Jung signs with Adrian College
By Erik Buchinger
Lacey Jung will become the first member of her family to attend college after signing to compete for the Adrian College women’s wrestling team in Michigan.
Jung signed her National Letter of Intent a few hours before starting her final high school season at Clintonville High School on Nov. 30.
“It was really exciting, mostly because I am the first person in my family to go to college,” Jung said. “Everyone is really super supportive and really proud of me, and that’s a really good feeling.”
Jung’s family got her into wrestling, and she started when she was 4 years old.
“My dad was a wrestling coach, and he wrestled in high school,” Jung said. “From practicing around with my older brother, they decided to put me in wrestling.”
Through 14 years of wrestling, Jung said the sport has taught her a lot.
“Wrestling has played a huge role in building who I am as a person,” Jung said. “It’s helped me be more confident and made me stronger both physically and mentally.”
During the high school offseason, Jung competes nationally for Team Wisconsin, and she met Adrian women’s wrestling coach Cliff Cushard in May at the freestyle national championships in Irving, Texas. She finished in eighth place in her debut of freestyle wrestling on a national level.
“He just seemed the most welcoming, and he answered a lot of questions right away, whereas, the other places didn’t really have a lot of answers for me right away,” Jung said.
In September, Jung, her parents and younger siblings drove to Adrian, Michigan where Cushard guided them on a tour of the school as well as the facilities. She also met some of the other coaches and teammates.
“I really liked all the people I met, and it sounded like we shared some of the same goals and interests,” Jung said.
Jung knew the day of the tour she would pick Adrian but waited to announce her commitment. In the meantime, she competed in the USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals held in Cedar Falls, Iowa in October and took home the 159-pound title.
A few days later, Jung received an acceptance letter and scholarship in the mail, and she announced she was committed to Adrian.
Jung said she started to think about college wrestling as a high school freshman when she wrestled for Team Wisconsin for the first time. She knew wrestling in college likely required moving out of the state since there is currently no Wisconsin college that offers women’s wrestling, though Lakeland University announced in November that it would be the first.
Over the past summer, schools from Division 1 through Division 3 began to reach out, and she decided Division 3 would be a better option for her.
“After looking at them, I thought the Division 1 schools were ea little overwhelming with what they expected from you by the time you graduated, so I just figured that Division 3 was a better fit for me,” Jung said. “Just to keep going after high school is really cool.”
Jung said Georgia State University, a Division 1 school in Atlanta, wanted her to wrestle for its women’s wrestling team.
“I talked to their coach on the phone, and from what it sounded like, I needed to be Olympic-level ready before I graduated high school,” Jung said. “There were a whole bunch of requirements for practicing and training that I would’ve had to do that I didn’t feel I had the time for.”
Jung said she kept her options open to a variety of schools, including some that did not offer a women’s wrestling program.
“Once I found Adrian, they have a criminal justice program that allows you to get a master’s degree, which is what I want to do,” Jung said. “Things just started lining up with them, and it looked like a good choice.”
Jung said Clintonville High School wrestling coach Exavier Dimick and his dad played a big role in helping her become more confident as an athlete, and family friend Tammi Poppe helped out as well.
“Tammi Poppe has been there for my family since I was in youth wrestling,” Jung said. “She helped us figure out all the college stuff because my parents and nobody in my family history has gone to college before, so we were really lost, and she really helped us out a lot.”
While she is in the middle of her senior season of high school, Jung said she uses the high school season to practice for national competition but hopes to increase the following of high school wrestling in Clintonville.
“I’m just hoping that our team can grow as a close group of people and that we can build a fan base because we don’t get a lot of support from Clintonville,” Jung said. “If we can get more people coming to our meets and supporting us, that would be awesome.”
With plans to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice at Adrian, Jung said she is leaning toward a forensic science emphasis and hopes to continue her wrestling career as long as possible.
“I just want to be competitive in the sport and continue wrestling on a national level,” Jung said. “Eventually I can try out for a world team or an Olympic team if I want, but I just want to keep going and be competitive.”