BILLINGS, Mont. — There will be three former four-time Montana state wrestling champions in the Iowa State wrestling room next season.
Charlie Klepps etched his name into the Montana state wrestling history books this past February when he became the state's 32nd four-time state wrestling champion.
Now, he'll have the chance to improve as a wrestler and set new goals at Iowa State.
Klepps, this year's Montana AA 132-pound state champion, said Wednesday he had committed to wrestle for the Cyclones.
The ninth member of the Montana four-time state wrestling champions club was Mike Zadick, who accomplished the feat at Great Falls from 1994-97. Zadick, who wrestled in college for Iowa, is the associate head coach at Iowa State. Klepps said having the former Iowa star as a member of the Cyclones coaching staff helped sway his decision.
Klepps is also a two-time all-state soccer player and is enrolled in the Platinum Program at Senior. Those in the program are in advanced placement and honors courses. Klepps had plenty of choices to consider.
Did he want to play soccer in college? Did he want to wrestle? Or, did he want to solely focus on academics and a possible future career in sports journalism?
It turns out he'll focus on academics and wrestling.
"It has a good journalism school," said Klepps, who is projected to wrestle at 125 pounds. "And that's what I'm interested in. Mike will care about the Montana kids. I think it's a really good fit."
Klepps, who finished 42-3 this year, is the all-time wins leader at Senior with a 164-18 career record. He is also the Broncs’ all-time pins leader with 88 and takedowns leader with 760. Klepps said Wyoming, the University of Providence and Montana State-Northern are other schools he visited with about wrestling.
"I'm excited. I wanted to go for it. If I wanted to wrestle, I wanted to test myself and it had to have the major I wanted to pursue," Klepps said. "It's a really good fit."
Jarrett Degen was a four-time Montana State A champion who graduated from Belgrade in 2016. He qualified for this year's NCAA national tourney. While Klepps said Zadick "believes in me," he's also visited with Degen about the Ames school.
"I'm excited. It's a lot of stress gone for now," Klepps said.
Klepps said he will have shoulder surgery this summer and will redshirt next year. The shoulder has been an "ongoing" issue that Klepps battled through. Before the shoulder operation, Klepps will play in the Shodair Classic soccer match this summer.
"It's been bugging me a few years now," he said. "I'm not sure of the exact term, but something is bugging me. It just slides out of place."
And while Klepps said he missed wrestling "too much this spring" not to continue chasing his passion, he is ready to take down both wrestling and homework.
"School is the most important part of the whole thing," he said. "When I talked to other coaches they had a good wrestling team, but not necessarily a good journalism program."