Henry Ford College Student Named Wrestler of the Year
Henry Ford College wrestler Jager Kwiatkowski. Photo courtesy Hawks Athletics.
Henry Ford College’s Jager Kwiatkowski has been named the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Wrestler of the Year.
Last year, Kwiatkowski earned MCCAA Freshman of the Year.
Kwiatkowski wrestled since he was four years old, and in sixth grade, he met the high school wrestling coach at Livonia Franklin. As a high school freshman, Kwiatkowski earned his varsity letter and tallied 30 wins. Kwiatkowski’s overall record in high school was 155-33 from freshman to senior year. Kwiatkowski appeared in the state finals three times. His main goal in high school was to win a state title, and although he never did, he remained persistent.
Kwiatkowski had doubts about his willingness to continue wrestling at the next level. “I wasn’t too sure if I still had it in me to continue wrestling,” he said.
“Coming out of high school, I didn’t reach the goals that I wanted to, and I knew deep down that I still wanted to continue wrestling,” Kwiatkowski said.
Kwiatkowski’s ambition landed him at Henry Ford College. His main goal in college is to make it to the podium. To do so, he must qualify in the national tournament and be among the top eight wrestlers in his weight class. “I’m up for the toughness, I want to be on that podium.”
Kwiatkowski was recruited by five different Division 3 schools but decided to come to HFC for its convenience. He said, “it just felt right,” and he felt welcomed by the upperclassmen and Coach Grant Mackenzie.
Kwiatkowski said, “I don’t really see any downsides to community college. I believe everyone should start at community college. If you realize college isn’t for you, you’re not out thousands of dollars like you would be at a university.”
Kwiatkowski added, “My favorite part about wrestling at Henry Ford is the opportunity to wrestle and to continue wrestling.”
Coach McKenzie had high praise for the sophomore, saying, “Jager is tough. He competes at a high level and holds himself accountable in the classroom and on the mat. Jager is every coach’s dream wrestler. Jager realized how important the JUCO route is as a senior in high school. We were lucky to get him at HFC. Jager will leave Henry Ford with zero college debt.”
Kwiatkowski plans to major in accounting but has not decided whether to transfer to a four-year university to continue wrestling. He has fielded several calls and texts from coaches nationwide trying to recruit him. “I want to focus on the rest of this year, I want to get on that podium, and then I’m going to decide what my next move is from there,” Kwiatkowski said.
Jager Kwiatkowski and teammate Xavier Byrne qualified for the 2023 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Wrestling Championships, which will be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4.