Reiter’s run for the border working out just fine

Matt Anderson

A warm reaction is considered the norm for most homecomings.

Mack Reiter said he knows his will be different.

Reiter, a four-time Iowa state champion wrestler at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville, Iowa, was the first blue-chip wrestling recruit from the state to sign with Minnesota. On Friday, he will wrestle for the first time as a Gopher in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I have no idea what to expect,” Reiter said. “I think the crowd’s going to be getting into it pretty hard, so I think that might give me a little boost.”

When the 133-pound redshirt freshman steps to the mat at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, he will wrestle against the team that dominated college wrestling during the last three decades.

From 1975 to 2000, Iowa won the NCAA wrestling championship a record 20 times. Growing up an hour from Iowa City, Reiter’s dream was to be part of the Hawkeyes’ wrestling dynasty.

“Ever since I was like 4 years old, I wanted to wrestle for Iowa,” Reiter said. “Two years ago, I couldn’t have seen myself here now.”

But despite being heavily recruited by Iowa, Reiter surprised even himself and decided to do his college wrestling north of the state border, for Minnesota.

Minnesota assistant coach Joe Russell gives former Gophers assistant coach Mark Schwab the most credit for luring Reiter away from the Hawkeyes.

“Schwab was from Iowa, and they had kind of the Iowa tie going in,” Russell said. “Schwab’s older brother, I think, helped coach him some in high school, so the tie already with that was probably the big thing.”

After Schwab made initial inroads, it was the Gophers’ recruiting clout that swayed Reiter permanently.

Roger Kish, the No. 1 high school recruit in the country in 2002, and C.P. Schlatter, ranked third, were already weighing offers from Minnesota when Reiter visited the campus. The chance to be part of that recruiting class helped guide him to Minnesota.

“Once he got here and saw the other guys that were thinking of coming here, I think they all got together and said, ‘We could be a part of some special team here, if we all came to the same school,’ ” Russell said. “His future teammates recruiting each other was what sold him.”

When Schlatter, Kish and Reiter, along with Matt Koz, Mitch Kuhlman and Gabriel Dretsch, signed with Minnesota, the Gophers assembled what was considered the best recruiting class in the country.

“Our goal from the beginning was to win four national team titles,” Reiter said. “I think we still can, and, hopefully, we will.”

While at first overshadowed by super-recruits Kish and Schlatter, Reiter has been the standout newcomer for Minnesota this year. He has a record of 30-3 with a team-leading 12 pins and is ranked third in the country at 133 pounds.

With that success, Reiter will be under even more of a magnifying glass Friday, when he wrestles the team that ruled his youth.

“I know he’s excited,” 141-pounder Quincy Osborn said. “I know the fans are going to be hard on him, but I think that’ll just add for his motivation for the match.”

Beyond helping the Gophers win Friday, Minnesota hopes Reiter’s impact on the program will be far-reaching and will help it establish a serious recruiting presence in Iowa.

“I think Mack having success here – being happy here – will help us for sure,” Russell said. “It shows that a guy can come to Minnesota and it’s OK to go north of the border.”