UNI Panthers

UNI wrestling coach Doug Schwab reaches out to help former Iowa teammate

College notes: Fundraiser benefited T.J. Williams' son, who is battling Leukemia; Lujan honored; What's next

Aidan Williams is honored prior to UNI's dual against Cornell (N.Y.) on Sunday at West Gym in Cedar Falls. (UNI Athletics)
Aidan Williams is honored prior to UNI's dual against Cornell (N.Y.) on Sunday at West Gym in Cedar Falls. (UNI Athletics)

CEDAR FALLS — Doug Schwab has been in plenty of scraps with T.J. Williams.

The pair wrestled for the University of Iowa, winning NCAA titles at consecutive weights in 1999 and contributing to the Hawkeyes’ national team championships that year and in 2000.

So, when Williams’ family faced another fight, Schwab reached out and joined with his old teammate again.

Northern Iowa held its fourth annual Takedown Cancer Clinic before its dual with Cornell (N.Y.) Sunday at West Gym. The proceeds will benefit Williams’ 8-year-old son, Aidan, who is nine months into a two-year treatment plan for Leukemia.

Aidan stepped to the center of the spotlighted mat before the dual and was recognized in front of the crowd of 1,541.

“We were side by side,” the UNI coach said about Williams when asked by trackwrestlingcom’s Andy Hamilton. “We went to battle together. I’ve got some boys right around his (Aidan’s) age. Anything we can do to help.

“It was pretty cool to have him here, have his family here and have his boy go out and wave to the crowd.”

The clinic provides wrestling instruction for those in kindergarten through eighth grade, raising funds for someone impacted by cancer. Williams, now of Morton, Ill., was a two-time NCAA champion and three-time All-American with a 98-1 career mark at Iowa. He spoke to the about 90 youth wrestlers at the clinic, discussing the importance of not taking health and the ability to work out for grant and making of most of their opportunities.

“Unfortunately, everyone gets affected by cancer,” Schwab said. “I mean everybody. There’s not a family that doesn’t get touched by it or get crushed by it.”

The event was a learning experience for the Panthers as well and one of the reasons Schwab jumped at the chance to participate in fundraising and generating cancer awareness when the late Bill Bails originally approached him about it. Bails began the Takedown Cancer Clinic in conjunction with the annual dual between Coe and Cornell, working with late Rams Coach Mike Duroe.

“There are things bigger than the wrestling program,” Schwab said. “Anything we can give back and give our guys a little perspective, too. That’s why we do it and we’ll continue to do it as long as I’m coached here.”

Schwab said Sunday was one of their biggest turnouts and best fundraising efforts. He shared his appreciation to all those who supported the cause.

“The wrestling community is an incredible community, too,” Schwab said. “I think everybody sees how they reach out. The wrestling community is absolutely awesome.”

Lujan earns Big 12 honors

UNI 174-pounder Taylor Lujan earned one of four victories against Cornell and was named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week on Monday.

Eighth-ranked Lujan posted a 14-6 major decision over No. 22 Brandon Womack on Sunday, scoring 11 points in the third period including three takedowns, two nearfall and a point for more than two minutes of riding time. Lujan is 11-1 with five pins and two majors.

What's next

Iowa and UNI will compete at Northwestern’s Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30 at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Iowa State will wrestle at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2 at Chattanooga, Tenn.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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