I watched Paul Glynn II compete on the wrestling mat, pretty much from the time he began wrestling all the way until the conclusion of his career. He and my brother, Shea wrestled probably 20. That’s a kid who never failed to make consistent progressions every year that he competed. Every year he made strides. When I first saw him as a Pee-Wee wrestler, he was a “fringe-placer.” One of those guys who would place in the 6-8th range or sometimes be beaten out. By the time he was a Senior in HS, he was one of the best pound for pound wrestlers in his graduating class and has a legit case for being one of the best wrestlers of all time to not win a state title. And he had a tenure for the Iowa Hawkeyes where he was their starter, so he obviously continued to prosper in college, for simply making that roster is a testament to someone’s skill level and toughness.
There is one year that sticks out to me in terms of it being a turning point in Paul Glynn’s career. When he was a 7th or 8th grader, I saw him have one of the worst weekends of his life at state freestyle and Greco. He took some ugly losses to guys that should have never beaten him and he was incredibly upset about it. I don’t know if that bad weekend had an impact on him or not, but I always thought so, for he was at a different level the following season and never looked back. Those guys who beat him that terrible weekend at Freco State would never come close to beating him again. It seemed like his foot was on the accelerator from that point on.
I always liked running into the Glynn family at wrestling events. They were always cordial, polite and professional. There was never any hostility from them, even in the most heated of matches. They always treated us with the utmost respect. And when you would converse with them, they always asked how you were doing and always offered to help out if in need. I don’t think Paul Glynn Sr. ever forgot the name of someone he met at a wrestling event or whatever it may have been that was discussed with him. It’s always refreshing, knowing that someone is actually listening to you when you talk to them.
What is interesting about the Glynn father-and-son duo is that they both had similar and rather unfortunate conclusions to their tenures wrestling for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Paul Glynn Sr. was ranked 2nd in the nation for the Hawkeyes and lost his varsity spot in the last week of challenge matches to Brad Penrith, who went on to become a National Champion. Paul Glynn II was the 133 lb. starter for the Hawkeyes his Sophomore year and the projected 133 lb. starter for the remainder of his career until he lost his spot to Austin Desanto, who transferred in Paul’s Junior year and is now a multiple AA. Both situations obviously unfortunate for them, but on the bright side, they have so much to be proud of just being on that team, and they both undoubtedly played roles in the success the starters had via working out/practicing and just being supportive in general… which from my experiences with the Glynn’s, is the way they naturally are (supportive).
Paul Glynn…A GREAT wrestler and a very intelligent, insightful person. Here is his story!!!
PinDox: What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
– I wrestled for Bettendorf my whole life. I wrestled in the Bettendorf wrestling club and young guns throughout middle school. In high school, I went to Big Game wrestling club and was mainly coached by Joey Slaton in the offseason.
PinDox: What year did you graduate?
-I graduated in 2015
PinDox: Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
-My dad got me into wrestling once I could start walking. He was the main reason why I became a wrestler.
PinDox: Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
-My dad wrestled and my uncle Mike did as well. My dad won the Iowa High school state tournament as a Senior and my uncle Mike got 4th. My dad went on to wrestle under Dan Gable In the 80’s where they won five national titles while he was in college. My dad was ranked 2nd in the country as a senior and was eventually beat out by teammate Brad Penrith who then went on to win the Big Ten’s and NCAA championship.
PinDox: What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
-I was always the kid who would qualify for state, but never had any real success as a kid. I played 4th in 7th grade and took 6th in 8th grade. My rivals growing up were Nolan Hellickson, Travis Willers, Hunter Washburn, Shea Swafford, Carter Happel, and Matt Wempen.
PinDox: What was your record in HS?
-Not sure on my exact record in High School but I believe I had it was something like 115-29.
PinDox: How did you place at state every year?
-I was on JV my first year of high school. My sophomore year I was a qualifier, my Junior year I took second to Alijah Jeffries, and my senior year I lose to Michael Zachary.
PinDox: What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
-There are so many moments in the sport of wrestling that gave me challenges and adversity and that is what makes this sport so great. You really find out who you are as a man and what you are made of. The top moments that really stick out to me while looking back at my career is my semi finals match at state my Junior year where I beat Michael Zachary to make my first state finals. In that moment, I had a lot of satisfaction. I had fallen short the year before and was on JV just two years before that. It took a lot of work and positive self talk to get there. In college, the big adversity I faced was when Austin Desanto transferred in my Junior year after I was the starter the year before. While most people would have transferred and switched schools, I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I wanted out of this sport and stuck it out at Iowa. That moment and event taught me to stick to your guns and fight for what you want. In the process of chasing the starting position at Iowa, I knew nothing was going to be guaranteed and it wasn’t going to be something easy. I was cutting a lot of weight to make 133. I remember going for runs at 9 at night on a Saturday night in college by myself, visualizing chasing down that spot. Nobody knew the work I was doing other than my roommate Michael Kemerer. I think what I am trying to say is that you learn to fall in love with the process in moments like that. There’s something exciting about chasing down something that is challenging and hard. At the end of the day, I fell short of beating out Desanto. But in the end, looking back, I know I gave it my all and because of Austin Desanto transferring in, it elevated me. And in the moments where I got to start my Junior and Senior year, I was ready.
PinDox: How would you describe your wrestling style?
-Passionate and Gritty. Someone who would fight for every point. I wasn’t the most talented or gifted, but when I went out on the mat I gave it everything I had.
PinDox: How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
-Brenden Gould from Assumption and Henry Pohlmeyer from Johnston. One guy that sticks out to me also is Nathan Sands. I ended up winning every match, but they were all super close. I think we wrestled 15 times in three years.
PinDox: Who was your most influential coach?
-My dad, Dan knight, Joe Slaton, And my college coaches. They all taught me so much not in my sport, but In life. I still keep in touch with most of them today.
PinDox: Was your team competitive in HS/college?
-Both high school and college teams were competing for the championship every year. My senior year in college, we went undefeated and won the Big 10’s. Unfortunately, our season was cut short because of Covid.
PinDox: Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
PinDox: Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
PinDox: Are there any wrestlers you’ve seen, past or present that you would compare your style to?
-That’s a tough question. Not really. Maybe Alex Meyer who was my teammate in college. We both had a lot of matches where we came back and won. Both of us grinded out matches and were gritty.
PinDox: What are some interesting hypothetical matchups between guys from different eras that you would have been interesting in seeing?
-My dad vs me. We always joke about who would have won.
PinDox: Who are some Iowa HS wrestling guys from your era that you have an immense amount of respect for?
-There’s so many to name. I take a lot of pride being from Iowa and all the kids I grew up wrestling with. Carter Happel and Nolan Hellickson sticks out to me a lot because we wrestled all the time in the off-season together. Another that I always looked up to in high school was Max Thomsen. He was extremely driven and always worked super hard. I always respected him for that. Besides that, everyone who I would wrestle on summer teams with.
PinDox: Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
Michael Kemerer, Spencer Lee, Thomas Gilman, Alex Marinelli, and Jacob Warner. Pretty much any of my old teammates. I love those guys and want to see them do great things on the mat and in life.
PinDox: What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
-Anything that made me calm and fired up at the same time.
PinDox: What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
-My senior year state finals. I remember being in tears on the award stand and was made fun of a lot for that. But it broke my heart because I put in everything for that moment. Everything is earned in this sport and nothing is given. That’s what makes it great. There are no guarantees.
PinDox: If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
-Obviously there is stuff that you always reflect on. However, I would say nothing. I believe and accept that everything in my career shaped me and taught me lessons for a REASON. When I was wrestling, I had the decision then to make the choice to be as good as I could be. That’s why when looking back, I don’t wish I could go back and change anything in my career because I also know that I poured my heart into it.
PinDox: What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
-Placing 5th at the midlands as a backup at the Midlands or beating Dylan Duncan from Illinois as a Junior. I say this because the year before he beat me 10-0 at the big tens. It showed how much I improved in one year. Also, beating Phillip Laux in my wrestle off as a sophomore. No one believed I was going to be able to beat him before the match.
PinDox: Who were some of your most notable competitors in high school? College?
-In high school it was Brendan should from Assumption, Carter Happel from Lisbon, Nolan Hellickson from SEP, Michael Zachary from Dowling, and Kade Brock from Oklahoma. I think I wrestled Kaid 10 plus times throughout highschool. In college it was Dylan Duncan from Illinois, Colin Valvideaz from Northwestern and Garret Pepple from Michigan State
PinDox: Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
PinDox: How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys from your dad’s day?
-I believe my generation of wrestling is truly something special but his was as well. With the way wrestling has evolved, I believe that my era would definitely win. However, the guys back then would have been studs today as well so it’s hard to say. Can’t give the old guys to much credit now.
PinDox: What stories do you remember hearing from your dad growing up about his wrestling career? What were some names you remember hearing about? Do you think his era was tough?
-His era was incredibly tough. So many good guys came from that time period. There are to many stories to bring up. He had multiple from high school and college that he would always tell me as a kid growing up. I really think that’s how I fell in love with the sport.
PinDox: How proud are you to be a 2nd generation Bettendorf Wrestling product?
-I am proud of that but always wanted to write my own story. I am super proud of my dads accomplishments, but this journey of wrestling was about writing my own story.
PinDox: How would you describe some of the personalities on the Iowa Hawkeye team you were a part of?
-To many to describe and go over. So many different personalities but love all those guys.
PinDox: How strong willed does a person need to be to make it through an entire college career as a Hawkeye wrestler, as you did?
-Extremely strong willed and passionate. I have a few guys I graduated with that never started a match and stuck with the program for five years. I respect the hell out of them.
PinDox: Did you wrestle after high school?
-Yes at Iowa.
PinDox: What sports did you play? How did you do in each of them?
-Growing up I played legit probably every sport. Soccer was by far my best and I ended up quitting in 8th grade to focus on wrestling.
PinDox: What are your favorite sports teams?
-Cardinals, Lakers, and the Raiders.
PinDox: What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
-I loved to fish and do stuff outside.
PinDox: How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
-I love giving back to the sport. It has taught me so much and it’s hard to imagine my life without it.
PinDox: How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
-It has shaped me into being able to deal with hardships and adversity. It has also taught me how to have extremely good work ethic.
PinDox: What do you do now?
-Medical Sales for a company called Stryker.
PinDox: Are you still involved with wrestling?
-I took a lot of time off of the sport this past year. However, I wrestle sometimes up in Indiana with a high schooler named Jesse Mendez and just started as a volunteer assistant at the University of Chicago.
PinDox: Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
-Just enjoy the sport and the memories. At the end of the day, it really is just a sport. Learn to have fun and work hard. Never give up and never let anyone tell you what you can do or be.
PinDox: Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
-Maybe one more match
PinDox: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
-Michael Kemerer. He was my roommate for 5 years in college and has been with me through a lot of hard moments and great moments as well. He’s a loyal friend, who I still talk to a really good amount. I consider him family.
PinDox: Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia? Etc.
PAUL GLYNN-Nothing else to add. I love this content you put out!