When it came to picking a college, Iowa State just felt like home for Ben Ewing.
Ewing, the son of former Fort Dodge Senior High state wrestling champion Randy Ewing, committed to the Cyclones on Wednesday. A state gold medalist in Kansas as a sophomore at Overland Park-St. Thomas Aquinas, Ewing finished third last year. He has compiled an 80-3 record over the past two seasons on the mat after placing fifth at state as a freshman.
Randy Ewing won a state title in 1985 at 185 pounds for FDSH, and also competed for ISU. Dave Ewing, Ben's uncle and a former Dodger himself, was an All-American for the Cyclones and recently retired as head coach at Ankeny. Ben's other uncle, Ron Ewing, is an assistant wrestling coach at Manson Northwest Webster.
Ben Ewing poses with his father, Fort Dodge Senior High graduate and former Dodger state champion Randy Ewing, after a wrestling meet.
Ben's grandfather, Ralph Ewing, still resides in Fort Dodge. His mother, Lisa (Ludvigsen) Ewing, also graduated from FDSH.
"I just really had a lot of respect for (Iowa State wrestling) coach (Kevin) Jackson," Ben Ewing said. "I kind of have a family legacy (at ISU), but that really didn't have a lot to do with my decision. I want to create my own legacy now."
Ben Ewing, a two-time Rocky Mountain Nationals champion, gave up summer wrestling in recent years to focus on football. After not hitting the national freestyle circuit in recent years, Ewing stayed under the recruiting radar of many colleges across the country.
"Iowa State was pretty much the only school that came after me for wrestling," Ewing said. "I thought I was for sure going to play football in college. Kansas, Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri State, South Dakota and Tulsa all showed interest for football.
"It was only recently when I finally knew that wrestling felt right in my heart."
Despite growing up in Kansas, Ben Ewing has followed the Cyclone mat program closely over the years.
"I know a lot of people who wrestled there," Ben Ewing said. "(Former ISU All-Americans) Trent and Travis Paulson are two of my best friends. Another friend of mine, Austin Anderson, was coached by my uncle Dave at Ankeny."
Ben Ewing projects as a 197-pounder at the collegiate level after wrestling at 220 for St. Thomas Aquinas. InterMat ranks him as the fourth best Kansas high school wrestler in the Class of 2015.
Ewing's overall varsity mark is 111-17.
"It's probably going to take a while to get adjusted to everything in college, but I know I'll be in the best shape of my life at that point in time," said Ben Ewing. "I just have to thank God for giving me the opportunity."
Randy Ewing is anxious to see what the future holds for his son in Ames.
"Ben is an elite two-sport athlete that had a lot of Div. I looks for football," Randy said. "Something just finally clicked in his head that his calling was wrestling. We went to lunch two days ago and he asked for my support.
"He wanted to make a decision and move forward. I think the sincerity of Kevin (Jackson) and the coaching staff was what won him over in the end."