Hard work, persistence propel Chase Flack to ISU wrestling roster

Text/photos: Chuck Signs

The lack of early success in wrestling is no predictor of future achievement. Chase Flack is proof.

After trying to learn wrestling moves and competing at kids tournaments, young Chase didn’t care much for the sport. For about two years he didn’t win a match.

But he stayed with it, kept learning and he’s glad that he did. Now an Iowa State University wrestler, his resume includes a record-setting 146 victories against just 17 losses at Jefferson-Scranton-Paton-Churdan High School, the school record for most points scored and two third-place state tournament medals.

“I had some friends who were into wrestling and my brother’s best friend was a good wrestler. I was kind of scared of it,” Flack said.

“I didn’t wrestle in tournaments for a bout a year because I was kind of scared. I didn’t think I was good enough. I never won a match until seventh grade. I kept getting beat. In eighth grade I started getting some technique and some moves. That got me motivated for high school,” he said.

As he continued his wrestling, the 2011 JSPC grad noticed how he was benefiting from the sport.

“When I got older I realized what wrestling was doing for me, making me more healthy. It has taught me so much about nutrition and weight management. It taught me so much about my body. I didn’t realize that wrestling would be taking me this far and opening up opportunities. I didn’t even think I would wrestle in high school.

“In middle school I started having some success and you get addicted to it. It grows on you. I was addicted to the competitive side of it.”

Flack’s freshman season was especially challenging. At only 95 pounds, he was outweighed by most of his opponents in the 103-pound weight class. He also had to bump u to 112 for part of the season to fill that spot. “My coach had a lot of faith in me to keep bumping me up.”

He lost some matches at 112, but still compiled a 30-plus win season, winning his sectional tournament and placing third at district.

“It got me thinking that maybe I can go to state. That motivated me to work out in the summer to get better for the next year,” Flack said.

Flack earned a place on the state tournament medal stand in his junior year, winning third.

“It really got me motivated for my senior year. I worked out pretty hard in the summer and didn’t lose a match since quarterfinals at state. I lost my quarterfinal match and then won four in a row to get third. It was disappointing, but at least I came back to win my last high school match.”

Flack credits his family for supporting him. He has wrestled with his brother, Clint, since they were young. “We were born a year apart and pretty much did everything together. We started wrestling at the same time,” Chase said.

Flack redshirted his freshman year (2011-12). Competing unattached at 125, he won two of three matches.

Flack said wrestling is an especially physically and mentally demanding sport. The key requirement: Hard work.

“It takes a lot of dedication. You’ve just got to keep telling yourself how bad you want to win. I knew I was physically ready because I would work out twice a day. For me it was getting up every morning and running three miles. And it wasn’t an option. It was ‘you get up in the morning and run otherwise you aren’t going to make weight to wrestle.’

“It has made me more mentally tough because of everything you go through. You can’t have doubt in your mind. You have to stay on the right track.”