116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Kyle Biscoglia is the epitome of a student-athlete.
Northern Iowa’s 133-pounder has balanced the rigors of NCAA Division I wrestling with the demands of academia.
He even added to his scholastic workload in the midst of becoming the full-time starter in his redshirt sophomore campaign.
The current 18-7 record is strong. The fact that he is a triple-major and has already been accepted into University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine is even stronger. Last season’s winter break exemplifies Biscoglia’s approach, using his preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as a break from the physical grind of two-a-day wrestling workouts and practices as a mental rejuvenation from his studies.
“I try to look at wrestling and school in a similar way,” said Biscoglia, who is majoring in biology, biochemistry and religion. “I want to be the best wrestler I can be. I put in hours of practice and if you really want to be a good wrestler you have to put in hours outside of the practice room, because everybody’s practicing. With my school, I try to do the same thing. Everybody’s going to class but you have to be willing to put in the hours outside of class.
“I feel like they can kind of go hand-in-hand. As wrestlers, we’re used to pushing ourselves physically on the mat. I just try to get that same push mentally from school.”
Biscoglia has posted one of UNI’s top regular seasons, earning the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Wrestling Championships Saturday and Sunday at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. He will make his postseason debut for the Panthers, winning 10 of his last 11 matches.
“He’s been wrestling real well,” UNI Coach Doug Schwab said. “The second half of the season he’s wrestled as well as anybody on our team. He’s scored bonus points a ton for us and have seen the confidence grow in him, too. I’m one of the best guys and it’s not just talk anymore.
“He feels it. He has an opportunity this weekend to show the rest of the country, too.”
Biscoglia, a former Waukee prep, has hopes of qualifying for the national tournament. The Big 12 received six automatic berths at 133. He also aspires to follow his mom, Sarah, into the medical field. Her work as a nurse practitioner and her interaction and relationship with patients has been a huge influence.
“I’ve always been drawn to helping people,” Biscoglia said. “I’ve always been fascinated by science and the human body.
“Put all those things together. Of course, through wrestling, I always try to push myself in whatever I’m doing. Being a physician has always been the obvious answer.”
Science and religion appear like polar opposite pursuits. Biscoglia noted that both are intertwined in people’s medical decisions. The best way to serve them is understanding the background for all religions.
“I feel like for a lot of people religion, faith and their health go hand-in-hand,” Biscoglia said. “As a physician, like my mom, that is something I wanted to try to do is build a connection with patients. I think understanding their faith will potentially help me connect with them.”
Spend a few moments with Biscoglia and it is easy to see why Schwab and UNI coaches rely on him to talk to recruits and their parents. Schwab said he might be the best recruiting tool for the Panthers.
“He lives it in all areas. It’s not talk,” Schwab said. “We have something outside our locker room that says, ‘How you do anything is how you do everything,’ He certainly does that.
“He does things as well as you can all the way across the board. It shines through in his performance inside and outside the classroom. “We couldn’t have a much better representative of the program and the values we talk about and preach. We have a bunch a guys. He’s one on a long list, but he certainly sticks out.”
Coincidentally, it was during the holiday break this season that he reached a turning point as a competitor. A disappointing first day at the Journeyman Collegiate Wrestling Duals spurred a change. His only loss since was a 5-1 decision to Oklahoma State’s top-seeded Daton Fix.
“I felt like that was the turning point for my season,” Biscoglia said. “Some of that pressure was released. I could really just go out and wrestle. I think since then is where I’ve really been able to get a spread on my opponents points-wise.”
Something he’s really worked on over the last year. He has been a strong mat wrestler, finding success on top. He has improved his neutral offense, getting more takedowns and scoring earlier, which allows him more opportunities to ride. Biscoglia has also been more effective with turns.
Bonus-point production has increased. Biscoglia has 13 bonus-point victories, including seven pins, five major decisions and a technical fall. He is 8-1 against conference foes.
“I’ve been real impressed with the way that I’m wrestling,” Biscoglia said. “I feel that a lot of things over the summer clicked with my neutral offense, riding tough on top, getting some turns and pins and being able to get out from bottom.
“I felt like last year I was able to have some success on guys, but this year I feel like I really go out and get more of a gap in all those matches.”
Biscoglia will try to add the athletic accomplishments with his academic achievements. He earned first-team All-Big 12 all-academic recognition for the third straight season and was a National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American a year ago.
“Overall, I’m just excited,” Biscoglia said. “This is the first Big 12 tournament I’m going to get to compete in. My prior years I haven’t been able to compete.
“Growing up as a youth, middle school and high school wrestler, it’s always your goal to wrestle at the national tournament. This is just a steppingstone to that, so most of all I’m just excited to be able to go out there and compete and have an opportunity to qualify for the national tournament.”