Michael Scarponi made an impression in the wrestling program becoming the first freshman to pin down 20 wins in his first season with the Tigers.
The announcement was made by Doane Athletics on Feb. 1, after the Sioux City Dave Edmonds Open, but according to Scarponi those wins also included forfeits.
To him, forfeits are not wins.
His real 20 wins came later at the Tigers’ home meet against Northwestern College on Feb. 6.
Scarponi comes from Temecula, Calif. and came to Doane in the fall because he saw Doane wrestling as a hopeful program and the school made education a priority.
Scarponi began wrestling in eighth-grade and has been wrestling ever since.
“I saw a flier for wrestling at school and took it home and said I wanted to do this,” Scarponi said.
From the beginning Scarponi had a talent in the sport.
“The leverage I had made it [the sport] more interesting,” Scarponi said.
Scarponi has not always wanted to pursue wrestling after high school. He wasn't sure if he was going to continue in college.
He ended up enjoying the success he had his senior year and decided to continue.
Doane wrestling graduate assistant Kodie Cole said that Scarponi’s high school was known to produce well-rounded athletes and Scarponi was no different.
Cole helped recruit Scarponi and since has become a coach and mentor to him.
“He [Scarponi] comes to the [practice] room to get better,” Cole said. “He realized the more work he puts in, the better he is going to get.”
Scarponi’s mentality for competitions is to just go out there and do his best.
“I get set in the right mindset, be aware of my surroundings and remember my past mistakes to make sure I don’t do them again,” Scarponi said.
Cole said that he looks up to Scarponi as an athlete and has an almost father and son relationship with a lot of the team, including Scarponi.
“He [Scarponi] is genuine, honest, kind-hearted and has a strong work ethic,” Cole said.
Scarponi posted a 26-14 record this year, according to Doane Athletics. He went 6-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference matches and was named Second Team in the 2020 All-GPAC list for his freshman year action.