Interview With Newest Hawkeye Mike Humpal
Mike Humpal is your ordinary average small town superstar who does everything but sell the popcorn for his school.
Humpal won the 215-pound class 2A State wrestling title last year, but he probably never weighed more than 205 at any point in time during the season.
"It was a great feeling to win the state title in wrestling. Just great." Humpal said succinctly, yet it was sufficient. "But that will be behind me at Iowa, as I will be all about football. At least as of right now, those are my plans."
Then there was the 2nd place finish at the state track meet in the 110-meter high hurdles, the 8th place finish in the discuss and taking part in New Hampton's state qualifying 4x100 relay team.
I forgot to mention that Mike plays football, too. And as of Thursday, September 19th, 2002, he pledged his verbal commitment to play for Kirk Ferentz's Iowa Hawkeyes.
"It's a great feeling, as I have had my sights on Iowa for a while now," said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker and tailback. "I have been to their summer camp the past two years and I have been impressed with the way they do things compared to everyone else and I am looking forward to it."
The lifelong New Hampton native didn't necessarily have a favorite college team, as he grew up next to the University of Northern Iowa and his hometown is about equidistant from Iowa City and Ames.
"I guess I never really had a favorite team. My oldest brother went to Iowa State, so I followed both schools." Humpal said.
Believe it or not, when Humpal visited Iowa City last weekend, it was the first game he has ever attended in person.
"It was pretty awesome to see all of those energetic people in the stands. I am sure that my adrenaline will be pumping the first time I run out of that tunnel," said Humpal, who will likely start out as a linebacker at Iowa.
In addition to Humpal's athletic exploits, he is also an outstanding student, carrying a grade point average above 3.9. He is also a cerebral football player and he even breaks down game film of his opposition to get that extra edge, something that is uncommon at the high school level.
"It gives me an understanding on what the other team is going to do, that way it's not a big surprise on Friday nights when I play. By watching tape, I can get a feel for what they will try to throw at us and I will know how to react."
Through the first two games of the season, Humpal had gained more than 200-yards in each contest on just 32 carries. Six of those carries went for touchdowns.
While the Hawkeyes had been aware of Humpal for the past few years and had recently shown more of an interest in him, the scholarship offer that came from Iowa on Thursday was somewhat out of the clear blue.
"It was a great surprise. It has been something that I have been working hard for all through high school and Iowa is where I wanted to go to school," said Humpal. "So I was surprised when they offered."
"My parents were very surprised and excited. It's going to save them a lot of money. They wanted to make sure that its what I wanted to do and they were fine with it."
Iowa offered Humpal during the school day on Thursday. Humpal called Iowa back later that night to commit.
As far as his studies are concerned, Humpal is going to have an opportunity to learn from one of the best in the field he is thinking about pursuing.
"I want to be in something sports related. I think that maybe I want to be a strength and conditioning coach." Humpal said.
Iowa's strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle has won national awards in that field, and Humpal is excited to study and train under his watchful eye.
"I am real impressed with Coach Doyle and I am looking forward to get there and learn from him. Their facilities are exceptional, some of the best in the nation," said Humpal, who has been an avid weightlifter for the past four seasons.
Humpal realizes that linebackers don't get too many opportunities to score touchdowns, but they do get a chance to knock an opponent off of his feet. So which feeling does he like better?
"They are both a lot of fun,'" Humpal said. "As long as I can contribute to the team and give my best effort, I don't care what I am doing."
Photo's courtesy of Matt Pfiffner and The Predicament, a website dedicated to wrestling in the state of Iowa. Thank you, Matt for giving us permission to use your photo's.