As a New Hampton Chickasaw, Keaton Geerts found plenty of success during his prep career as he went on to place three times at the Iowa State High School wrestling tournament. Geerts was crowned champion two of those times. Keaton is the youngest of three boys. Lowen who is 31, and brother Dalton is 27. Both of Keaton’s brothers wrestled, and Dalton placed third at the state tournament as a prep. Keaton Geerts is now a redshirt freshman on the UNI Panther wrestling team, where he competes at 157 pounds.

Before UNI

Q: Who got you into wrestling?

A: I would say I started wrestling because of my brother Lowen while he was in high school. I would watch his meets, and I guess I wanted to be in a singlet too. So I started wrestling when I was about 3 years old for the New Hampton Wrestling Club.

Q: Why did you come to UNI?

A: I used to come to the Regional Training Center practices in West Gym and got to work around the other guys on the team. Eventually I was able to stay with Max Thomsen and Jay Schwarm, where I was able to get close with them. Another reason I came to UNI was because of the coaches and how they made me feel very welcomed. The coaches and all they guys on the team really make feel like this is where I am meant to be.

Q: What was your favorite memory from high school wrestling?

A: My favorite memory was being the first state champ for my head coach, Nick Hemann, during his time at New Hampton. It was cool to be able to have all the hard work we put in together to pay off.

Q: What other activities did you do in high school?

A: In high school, I played football every year at New Hampton. I was and outside linebacker and running back. My junior and senior year we made it to the playoffs.

Time at UNI

Q: What is your major?

A: As of right now, I am majoring in physical education.

Q: What has been you favorite class at UNI so far?

A: Hands down my favorite class was Strategies for Academic Success. It was a class of just athletes that was just really fun to be in, because the atmosphere was relaxed.

Q: What has been your favorite moment while being a part of UNI wrestling?

A: Winning my first wrestling open was a pretty special moment for me. It was at the Loras Open my freshman year, and I just remember how much fun it was to compete and win.

Q: Where have you seen your most improvement as a wrestler? Who has helped you grow the most?

A: I would have to say all of the coaches helped me work on areas I needed to improve. All the coaches have a different style and different ways of looking at things, which gives me options on what I like best as a wrestler. Overall, the one area I have improved in most has been on top. In high school, I would rely on takedowns and then letting the kids escape in order to win matches. But now I try to get turns, because it is really important to be solid on top when wrestling at this level.

Q: With one word how would you describe the atmosphere at dual meets in the West Gym? Do the fans help motivate you to compete in the West Gym?

A: The atmosphere is crazy. The fans in the West Gym always make it hot and rowdy. And for sure their support really makes me get amped so that I can be out there on the mat someday. Just watching them go wild for Panther takedowns is an unreal feeling.

Career & Life Goals

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: A dream of mine has been to be a club or high school wrestling coach. Hopefully while doing this, I could also be a physical education teacher.

Q: Do you have plans on having a family?

A: That has always been a part of my plan. But I would want to wait until a couple of years after college to start my family.

Q: Would you stay in Iowa or look to move somewhere else?

A: I’m up for anything, but I would like to stay in Iowa. Iowa is my home, and I love it here.

Extra Questions

Q: You have been injured for quite some time as a Panther. How do you still improve even though you can’t get on the mat?

A: With my recent elbow surgery, I focused on keeping my other body parts strong. I knew I had to stay in shape for wrestling so I did the workouts I could do. Also I found that you can always learn something by watching others wrestle too. I made sure to pay attention, so maybe I could pick up some piece of technique that would help me in wrestling.

Q: What are some tips that you would give to other athletes that have had unfortunate injuries which sidelined them for long periods of time?

A: I would give say it is important to not be mad about being injured. You have to stay positive, because you can still learn while you are out and watching from the sidelines.

Q: Has it helped having multiple New Hampton Chickasaws join the Panther Train? Does it push you in the room?

A: Definitely. It adds to the family-feeling of the team, and I am pushed more because I have been with these guys, Noah Glaser and Michael Blockhus, ever since I was little.

Q: What is one value that is extremely important for young wrestlers?

A: To me, it is important to wrestle with a tough mindset. Just have the mindset that you won’t give up in certain positions and that you will keep fighting for everything. Also it is just as important that you are ready to learn and improve. Every practice, dual meet or tournament is an opportunity to get better.

Q: What was your worst injury?

A: The worst injury I have had was when I got my nose ripped off. I went for an inside trip against a teammate and I didn’t execute the move that well. So my partners head went straight up my face and took my nose with it! It sucked.

Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island and you had the choices of bringing one person, one food and one game with you what would you choose?

A: That’s a tough question! For my game, I would take a football, because you can always play catch. The one person I would bring is Derek Holschlag, because he will always be there for me. And the one food I would take would be chicken alfredo pasta, because that is literally my favorite food ever.

Thank you for reading this Panther Perspective from Keaton Geerts!

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Now before you go read one last Panther POV from the Panther Trains best photographer Isaiah Patton!

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