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Another Elkhorn Valley senior signed a letter of intent to participate in collegiate athletics.
Prestin Vondra joined classmates Amber Miller and Hannah Ollendick as future collegiate athletes after committing to Midland University Monday to continue his wrestling career.
“It was close to family and family is a big thing for me,” Vondra stated. “I wanted to stay close to my family and it was the most affordable. I’m ready to tackle this opportunity.”
The EV grappler joins his cousin, Beau Kaup out of Logan View at Midland.
“Him being there we’ll butt heads a little bit and have fun at practice,” Vondra continued. “I’ve wrestled him in the past and he’s a good kid.”
Vondra wrapped up a successful high school career earlier this year after making his second trip to the state tournament.
“We signed his cousin (Kaup) earlier this year and it was kind of a family thing,” commented Midland coach Zach Wilcox. “They said they wanted to be together and that’s when we first found out about him. Watching him throughout the year, we liked his dedication, hard work and desire to get better. That definitely drew us to him a lot more.”
Vondra’s passion for the sport has helped him accomplish his dreams of being a collegiate athlete.
“When I first started dreaming of becoming an athlete, I always thought about football and playing football for (University of Nebraska) Lincoln,” Vondra said. “As years went on, wrestling became more of a passion and family sport. I got closer with everyone and fell in love with it.”
Vondra becomes the fourth wrestler under head Falcon’s mentor Joey Tegler to wrestle in college.
“It means a lot to us that these kids want to keep competing after high school,” Tegler noted. “They love the sport to go on for another four or five years and compete.”
The senior Falcon saved his best for last this past season. Collecting a season-best 38 pins - including his 100th career victory in his final year for the green and yellow.
“,We’ve seen that growth throughout this year and think with our weight room abilities, training all summer and our coaches that we have can help him reach his potential” Wilcox said. “We think the best is yet to come from him.”
Vondra said being a three-sport athlete throughout his high school career helped him become a better athlete and wrestler.
“It kept me in really good shape,” Vondra remarked. “It built my muscles and built everything out to where I could be an all-around decent athlete in college.”
The future Warrior will have to make a tough transition from high school to college wrestling.
“Talking to coach (Joey and Carter Tegler) it’s going to be tough, but I feel like I can tackle that opportunity and go with it,” Vondra added. “I have a lot of family that are really good wrestlers and I’ll just practice to get as good as I can get, get swole and take it.”
Luckily for Vondra, there are plenty of people that can help him ease the difficult transition.
“Dillion and Darren Stewart and Noah Rutjens are at Iowa Western and either of those guys are probably more than willing to help,” Tegler spoke. “It’s a whole different game out there. Everybody there is a state medalist and you don’t have an easy match. You’re going to be humbled all the time and I think those guys will be a big help. Plus Carter (Tegler) and I both competed in college as well. We’ve been there and it’s a tough road.”
Vondra has been a smaller middleweight throughout his career and will have his choice of where he wants to wrestle at in college.
“We leave that up to our guys,” Wilcox commented. “We have a lot of open tournaments to start the year and we can have as many guys as we want in a weight class. We leave it up to them and after those tournaments we talk to them about whether they want to stay at that weight, drop or go up.”
At Midland, Vondra plans on majoring in elementary education to become a teacher and coach following his graduation.
Tegler has high hopes and expectations for his former wrestler at the next level.
“He’s a young man that has a lot of room to grow,” Tegler concluded. “He’s just starting how to figure out to be a good wrestler and I think the sky is the limit for him.”