When someone brings up the state of Texas, and what it is most well known for, they most likely would say country music, rodeo’s and football. However Jack Skudlarczyk, the starting 133-pound wrestler for the UNI Panthers, would tell you that you can add wrestling to that list very soon. Jack joined the Panther Train after a stellar four-year career at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. During Skudlarczyk’s prep career, he was a four-time state place winner while being crowned champion three times. While also finding success on the mat, Jack found success in the classroom and in the community. Before joining UNI wrestling, Jack Skudlarczyk was singled out for the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, which honors just one high school senior in each state based on academics and wrestling excellence. Jack has one younger sister, Annakay, who currently is attending Westlake High School as a junior.
Q:Why you came to UNI?
A: Well, I knew I had to go out of state, because none of the Division I schools in Texas have wrestling. But more important, from my first visit, I knew I loved this program and what it stands for. Overall, UNI is the best place for me to achieve my goals.
Q: Who got you into wrestling?
A: My dad got me into wrestling. My dad wrestled in high school and for a little while in college. He always told me he wrestled but never pushed me to start. Eventually, in the sixth grade, I told him I wanted to do what he did.
Q: What else did you do during your prep career in Texas?
A: I fished a lot. Also, I volunteered as a coach for the Westlake youth wrestling team.
Q: What was wrestling culture like for Texas high school wrestling?
A: It is definitely different. Not like here in Iowa, where the fan base is much bigger. However, Texas wrestling is improving. I would say give it a couple of years, and we will be making noise as a state.
Time at UNI?
Q: What is your major or what do you plan on getting into?
A: Currently, I am business potential. So I am taking business classes, but I am not set on major just yet. To make it short, I am still trying to find what I am passionate about.
Q: How was your time adjusting to the life as a college student-athlete?
A: It was pretty tough. My first semester, I struggled with my time management, but now with more planning I know I am a lot better off.
Q: What has been the biggest difference between college and high school wrestling?
A: Wrestling is wrestling, but there is so much more tougher competition in college. Our practice room is very tough as there are many more great wrestlers in room. The biggest difference is that everyone you wrestle against is good, and you won’t get any easy matches like you did in high school. What I like a lot about college wrestling is that everyone has a deep love for sport, and they have similar goals.
Q: Where have you seen the greatest amount of growth in your wrestling?
A: My practice room habits have really improved a lot. I am better now at making sure I am getting everything I can get out of the time I have in the room. I push myself more, and I am improving a lot from it.
Q: Where have you seen the greatest amount of growth as a person?
A: That is hard to pinpoint. But I would say listening to what coaches tell me and following their lessons has made me better person. By buying into the values of this program, I have become a better person in all areas of life.
Life & Career Goals
Q: What career do you want to pursue after college?
A: Not sure yet. I do know that I want to wrestle as long as I can though.
Q: Will you stay in Iowa, go back to Texas, or find another state after college?
A: It really depends on my job. I probably will go back to Texas though because, as my club wrestling coach told me “Give back to the people who shaped you.” So by going back home, I can be close to my family, and I can give back to the wrestling community in Texas.
Q: What are your goals for family?
A: I do want a family. But I am still too young to know when that will happen.
Q: What is your favorite genre of music? Who are your top-three greatest of all-time artists? And if someone asked you for a good song to introduce them to the genre what would you tell them?
A: Well, you probably guessed it since I am from down South, I love country music. Choosing my three favorite artists is tough. I would say Flatland Cavalry, a smaller Texas band, is my all-time favorite band, and you can’t go wrong with any of their songs. Next, I would recommend looking into Willie Nelson, because he is such an interesting person, and I think he is so cool. Also I would say you should give a listen to Cody Jinks. He is probably the best in terms of newer country. Lastly, for people looking to start listening to country, I would tell them to listen to Cole Wetzel. Wetzel is a little more country rock too, which is a good start.
Q: What are your favorite things to do with your free time? Does it vary when you are in season and the off season?
A: For me, it does vary. While I am in season, you can find me hanging out with friends, playing video games, going out to eat, or at Scheel’s. Most of the time, since it is so cold, I’ll stay inside. But in the off season I love to fish, hunt and hike. Really, I am down to do anything outdoors.
Q: What tips would you give to wrestlers cutting weight?
A: My tip is pretty obvious, but while cutting weight, you still need to eat and get nutrients into your body. If you stop eating, you are going to seriously hurt your body. So be smart with what you’re eating and be sure to put in the right work to lose the weight.
Q: What do you believe helped you become a Division I wrestler?
A: My coaches and family growing up always believed in me. That helped me believe in myself. Since I am coming from state that many consider is not that good at wrestling, it is not often a Texan makes it to a DI wrestling team. So in the end, their belief helped me believe I could make it and have this opportunity.
Q: How do you cope with being so far away from home? How do you stay in touch with family and friends?
A: I’ve never really gotten homesick. I always felt that I could be OK with being away from home even as a young kid. But it does get hard since there is a very long time between times I get to visit home. Usually I video chat with family and friends so I can see them, but the hardest thing to deal with is that I can’t be with my dogs. I really only get to see my dogs twice a year.
Thank you for reading this Panther Perspective from Jack Skudlarczyk. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this one from the Panther Trains 157 pound starter Paden Moore!
Also take a look at his UNI Wrestling bio here.