• 11 NCAA Div. III national team championships
  • 31 NCAA Div. III individual championships
  • 161 Iowa Conference titles
  • 23 Iowa Conference all-sports titles
Joseph's photo

Joseph Atwell

Senior, wrestling

(What you won't find on Facebook...even if you are approved as a friend)


Hometown: Jamaica, Iowa

High School: Panorama

Why Central?
I chose Central because I saw a great opportunity to wrestle early and often. Coach Van Kley was another great reason I came to Central. He has laid the foundation for Central to be good for several years to come.

Best class you’ve taken
It’s a tie between Outdoor Pursuits and Principals and Theories of Strength and Conditioning. Outdoor Pursuits because of the activities we got to do and it taught us how to program certain events. Principals and Theories of S&C because it was incredibly interesting and Coach Johnson made the class much easier to understand.

Dream job
My dream job would be a head collegiate wrestling coach someday. But for now I would really like to coach underneath Coach Van Kley and Coach Donahue, that way I can learn how to become a successful coach myself.

Thing you like best about your team
Definitely has to be the family atmosphere. Hands down. We all go through the same thing and we feel the same pain. When you have someone who does the hard things with you, you learn to respect that person and you want them to succeed.

Favorite Central memory
So far it has to be going to nationals last year. It was great to represent Central on that big of a stage and it’ll be a moment that I’ll never forget.

Toughest person on the team to wrestle against 
There are too many to choose from. Each one of us on the team has our own style but we all share toughness that is extremely hard to beat. That is one of the reason we are having such a great season so far.          

Coolest thing about competing in the NCAA championships
Hearing your name being called and knowing that you are one of the best in the nation. Another was winning a match and being so close to All-American last year. It showed how good I can be and how hard I need to work to achieve that accomplishment.

Your first CD
Oh I’d have to say the Backstreet Boys. I’m a sucker for good music.

Person past or present you’d like to have lunch with
Bill Cosby. He’s got some great stories and it would fun to hear them all.

When people ask you why you wrestle, you say
Because I can’t hit a 90 mile an hour fastball. No, I wrestle because it came naturally to me and it’s hard but fun at the same time

What you like best about Central’s coaches
How despite how different each coach and his coaching style is, they all have the same goal in mind: to make us better people and better wrestlers. The reason better people is first is because we can only wrestle for so long before we’re done as a competitor, but the lessons that the coaches teach us can stay around and help shape us into people that work hard and never give up in anything they do.

Favorite part of practice
The practices aren’t really fun but they’re not supposed to be. We have them to get better and you have to make it fun. I actually enjoy every part of practice including the hard things like conditioning. It’s strange but I think all of practice is fun.   

What you don’t miss about wrestling with your brother
Not having to deal with the soreness afterwards. For a while it used to be a knock-out, drag-out fight, but now it’s a pretty one-sided affair. I mean not even close. (I win every time.)

All-time greatest wrestler
I’d say it’s a tie between Dan Gable and John Smith. Dan Gable for his toughness and his always push forward mentality and John a Smith because of 2 Olympic Gold and 6 World Championships.           

Sporting event you’d love to attend
I’d actually like to attend the Olympics. Seeing the greatest in the world would be incredible.

Movie you quote too much
I can’t just choose one. I have WAY too many to pick. 

Thing that makes wrestling such a cool sport
Wrestling’s a cool sport because it’s so much more of a mental chess match than people realize. You have to be able to think a step ahead of your opponent and react to what they are going to do at the same time. Also when you can get to a higher level, you don’t even have to see what your opponent is doing, you can feel it and you can just react. 

Bucket list
Get married
Have a family
Attend the Olympics
Get a coaching job for wrestling
Hit a 90 mile an hour fastball


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