Kendric Maple got his hand raised as the 141-pound NCAA national champion in 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa, as a wrestler at Oklahoma.
He will go for another title in Iowa, this time Iowa City, as he will wrestle at the UWW Freestyle World Cup this weekend.
Five years removed from that championship, Maple’s life looks a lot different now.
He is on the other side of the whistle, and just finished his first year as an assistant to Mark Manning on the Nebraska wrestling team.
But that isn’t all.
Maple got married since his 2013 graduation, and he and his wife, Jordin, now have a son, Kiner.
“By the time I get home, it’s hard to get up off the couch sometimes. It’s even harder when I got my son trying to wrestle me,” Maple said. “It’s a demanding spot, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
In fact, that is the reason Maple came to Nebraska.
Jordan Burroughs and Bryan Snyder are both new dads and are everyday figures in the Nebraska wrestling room.
“We got a lot of kids running around, and Manning makes it an environment where we can have our kids around. It’s just a big family atmosphere,” Maple said.
That big family of Maple’s will be taking on the World Cup, and not just his wife and son.
“I know I’ll be able to hear Coach Manning yelling on the side of the mat. It’s just amazing to be surrounded by such a great atmosphere,” Maple said.
There have been a lot of changes in Maple’s life in the past four years, but one thing hasn’t changed.
“I’m just going to go out there, be loose and let it go. I’m out there to be competitive, and be the best I can be,” Maple said.
That best has been a lot in the past, but Maple said no matter what happens this weekend, he is happy as long as he is getting his offense going and giving the fans a show.
Maple will head into Iowa City to face Kazuya Koyanagi of Japan in the USA’s first dual at 10 a.m.
Tickets available for Final X event: USA Wrestling and FloSports announced that tickets are available to the general public for the Final X Series event on June 9 at the Devaney Sports Center.
The event will determine the U.S. Senior World Teams in men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling. The top two wrestlers in each of seven weight classes will compete in a best-of-three series, with winners earning spots on the U.S. team to compete at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 20-28. The weight classes assigned to Lincoln are: men's freestyle (57 kilograms, 70 kg, 74 kg, 97 kg) and women's freestyle (55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg).
The event starts at 6 p.m. and tickets can be ordered at www.FinalX.tv with prices ranges of $75 (VIP), $50 (reserved seating), $30 (general admission) and ages 2 and under free.
The Lincoln Final X event is the first in a three-city series.