PinDox Profile: Christian Stanek; CR Xavier HS ‘22/Big Game WC/Iowa State Cyclones (Committed)
I don’t know if this is true or not, for I’ve only heard this story via “hear-say,” but word is, this kid went out for wrestling inadvertently as a young kid and essentially started wrestling because of a mistake. I heard he brought home a flier from school that he thought was for boxing or Karate, but it was actually for wrestling and he didn’t know this until he attended the practice. Thank goodness he apparently liked the experience, for the 2022 Iowa HS Graduating Class Of Wrestlers would be incomplete today if it didn’t have Christian Stanek in the mix.
Out of all of Iowa’s “in-state” Division 1 recruits/commitment to take place in this 2022 graduating high school class, Christian is one that sticks out to me as being a “sneaky-good” pick-up and potentially a “steal” of a recruit that the Iowa State Cyclones received a commitment from in late November this past year… This kid isn’t regarded by the wrestling recruiting pundits/die-hard fans as being any sort of a “can’t miss blue-chipper recruit” as of yet. To this point, he hasn’t really ventured out to the national level in terms of competing and what-not. Also, he semi-recently finished a HS career in which unfortunately, never resulted in him standing on top of the Iowa HS State Wrestling podium, for he was a 4X placer in HS going 8-6-3-3. In fact, a lot of Cyclone wrestling fans may have perceived his recruitment as one that may have been made only to provide the Cyclones with depth or “room guys” considering the fact that he does not fit the typical profile of the standard “can’t miss blue-chipper” recruit who is flourished with a full-ride and what-not. BUT HEAR ME OUT… Christian Stanek epitomizes the type of college wrestling recruit in which if you were to predict how he were to do based on his HS wrestling stats/resume, your prediction(s) may be way off, for Stanek’s HS wrestling does not tell the whole story with him… Not at all. I’m not sure if some fans realize how much potential this kid actually has.
So to start and as mentioned, Christian Stanek came into CR Xavier HS as a highly-anticipated Freshman, for he was an AAU State champion as an 8th grader and he lived up to the expectations, for he became a 4X HS Placer. I don’t know what your standards may be for wrestling, but with my own standards, being a 4X placer is GREAT. He placed 8th at an upperclassmen-infested 3A 132 as an undersized Freshman in 2019 and finished with a record of 33-12. He was 6th as a Sophomore at 3A 138 in 2020 and finished with a record of 39-8 that season. Christian was 3rd at 3A 145 as a Junior in 2021 and finished with a record of 38-1, his only loss that year coming to Dreyzon Phillips of Fort Dodge at the state tournament. He was 3rd again as a Senior at 3A 160 this year and finished with a record of 37-5 with his 5 losses coming to a combination of one 3-2 loss to 3X State Champ, Robert Avila (IC West), two to 2X state champ Aiden Riggins (W-SR), 2X 3rd placer in 2A Allen Catour of Assumption and 2A State Finalist, Garrett Seaba of Clarion-Goldfield. He had a career record of 147-26. On top of this, Christian won the very tough MVC Conference Championship Tournament at least twice, maybe two times.
As mentioned, to my personal standards, Christian Stanek put together an outstanding HS wrestling career. A 4X placer who started out at 132 as a Freshman which included two performances in which he only lost one match at the tournament?! To me, that’s great, but of course I only placed once myself. However, some of your more cynical wrestling critics may have had him written off as a legit D1 recruit from the moment they read that he didn’t win state or didn’t do as much at the national level as the typical “blue-chip D1 recruit.” If you are swaying near that side of the fence, I’d like to ask you again to please hear me out on this kid.
Christian was/is a member of one of the toughest wrestling “super-clubs” in the state…Dylan Carew’s Big Game Wrestling Club. While he hasn’t competed in as many offseason wrestling events compared to most of the kids who are part of that club, the fact that he routinely attended those practices says a lot in itself, for Christian is a wrestler who can be classified as a type that is becoming somewhat of a dying breed in our sport the more time goes on… the multisport wrestler. This is the type that my entire family would probably be classified as, so I have a personal affinity for these types of wrestlers, especially in this day and age when being a multi-sporter wrestler is to a certain extent is discouraged by many and a large percentage of these guys can be disregarded/ignored on the recruiting trail. These days, most elite-level HS wrestlers with serious D1 wrestling collegiate aspirations are encouraged to specialize in only wrestling if they have any realistic goals of competing at the that level, especially when it comes to 3A wrestlers, like Christian. While some of Christian’s workout partners at Big Game WC were able to focus on wrestling and only wrestling, all-year-round, before, during and after practice, Christian on the other hand would attend the same workouts, but AFTER he was finished with football or baseball practice. Which leads me to reason number 1 as to why I believe Christian Stanek may be a sleeper recruit at the D1 level… Which is the fact that he has great athletic versatility/adaptability and has absolutely proven it. Christian was very involved in multiple activities in HS along with wrestling and has succeeded/performed at a high level at everything he has done in HS. He is a high honor student, a standout on the baseball diamond and an absolute FORCE on the football field. Christian was part of a 2021 CR Xavier football team that was 2nd at the state football tournament this year in class 4A and was a triple-OT finals loss to CB Lewis Central away from winning the championship. Stanek was absolutely one of the most important components which led this team to these great heights. Christian was a nightmare to opposing football teams, for he had to be accounted for on almost every play of the game, for he was outstanding on both sides of the ball. He was 2nd team all-state LB on defense and was a TD-scoring machine as RB on offense who had scored something like 7-8 touchdowns combined in the 3 games leading into the state finals. If an opposing team failed to pay close attention to Stanek when they played CR Xavier, he would create a plethora of problems for them. In fact, he had the ability to create a plethora of problems for opposing teams when they DID keep a close watch on him, for he is just that good of a football player/athlete. And he is obviously held in high regard by his teammates, for he was voted as a team captain, to boot! That speaks volumes as well, for it indicates that he has a good head on his shoulders and is respected by his peers/teammates. That can go a long way and not all high-level athletes can say they accomplished that feat. Ok, so what if Christian didn’t beat a bunch of world-beaters at Fargo Nationals over the summer… he obviously was making the most of his time away from events like these at football practice. Not like he was at home twiddling his thumbs. He was working on other goals and ACCOMPLISHING THEM as well! So what if he wasn’t a Preseason National Tournament champ. Can you really knock the kid for that, considering that while PSN and other tournaments like it were unraveling, Christian was helping lead his HS football team to a runner-up finish at state?! I doubt Christian would trade that experience for a dozen PSN titles… I know I wouldn’t. You only get one time in your life to experience those moments with your friends. The fact that this kid accomplished what he has accomplished in multiple sports besides wrestling does not indicate to me that he isn’t a viable recruit due to not being a full-time wrestler in HS, like most D1 recruits. To me, it reflects his athletic versatility and makes me wonder how much more he could accomplish once he gets on a full-time wrestling schedule. Nothing wrong with a guy who has PROVEN tremendous athletic upside.
My 2nd reason for believing this kid has potential for a high ceiling at the D1 level is because since the first time I have watched him wrestle, he has simply passed my personal “eye test” as being a wrestler with a TON of talent. For whatever that’s worth… lol, maybe not much, but 🤷♂️. I did the 3A rankings for The Predicament during Christian’s Freshman season in 2019 and he was one of the first lower-middleweight Freshmen that caught my eye that year… He may have been the first non-lightweight Freshman that I ranked that year and when I ranked him, I was razzed by a couple of my wrestling junkie friends for ranking a Freshman 3A 132 lber so early in the season and for the remainder of it. One of my friends told me I was “crazy” for thinking he would place that year. I even received an email from an upset coach who basically called me stupid for having Christian ranked above his guy… You can imagine how good it felt to rub it in their faces when this kid went on to place at state! Anyways, the first time I saw Stanek was at his high school’s tournament, The Doug Phillip Duals at CR Xavier. I go to that one as much as I can, for not only did Mepo go there for years, but the man that the tournament is named after, Doug Phillip, was a CR Xavier stud in the early 2000’s and was one of the first two friends I made at Loras College my freshman year along with a 2X placer from Clinton named Josh Peterson. Doug tragically passed away during our first semester at Loras by means of an accident… I was nearby when this accident took place and even hung out with him the evening it occurred. It was a terrible ordeal. A great soul was lost that night, and nowadays, I try to make that tournament when I can, simply to pay homage to Doug. In 2019, I attended this tournament and at one point was starting to drift off and almost fell asleep when something wild caught my attention… the CR Xavier kid on the mat in front of me recorded a :06 pin. In 30+ years of going to wrestling events, that pin is tied for the fastest pin I have ever seen in person, in my entire lifetime. I saw Drew Foster do it for Mepo as a Freshman in 2011, recording a :06 pin that broke the previous Mepo Wrestling fastest fall record that was set 33 years earlier in 1978. The guy who held that record for so long…Mark Swafford, my dad. And who was in Drew’s corner when he broke the record? You guessed it, my dad was in Drew’s corner. That pin and the one that happened in front of me at the Doug Phillip Duals by the CR Xavier kid are to this day, the fastest falls I ever witnessed in person. In the 1000+ matches I competed in myself, I never came close… and I held the career and single season falls record at Mepo for a couple seasons. Closest I came prior to college was a couple of 10 second pins. In college, somehow I pulled off an :08 second pin one time… With any fall I ever recorded in the 10 second range, it felt like I did it so quickly, that there wasn’t any way possible that I could have pinned a guy any quicker. :08 seconds seemed like the absolute quickest I could possibly ever pin someone… In fact, it felt like my opponent helped me accomplish it. I felt like I should have thanked him when we shook hands. The thought of pinning a guy in :06 seconds is just incredible to me. That is fast. Naturally, after witnessing this, I looked up who it was that did this and to my surprise it was a Freshman…Christian Stanek. I’ve tried to catch his matches when I could ever since and not only is he a fun wrestler to watch due to being so explosive and mat-saavy, but he is just REALLY talented in almost every facet of the game. He operated like an upperclassman as a 132 lb UNDERSIZED Freshman and has done nothing, but continued to build from there. He stays in great position. He has a nice offense and defense. He has a slick shot that seems to improve every year as his strength increases. He is quick. He is a good scrambler. He is able to detect when a guy is out of position and rarely fails to capitalize on it. The talent/potential is THERE with him. Sure, he has taken some losses the past few years that have been a bit ugly at times on paper, most notably the couple losses he took to Aiden Riggins of Waverly-Shell Rock this past season. However, every area that he may have been lacking that interfered with his ability to go with a guy like Riggins is 100% correctable as long as the guy has the work ethic and athletic talent to do so… Stanek for sure has the athletic ability and all sources seem to indicate that he has the work ethic to continue to grow as a wrestler as well. To me, it appears that for Christian to lift his game to the next level, it’d be a matter of a few things. One would be fine-tuning a few things with his technique, particularly set-ups from the feet to where he can flow and chain-wrestle confidently at all times. Another thing that needs to happen for him to succeed is that he needs to continue to “let it fly” when he finds himself in a wrestling situation where he may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar. In some of the matches where he has struggled, it seemed as if there would be brief pauses in certain situations he would get into, in which he appeared to be distracted and/or thinking too much about what to do instead of just continuing to let loose and his opponent would capitalize on the brief lapse. The more Christian builds upon his technique arsenal, the less he will experience these brief lapses. His athletic ability alone would be enough to see him through most of these situations if he wanted, but that’s easy to say when you aren’t in the heat of battle. The more he builds upon his technique, the easier it will be to flow from every situation/position. And the more he starts noticing his own improvement in these areas, the more confident he will become. Mark my words… when we start seeing a more technically fine-tuned version of Christian Stanek take the mat, equipped with 100% unwavering confidence throughout the entirety of every match he competes in, every guy at his weight will be put on notice, for that could be the start of something special if and when it happens. He’s right there. Christian has never been a full-time wrestler as a competitive athlete like most D1 recruits are and I feel that when he makes that transition with some of the nation’s best wrestling minds guiding him, look out! Because this kid’s ceiling is limitless, IMO.
To any of you Cyclone fans who may be reading this, if you are unfamiliar with Christian Stanek, I’d be excited about what he can do! He could be the low-risk/high-reward type of recruit, similar to another guy from the 80’s who placed 3rd at state as a Senior and never won state. His name was Eric Voelker and he became a 2X D1 National Champion for the Cyclones… Do NOT sleep on this kid. There is a ton of reason for optimism with him.
Props to CR Xavier HC, Ryan Chambers for producing the hammers that he has over the years.
Congrats Christian on a great HS career! You may not have won a state championship, but you did enough to convince me that you are one of the best wrestlers in your grade!
2019 3A 132
1 Joe Pins of Dubuque Hempstead
2 Ben Monroe of Ankeny Centennial
3 Brock Espalin of Des Moines East
4 Evan Yant of Waverly-Shell Rock
5 Caleb Helgeson of Johnston
6 Conrad Braswell of Prairie, Cedar Rapids
7 Sam Kallem of Ankeny
8 Christian Stanek of Xavier, Cedar Rapids
2020 3A 138
1 Caleb Rathjen (Jr) Ankeny
2 Dreyzon Phillips (Jr) Fort Dodge
3 Carter Martinson (So) Southeast Polk
4 James Edwards (Sr) Johnston
5 Grifen Molle (Jr) Notre Dame/W.B./Danville
6 Christian Stanek (So) Xavier – Cedar Rapids
7 Dylan Whitt (So) Cedar Falls
8 Leo Blawou (Sr) Des Moines – Lincoln
1st Place – Joel Jesuroga of Southeast Polk
2nd Place – Dreyzon Phillips of Fort Dodge
3rd Place – Christian Stanek of Xavier, Cedar Rapids
4th Place – Peyton Westlin of North Scott
5th Place – Josiah Schaetzle of Dubuque Hempstead
6th Place – Leland Evans of Oskaloosa
7th Place – Brent Slade of Ames
8th Place – Ethan Emmick of Sioux City West
1st Place – Aiden Riggins of Waverly-Shell Rock
2nd Place – Carson Martinson of Southeast Polk
3rd Place – Christian Stanek of Xavier, Cedar Rapids
4th Place – Jackson Helmkamp of Ankeny Centennial
5th Place – Brayden Broderick of Waukee Northwest
6th Place – Gabe Carver of Urbandale
7th Place – Kael Scranton of Iowa City, West
8th Place – Cole Rutter of Spencer