For Dodge City senior Jacob Eggers, this past season was a crucial one when it came to determining his wrestling future beyond the red and blue mats inside the high school. During his junior year, after coming off a fifth place finish at the 6A State tournament the year before, he gave head coach Lars Lueders a list of five colleges where he would like to continue his wrestling career once his Demon days were done.


For Dodge City senior Jacob Eggers, this past season was a crucial one when it came to determining his wrestling future beyond the red and blue mats inside the high school. During his junior year, after coming off a fifth place finish at the 6A State tournament the year before, he gave head coach Lars Lueders a list of five colleges where he would like to continue his wrestling career once his Demon days were done.
     Fast forward two years and two third place 6A State finishes later, and Eggers will don the crimson and gold of the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks in Grand Junction, Colo., next fall.
     On Tuesday morning, Eggers signed his official National Letter of Intent with CMU, following in the footsteps of Lueders, who wrestled for Division II Western State. Both schools are members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which features some of the premiere wrestlers at the Division II level. Colorado Mesa finished fifth in the RMAC this past year and had two All-Americans on their roster.
     “The whole recruiting process was a lot of coaches calling me, wanting me to come to their campus, check out their facilities, and meet my potential future teammates,” Eggers said. “So I went and hung out with the team, met the coaching staff, and basically decided which team I liked better and where I fit in more. Also money played a big factor, but those other factors helped me make my decision the most.”
     Eggers is coming off an impressive performance at the National Duals tournament in Virginia Beach, where he was vying to become just the third All-American in the history of the Demon wrestling program. He ended up going 3-2, losing in double overtime against a two-time State champion from Colorado, which kept him inches short of claiming that coveted All-American status.
     Despite falling just short of his goal, his performance against highly talented opponents made schools recruiting him a little more aware of his presence. So with that experience under their belt, the Mavericks from Grand Junction swooped and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
     “A lot of coaches starting calling me after Senior Nationals,” Lueders said. “The whole process up to that point had been pretty slow, but once they saw him on a national stage and saw him perform really well, people kind of opened their eyes a little bit towards him. So after that, everything became very hectic in getting him to sign somewhere.”
     He is leaving behind a storied career at Dodge City, where he was a two-time team captain, a three-time 6A State medalist (two third place finishes and a fifth place), and he was the 2011 6A Regional Wrestler of the Year. He was a senior leader on a Demon team that finished in the top-10 in the state once again, the fourth consecutive time that Dodge City has accomplished that feat.
     Eventually, Eggers said he narrowed his decision down to Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., and Colorado Mesa, which are both heavy wrestling schools in the state of Colorado. But for Eggers, who wants to major in wildlife biology, the move west was an important one because it offered him a better opportunity to learn about different types of wildlife in the Rocky Mountain area.
     “I know going out to Colorado was important to him because of his major, so I’m happy he’s getting to go where he wants to,” Lueders said. “I'm just very excited for him and know he's going to a great place."
     But now that he’s officially done with his Demon wrestling career and moving on to the next level, Eggers has time to reflect on his past four years as a Dodge City wrestler, where he will attempt to transfer some of the things he learned from Lueders to the collegiate realm.
     “I’m definitely going to miss the teammates that I’ve hung out with for the past four or five years and picking on coach Lueders every now and again,” Eggers said. “You have to be mentally tough wherever you go and you can’t go into a situation with your least and expect the best. You have to be the best to get the best, which is something coach taught me.”
     As for Lueders, he hopes that some of the younger wrestlers view Eggers’ path to collegiate wrestling and take the initiative to further their athletic career by taking advantage of their opportunities early on. It is a long road, but it’s one that can be achieved if they are willing to work for it.
     “I hope they realize that they need to get on things quickly, take their ACTs as soon as possible, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse, get out to national tournaments to showcase themselves, things like that,” he said. “Jacob’s signing hopefully opened some eyes that they need to take action and if you get out there and get your name out, you have a chance to go anywhere.”