116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Parker Keckeisen has a passion for wrestling.
So much, that the Northern Iowa redshirt freshman doesn't want to squander a single second when he is on the mat. In practice or competition, Keckeisen is full throttle constantly from whistle to whistle.
'I know I have a gas tank,” the Panthers' 184-pounder said. 'I just like to wrestle, too. I love to wrestle and want to use the whole time. See what I can do.”
Keckeisen has taken advantage of his chance to step into the lineup, owning a 9-0 mark and earning the top seed at the Big 12 Conference Championships this weekend at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
UNI's Brody Teske is also the top seed at 125, while heavyweight Carter Isley is second. Triston Lara (149) and Lance Runyon (174) are fourth.
'I know every guy is going to have an opportunity to put themselves in the national tournament,” Schwab said. 'We have it within our hands (and) that's all we can ask. Having the opportunity, having it within our hands and going out there scrapping for 420 seconds.”
Keckeisen fills that role perfectly. His relentless attacks and determination has allowed him to ascend to fifth in trackwrestling's national rankings.
Keckeisen had hopes of 'reloading” the 184-pound spot, following in the successful footsteps of NCAA champion Drew Foster and last year's top-ranked Taylor Lujan. After he lost the initial wrestle-off to Keegan Moore, who is now at 197, Keckeisen faced a gut check.
'There was a mental battle,” Keckeisen said. 'Do I keep working or take a back seat?
'I thought you have to keep pushing. I got an opportunity and rolled with it. Keegan makes me better as well. It just shook out at 184 and 197, which we have two really good guys and I'm excited to see how we do this weekend.”
Keckeisen has demonstrated versatile and explosive moves from his feet. He is most comfortable in the neutral position, focusing to improve his mat wrestling.
Keckeisen debuted his aggressive style Jan. 24 and nearly recorded a technical fall over Oklahoma's Darrien Roberts, tallying 21 points. He also has notable wins against Oklahoma State All-American Dakota Geer (4-2 in sudden victory), Northern Illinois' two-time NCAA qualifier and Mid-American Conference champ Brit Wilson and Iowa State's two-time national qualifier and Big 12 finalist Sam Colbray.
'I think things have gone well,” Keckeisen said. 'I'm just going out there trying to compete my hardest the whole time, every match. I've been breaking things down smaller with positions. Doug emphasizes we win the next position and that is my mindset going into any match.
”Just try to create opportunities and win positions and, if not, got to win the next one. Keep wrestling the whole seven minutes.”
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