Upper Iowa Peacocks Ink a Pair of Iowans to National Letters of Intent

by Howie Thompson, Sports Information

The Peacock wrestling program and Head Coach Heath Grimm announced the signing of a pair of three-time Iowa State Tournament qualifiers to National Letters of Intent to compete for Upper Iowa University. Averee Abben of Osage and Kain Luensman of Monticello are preparing for their final high school seasons before coming to Upper Iowa to continue their academic and athletic careers.

Abben has qualified for the Iowa State Tournament in each of his first three seasons at Osage High School and has earned two Iowa State Tournament medals thanks to a fifth-place finish in the Class 2A 132-pound class in 2020 and an eighth-place finish in the Class 2A 126-pound class in 2019. Last season, he was a large part in Osage claiming the Class 2A Iowa State Tournament title. Abben has dominated his runs at the Top of Iowa Conference Tournament over those three years claiming second-place as a freshman at 106 pounds before claiming first place as a sophomore and junior. The projected 133/141-pounder at UIU enters his final year with the Green Devils carrying a career record of 102-27. He is the son of Nikki and Jim Abben and will major in environmental science at UIU.

"Averee is an exciting prospect," said Grimm. "He has the skills and athleticism to compete at a very high level. I love that fact that he's from wrestling-rich Osage, Iowa where he helped the team win the state championship last year under Head Coach Brent Jennings."

Luensman, who has also qualified for the Iowa State Tournament in each of his three high school seasons, joins the Peacock wrestling family after posting a 43-3 record as a junior and a 40-2 mark as a sophomore and reaching the Class 2A Iowa State Tournament 132-pound and 126-pound quarterfinals, respectively. As a freshman, Luensman placed fourth at 113 pounds after coming up on the wrong end of a 2-1 tie breaker in the semifinals; he notched a 50-3 record as a freshman. Over his three years wrestling for the Panthers, the projected 141/149-pounder has put together an impressive record of 133-8. He has also registered a pair of titles at the Cadet Freestyle State Championship and the River Valley Conference Championships and a all-district first team defensive back honor with the Monticello football team. Luensman has earned first team all-academic honors three times as well. He is the son of Meleah and Ryan Luensman and plans to study biology at Upper Iowa toward a career as a chiropractor.

"Kain is a welcomed addition to the program," said Grimm. "He already has a family-tie to our program through his cousin, All-American Chase Luensman. I've known the Luensman family for many years and seen Kain put together a strong wrestling profile. He's amassed an impressive high school career record heading into his senior season competing for Monticello and, his dad, Head Coach Ryan Luensman."

The Peacock wrestling program has been going through varied off-season workouts through the fall, but expects to move into their preseason training following the Thanksgiving holiday and begin competing in early January. This year's schedule, which was released last Friday, will include six Northern Sun Conference duals, the NCAA Super Region V Championships and the NCAA Division II Championships. The conference duals will be split with three home competitions and three on the road. The regional event is slated to take place in Aberdeen, S.D., while the championships' location is still to be determined.