UNI’s Foster gets rematch with Oky State’s Boyd

By Matt Levins The Hawk Eye
Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) won by major decision over Robert Steveson (Minnesota) (MD 8-0)

Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) won by major decision over Robert Steveson (Minnesota) (MD 8-0)

Drew Foster was so excited he was ready to bounce off the walls of the Scottrade on Thursday night at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis.
The University of Northern Iowa sophomore, who one year ago fell one points short of advancing to the national tournament, now finds himself in the 184-pound quarterfinals on Friday morning, and he'll have a familiar face staring across the line at him.
Foster (24-4), ranked 12th, will face fourth-ranked Nolan Boyd (23-4) of Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals. Boyd beat Foster, 10-5, in the Southern Scuffle in a match where Foster suffered a concussion in the opening seconds and was dazed the rest of the match.
Now, Foster gets a chance to redeem himself, punch his ticket to the semifinals and earn All-America honors all with one victory.
“I’m really ecstatic, but it’s not done yet. That’s just one win. I just beat the five seed. Just try to keep winning," said Foster, a three-time placewinner for Mediapolis High School. “I’m excited. I might have Carr or Boyd. I’ve wrestled both. I’m hoping for Boyd. I want a redemption match.”
Foster advanced with an 8-0 major decision over Minnesota freshman Bobby Steveson in his first match, then avenged a 13-2 loss last year to Virginia Tech's Zack Zavatsky, scoring a late takedown which proved to be the difference in a 4-3 win.
This time around against the Virginia Tech sophomore, Foster turned the tables.
“I was young, I was growing. I wasn’t going to hang my head on it. I’ve gotten better since then, and so has he. You have to continue to get better if you’re going to be good at this sport," Foster said.
Foster twice go in on single-leg shots in the first period against Zavatsky, but XZavatsky was able to hip out and keep the match scoreless going into the second period.
“He has strong hips. I’m still learning, trying to get better each day. That’s something we can’t point out and look at. I wasn’t finishing good there, so that’s something to get better at," Foster said.
Zavatsky scored a reversal in the second period for a 2-0 lead, but Foster scored a crucial escape to pull within one point.
Foster got an escape in the third period to tie it at 2, then was able to finish a shot to take a 4-2 lead in the final minute.
“It was a reshot. I thought I was going to get him to his back, but he did a good job of continually wrestling. He’s a good guy. It feels good," Foster said.
Foster dominated Steveson in his opening match of the day. Foster scored the first takedown just 14 seconds into the match to set the tone. He added takedowns in each of the final two periods, getting the final one with 10 seconds left to secure a major decision.
“It’s nice to get up 2-0 right away, but from there you have to ride him out. You don’t want to give up that easy escape. If you can lock down the riding time, that’s always a plus. It’s good for the confidence knowing you can get to the guy and take him down when you’re getting those takedowns," Foster said. “I was trying to (get the major). I was going to keep shooting. If I didn’t get it, it was whatever. But I was really trying to get that for the team. Our whole team is wrestling for each guy, wrestling for each guy in the stands, wrestling for the alumni, wrestling for the university.”
Foster scored all three takedowns on double-leg attacks, something he has worked on for the last year.
“I was working on it. That’s one of my go-to shots. It was there. It’s nice when you wrestle someone you’ve never wrestled before. That sort of stuff is open. They don’t try to stop you, slow you down," Foster said. “It was pretty cool just running out there. As I was running out there, there was another match going on where they were just screaming and oohing and awing. That was pretty cool. It was a pretty sweet atmosphere, that’s for sure.”
“I love how he competed. He came out and scored right away. Some of the other matches … when they get tight, they stay right a lot. He went out and got a score right away. He rode really well. He got a bonus point at the end," UNI coach Doug Schwab said. "I’m happy with how he performed. I thought he looked as much at ease as anybody out there. That’s the best Foster I’ve seen in a while. Just explosive on his attacks. You could see there was pop there. That’s a good thing for Drew Foster. He looked really comfortable out there. I can’t say that for all of our other guys.”
Foster was happy to win his first two matches, but he knows there is still work to be done.
“It’s good just to get it out of the way. It’s an easier route if you’re winning the whole time. It’s obviously harder, but it’s easier in the sense that you don’t have as many matches if you’re winning," Foster said. “Just staying confident in myself and having my family support. My teammates and coaches supporting me throughout. That’s huge. When you have that backing, it gives you a reason to go in every day and get better. You’ve got that fire the whole time.”