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Westphal-Edwards makes college choice

Photo by Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

Washington’s Tristin Westphal-Edwards points to his family after defeating Southeast Valley’s Kyler Fisher in the 182-pound Class 2A championship bout at the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Westphal-Edwards won 6-5. Westphal-Edwards will continue his wrestling career at Coe College.
Photo by Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette Washington’s Tristin Westphal-Edwards points to his family after defeating Southeast Valley’s Kyler Fisher in the 182-pound Class 2A championship bout at the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Westphal-Edwards won 6-5. Westphal-Edwards will continue his wrestling career at Coe College.

When one is as talented as Washington High School graduate Tristin Westphal-Edwards, the amount of attention from colleges can be overwhelming.

Almost every college in the state of Iowa and numerous ones from out of state made offers.

In his case, he also weighed an offer from the Kosovo Wrestling Club to train with them and be paid.

“It is a crazy process. It is a blessing to be wanted like that and be presented with all of these opportunities, but it is also very stressful,” Westphal-Edwards said. “I finally decided just two days ago that I will be attending Coe College. I’m going to be a Kohawk.”

Coe is a Division III school in Cedar Rapids.

“There were over 30 schools that kept in touch with me a lot, but Coe’s Coach Oostendorp came to a lot of my meets,” Westphal-Edwards said. “Academically it is a great fit and in wrestling, they wrestle DI a lot. I’m calling it right now. Within the next couple years DI, DII and DIII national tournaments will all be one. All the different levels mean in wrestling is about the classroom.”

As far as his studies, there are two things that he is intrigued by - real estate and coaching.

“Jeff Hazelett was a great mentor for me,” Westphal-Edwards said of Washington’s wrestling assistant who works in local real estate. “(Washington football) Coach James Harris was a big influence on me as well. He helps at school with behavioral disorders and provides guidance.”

Westphal-Edwards helped out at the middle and elementary schools and has coached at wrestling camps.

“I would love to have my own TV show about flipping houses,” Westphal-Edwards said.

While Westphal-Edwards finally setlled on Coe, the email from Kosovo was tempting.

“To be presented with such an opportunity as an 18-year-old is a blessing,” Westphal-Edwards said. “They said the offer won’t be withdrawn for five years so it will still be an option for me.”

Being able to travel in the world with just $100 in his pocket, thanks to wrestling, has made a major impact on him and opened his eyes to the fact that he needs to keep his options open.

Wrestling has also influenced his decision making.

“I’m attacking this like when I go into a match and I’ll just make something up in the middle of it,” Westphal-Edwards said. “I might end up with a different major so this first year will be an experiment.”

Talking with the Coe coaches, it has been mentioned that he could be a four-year starter.

“I want to be a national champion and I want my team to be a national champion,” he said. “I want my goals to just keep getting bigger.”

Westphal-Edwards wrestled at 182 pounds when he won the Class 2A state title this year, but is open to going as low as 165 or 174 in college as well as 184.

“Whatever weight I am at, the weight room is going to be my best friend,” he said.

While wrestling has opened countless doors for Westphal-Edwards, he wanted to play football in college or at least considered it.

“I took a lot of different visits, but mostly did a lot of talking on the phone,” Westphal-Edwards said. “It melts my heart to hear colleges tell me, ‘We want you. We need you.’”

The attention is a great reward for all the sacrifice he has put into achieving his dream.

“The sport of wrestling has changed my life,” Westphal-Edwards said. “I’m a mama’s boy, so I did not want to be too far away.”

The one college in state he didn’t hear from was the University of Iowa.

“I hope to wrestle against them a lot,” Westphal-Edwards said. “I got some bad blood for them.

“I want to leave a legacy at my college. It was a stressful process, but it’s been a blessing. It boiled down to the Coe coaches being so awesome.”