Q&A Athlete Spotlight: Jared Franek

Q&A Athlete Spotlight: Jared Franek

An interview by Brogan Louden

Heading into his sixth and final year of collegiate competition, Jared Franek is poised to make a serious run for the title at 157 pounds. Hailing out of North Dakota, Franek was a four time state champion for West Fargo High School, compiling an astonishing 272 wins. In addition to this, he was also the North Dakota Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner.

Following an illustrious high school career, Franek, elected to stay in state and compete for North Dakota State University. In his five seasons competing for the Bisons, he was a four time NCAA qualifier, claiming his first All-American status with a fourth place finish in 2023.

Jared announced earlier this summer that he would be taking his talents to Iowa, to compete for Hawkeyes in his final NCAA season. His presence on a title contending team, will only add more firepower to an already impressive lineup. As Jared looks to continue his dominance and reach the top of the podium in 2024, listen to what he had to say about joining the Chain Wrestling team and his career thus far.

Q: Why did you decide to team up with Chain Wrestling?

A: I decided to team up with Chain Wrestling because I wanted to start a gear collection for my last year of competition. I had many of my fans reach out and ask if I planned on doing any gear collections once NIL became a thing. I really enjoyed Chain Wrestling’s designs and gear options and decided to reach out to see if I could join the team. I enjoy helping a company such as this one grow, all the while growing my own brand.

Q: How did you get your start in wrestling and when did you decide to fully dedicate yourself to the sport?

A: My dad got me started wrestling in kindergarten. I really didn’t like it my first few years because I didn’t like trying something new and rarely competed. However, in third grade I made the transition to Tech Team Wrestling Club, which was a very talented club full of very good wrestlers. That is when I fully dedicated myself and knew that is what I wanted to focus my time on.

Q: Heading into your collegiate career, what were some of the biggest changes and transitions you had to make?

A: Headed from high school to college, there were various big changes that I had to make in my wrestling. Going from North Dakota high school wrestling to Big 12 wrestling was a big jump. One thing I learned is that I have to be ready to go every match, and there were no more easy matches. As far as my wrestling goes, I had to learn how to hand fight better to set up shots, get away on bottom, and finish my leg attacks. Lastly, competing at 157 for 5 months I really had to find a routine and diet that helped me to feel the best and compete the best.

Q: What programs did you originally consider and what ultimately went into your decision to stay in state and attend North Dakota State University?

A: The few programs that I considered the most in my recruiting process were NDSU, SDSU, Nebraska and Minnesota. The major factors in attending NDSU were it was close to home and family, I had a few close friends on the team, I liked the guys and felt I fit in with them - and just wasn’t a big city kid, so Fargo was the perfect size. Also, I liked the challenge of trying to become the universities first ever national champion of the Division I era.

Q: In your wrestling career, what matches most stand out to you? Are there any rematches that you are looking forward to this upcoming season?

A: My career has provided various matches that stand out to me. My two most memorable matches I lost were against Ryan Deakin in the Quarterfinals in 2021 at the NCAAs and David Carr in the blood round at NCAAs in 2022. My most memorable matches that I won were Vinny Zerban in the blood round at NCAAss this year, as well as getting Peyton Robb back at nationals after falling to him in the first match of the year in our dual meet. The one rematch I would like to have this year is Teemer from ASU. He has got the best of me in college in a few very
important matches at nationals, so I want that match this season.

Q: Following a successful career at NDSU, how was your experience with utilizing and maneuvering the transfer portal? Why factors lead to your decision to make the move to Iowa?

A: The transfer portal the second time around was much easier and more enjoyable. I say that because this time as a 23-year-old who is more mature and knows what college wrestling is all about, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a future home for my last year. There were a few factors that sparked my decision to transfer in my last year. Some of these included a coaching change, where three of our four coaches moved on, completion of my bachelors and masters degree at NDSU, as well as training partners hitting the portal. Also, I view this sixth year as a free year because of the COVID ordeal and wanted to give myself the best opportunity and
put myself in the best situation to accomplish my goal of becoming a national champion.

Q: Given your exposure throughout your collegiate career, do you think you will be able to fit right into the Hawkeye lineup and man a leadership role on your team? What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to the younger guys on the team?

A: I believe my experience and skills will allow me to fit right into the Hawkeye lineup and make a major impact right away both in competition and leadership. I have always taken being a leader as one of my duties at NDSU and look to lead by example in Iowa as well. My biggest piece of advice for younger guys on the team would be to work hard but also make sure you are having fun and find what works for you and your style and stick to it.

Q: In your final season of collegiate competition, what are you looking forward to
accomplishing and achieving throughout the season? Do you feel that wrestling in the Big Ten conference will better prepare you for the postseason?

A: In my final season I look to become a Big 10 champion and NCAA champion. Every match is a stepping stone and learning experience for the big dance in March. I will use every match and competition to prepare for that moment mentally and physically. I feel like the Big 10 conference will prepare me best for the postseason because of the consistent talent and toughness within the conference.

Q: What has wrestling at the Division I level taught you the most about yourself?

A:  Wrestling at the Division I level has taught me so much about life. It has taught me that discipline, hard work and consistency are the key to getting the most out of myself. It has also taught me how to respond to adversity no matter the challenges thrown your way and failures you have experienced.

Q: Once your collegiate career is over, do you look to continue competing on the international scene? If you have other plans, what do those look like?

A: As of now, I do not plan on competing on the international scene. However, I will not close that door officially until after this upcoming season. I do not have a concrete plan in place for whenI graduate. There is a good chance I could go the business route with my degree or stay involved with wrestling to some extent.


Show your support for Jared as he makes his debut in a black and gold singlet! A portion of sales go directly to the athlete. Get your Jared Franek fan gear today.

About the author: Brogan Louden
Brogan Louden, a 2022 graduate of Shippensburg University, is from the great state of Pennsylvania. Growing up his entire life surrounded by some of the best wrestling in the nation, he quickly discovered his strong passion and love for the sport. Now, he is looking to pursue a career in wrestling media to help bring more awareness and excitement to the sport.