a major role in getting me into wrestling. He wrestled and was the assistant coach at Storm Lake by the time I made it to high school. I started wrestling when I was a younger, and I decided to take a break from the sport for some time. Eventually my dad told me to give it one more chance in seventh grade. I ended up really enjoying the sport again, and I haven’t looked back since.
Q: Why did you come to UNI?
A: My older brother, Michael, had gone to UNI. Also when I came to visit, I realized it was the right place as it was not too big or small. It helped that the people on campus were so friendly too. Later on, I emailed Coach Schwab asking if I could be a part of the team, so it pushed me even more to come here.
Time at UNI
Q: What did you major in during your time as an undergrad? Are you going for your master’s now?
A: I graduated May 2017 with a bachelor’s in exercise science and a minor in coaching, and now I am seeking a master’s in kinesiology.
Q: You weren’t always a part of the wrestling team. So how did you make your way onto the Panther Train?
A: Freshman year, still during the off season, I asked the coaches if I could come in and practice before the official team practices began. Once preseason rolled around I was no longer able to come in the room and practice with the team. So Mark “Duke” Schwab, who used to be our assistant coach, pulled me aside and said if I really wanted to be on the team, I needed to come in after team practices at 5:30 every night to work out. Most of the time, all I could do was stance and motion, but at least it was work toward being able to be part of the team. Eventually, I was allowed to practice and officially be on the team.
Q: What is it like to be in a room surrounded by such high-level talent?
A: It is a blessing to have so many great guys around me and to watch and learn from them. It is an honor to be able to be a part of their growth and help them become better. Even though I may not be the starter, it is still an honor to be a part of a team with such amazing talent.
Q: What is the top goal you want to achieve in your final season on the Panther Train?
A: The goal is to help in whatever way I can to get the guys ready for a national title. Even if that means my time comes to step up into the starting spot; I am ready to do anything for the team.
Q: What has been your favorite thing about being on the UNI wrestling team?
A: The family aspect of the program is incredible. I really admire how supportive my teammates and coaches have been for each other.
Q: During your time as a Panther how has the UNI wrestling community been?
A: The support we have gotten from our community has been very consistent. Our fans help create that family atmosphere many of the guys on the team appreciate. The best part about the fanbase has been the fact that people are getting more excited for where we are heading as a team. In turn, this gets us even more excited too.
Career and Life Goals
Q: As you are now going for your masters, what are your plans after graduation?
A: Once I get my master’s, I would like to use my degree to become a strength and conditioning coach for a wrestling team or I would like to coach wrestling. In the end, I want to be around the sport of wrestling for as long as I can.
Q: What plans do you have outside of your work life?
A: Someday I want to get married and have kids. But most important, I want to live a happy life with no regrets.
Q: From your time as a Panther, what do you hope you will be remembered for most?
A: I would like to be know for being consistent and by having my attitude that I would never give up. Those two values are really important to me because those are what keep me driven. I remember hearing someone say “I refuse to be ignored” while I was a freshman. This saying kept me going all five years I have been on this team. I would always go back to that quote after I would look at my record or got a little roughed up in the room. This saying helped keep me to a certain standard of being consistent and persistent.
Q: Through wrestling what has been the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
A: One of our coaches said “If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you’re doing it wrong”. I feel that it is important to not take things too seriously, especially wrestling. Sports are supposed to be fun, and in the end that is what wrestling is.
Q: Looking back from the end of your collegiate wrestling career, what advice would you give to the underclassmen just starting the grind?
A: Don’t wait for your time to be “the guy”. Continue to work as if you are the guy, because a lot of people wait for success to come to them, but you have to put in a lot of work for it. Why wait to be great when you can do it now?
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I play video games. I really like the Mass Effect trilogy, and I highly recommend it. Also I like to hang out with my close friends or you can find me watching YouTube videos.
Q: Who do you give credit to most for the success you’ve had in your wrestling career?
A: Our strength and conditioning coach, Cruse Aarhus. At the end of your freshman year you usually find a coach you really bond with, but I was having a tough time doing so. Cruse took me in and started paying more attention to my wrestling and lifting.
Thank you for reading this Panther Perspective from Darren Eades. Here is another from “The Allstar from Albia” Carter Isley!
Take a look at Darren Eades roster profile here.