If Colby and Cullan have their way, 2019-2020 will be a big year for the Schriever family.
Last season, the Mason City seniors went into the state wrestling tournament with very high hopes. But those hopes were dashed, as both went down with injuries at inopportune times.
This year, with both close to full health, the Mohawks should have plenty of excitement in the new season.
Cullan, a two-time state champion, suffered a shoulder injury in last year’s state quarterfinals. The injury came after suffering a broken ankle earlier in the year, and his hobbled status was a disappointing finish to an otherwise outstanding season, as he lost in the semifinals by injury default.
What especially hurt was losing the chance to be a four-time state champion, an accomplishment he had dreamed about since childhood.
“It was something that I always thought of as a kid, and especially after my freshman and sophomore year, I was like ‘all right, this is very realistic,’” Cullan said. “It was something that I’d really looked forward to, hoping to do it. I knew that I had to bring it to every single match. It was unfortunate, because the injuries set me back on that.”
Colby Schriever also came close to a state title last season, which would have been his first. Colby suffered a UCL tear in his elbow, which ended his chances in the state finals.
“It was a heartbreaker for sure,” Colby said. “I was doing really good toward the second half of the year, and the injury happened. I’m over it now, so we’re good.”
This year, both wrestlers have legitimate shots at taking home state titles in their senior seasons. The two are supportive and encourage each other on and off the mat, but make no mistake, the competition is fierce.
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“It’s a big motivator that my brother has two state titles, and I don’t have any,” Colby said. “I want one to at least match him a little bit.”
Head coach Dusty Rhodes has seen the work that Colby and Cullan have put in in the preseason, and ultimately, seems to think that the injuries and adversity will be good for brothers.
“They both had time to recover and reflect,” Rhodes said. “During that time, they got the itch to come back and start to do it again. They had to sit. They didn’t have a choice. By the looks of it, they’re both excited to get rolling, and both have super high goals.”
For both, losing out on a state championship was a painful experience. Whether it is your first or your third, coming so close and falling short hurts the same. With that experience in the past now, both Colby and Cullan are ready to use it as fuel.
"It was kind of a blessing in disguise," Cullan said. "It made me hungrier, and I’m just ready to get back out there."
Rhodes recognizes the benefits of having two Division I- level wrestlers on his squad. With both of them making appearances on Iowa wrestling’s biggest stage in the past few years, the Mohawks’ younger wrestlers have had plenty of time to observe and learn from the Schrievers.
“It’s invaluable to have, their leadership and their example in our room,” Rhodes said. “It’s helped our younger guys too. We had a freshman in the finals last year too, and we had a couple other guys that are making huge gains that are looking up to those guys for the last few years. It’s super valuable.”
The brothers recently signed on to wrestle at the University of Iowa, and both of them want to end their Mohawk careers on a high note. Their pursuit will start on Thursday, as the Mohawks open their wrestling season at home against Ankeny.
“It feels great,” Colby said of the brothers signing at Iowa “That’s a huge weight off my shoulders. It’s definitely a motivator. I just need that state title.”
One state title would be great. Two would be even greater.
"That would mean so much to me," Colby said. "It would be so cool, both me and Cullan standing on top of the podium in February. That would be an awesome moment, for me, my family, and my coaches. For everybody. It’d be awesome."