Jody Strittmatter interview

By chance or fate, a neighbor gave a young wrestler in Pennsylvania the movie Dan Gable: Competitor Supreme to watch nearly twenty-five years ago.  What an impact that movie had.  Jody Strittmatter was a very popular wrestler for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  He was always aggressive, hard working, humble, and winning.  Just what we like.  Strittmatter placed third in 2000 and second in 2001 at 125 for the Hawks. It is rare for a wrestler to be even more popular with fans after their competition days are over.  But it is safe to say that the creation of Young Guns Wrestling Club and the incredibly high quality of wrestlers from Young Guns that are becoming Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers has made the name Jody Strittmatter to be even more popular now.  

I have wanted to get an interview with Jody in person for quite some time.  A Young Guns wrestling camp in Le Claire, Iowa provided the opportunity this week.  Jody was just as nice and humble as I remembered him fifteen years ago.  The impact on the sport of wrestling that Young Guns has had on college wrestling is unmatched by any other wrestling club.  Over the past six years, over 70 Young Guns wrestlers have went to wrestle in Division 1.  That is an amazing stat.

For Young Guns wrestlers at Iowa, Michael Kemmerer just completed an outstanding freshman season and Kaleb Young had a successful redshirt year.  Topher Carton of the Young Guns club in Iowa just completed his career at Iowa.  Iowa welcomes Spencer Lee, the biggest recruit in the history of Iowa wrestling, and Max Murin to their program this fall.  With recruits like that coming into the Iowa Wrestling program, Jody Strittmatter will be liked by the Iowa Wrestling nation more and more.  

Jody, what is like for you to come back to Iowa?

Strittmatter:  It’s always great.  I have been staying in touch with one of my best friends, Eric (Juergens). It is just awesome to come back. Things have changed since we were in college.  Now we both have two kids.  Every other year he gets to come out to Pennsylvania and he gets to see our kids so it has been fun that way.  

Young Guns has to be the most well known wrestling kids club in the country right now.  Could you take us back to the very beginning on how Young Guns started.

Strittmatter: Eric came to me and said that he was approached about doing a wrestling club.  They were guaranteeing us twenty kids to start with.  It was in Michigan, he had done a camp there.  He asked if I would do the club with him.  At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I thought I wanted to go to medical school or maybe I wanted to keep competing. I just wasn’t sure. So we went up to Michigan in 2002 and dove head first and started a club.  We started really, really small and just fell in love with it, but we didn’t want to be away from home.  Me and Eric moved to Pennsylvania and he stayed there for one year while we started it and then he came back here.  We were running the club for a couple of months and did not have a name.  We sat down and kept throwing out ideas and came up with the name Young Guns.

Iowa Wrestling fans are thrilled with what we have seen so far out of Michael Kemmerer and we are excited about the future of Kaleb Young.  Now we have Spencer Lee and Max Murin about to get their Iowa Hawkeye career started.  What is it like for you as a Hawkeye to have a wrestler that you have worked with for years knowing that they are going back to where you wrestled at Iowa.

Strittmatter:  It’s exciting.  It’s really exciting.  It’s fun.  The atmosphere of college wrestling right now is just at an unbelievable place.  It is just so much fun to watch how the programs keep upping each other.  Having matches out on a football field was just an incredible experience.  This is just such an awesome time for college wrestling knowing that our kids are about to go through that great experience.

When a parent and/or a wrestler approaches you about being in Young Guns, what are you looking for?  What are some of the things that you have to have out of a wrestler to be in your club?

Strittmatter:  Zero.  There is zero expectations.  Some of the kids wrestling in this camp right now are four and five years old.  And we have a lot of kids.  Max Murin was that young in the novice camp.  So we have no expectations.  You cannot expect a young kid to be college ready yet at ten years old.  You just start developing skills and develop and build a relationship with the kid and there is an expectation and a standard that you have to work hard.  You hear the word burnout so much. There is nothing that you have to do or a standard to be met to be in Young Guns.  Just work hard.  Be willing to learn.  So at the very young age it is just about developing skills and developing a love of the sport.  Make sure you are enjoying it.  You do not enjoy losing, but you enjoy the process and the challenges it presents. I think sometimes you see that right away in a kid and other times it takes years to develop that to get to that point.

Unfortunately, the first thing that some people think of when it comes to wrestling is weight cutting.  That is a stereotype that we as a sport are always trying to overcome.  I cringe when I hear a gross generalization given to our entire sport of wrestling when a parent will not let their kid wrestle because they are not going to cut weight.  What advice do you have for parents that steer their child away from wrestling because of their views of cutting weight.

Strittmatter:  Like any sport, I think you worry about developing the skills first.  Now once a kid gets a little older and he wants to cut a pound or two just for one or two events, that’s great.  But it can’t be all the time.   A kid is going to hate life if he can’t eat.  I think it is very, very important to let parents know that you worry about developing the skills.  Some people want to put their kids in situations where they can’t lose.  You want to put them where they are going to get challenged all the time.  You want to put them in situations where they are going to lose.  I think that is very important.  You see how the kid responds.  It is the response and learning from that situation that is extremely, extremely important.  

What changes have you seen in kids wrestling now compared in Pennsylvania in the 1990’s when you were competing?

Strittmatter: The skill level is unbelievable now.  You see kids that look like they are could be in college already.  And they are.  It was rare to see a true freshman come in and do what we see them doing now in college wrestling.  They are college ready and their skill level is absolutely amazing coming right out of high school now.

How are the participation numbers for wrestling in Pennsylvania?  Even our biggest schools in Iowa are having trouble filling an entire lineup and it seems that there are a lot of forfeits in every competition..

Strittmatter:  Where it is popular, it is really, really good.  Like Southeast Polk, it is amazing.  Then you see a lot of other teams forfeiting weights.  It goes back to the coaching and tradition.  If you have a coach that is extremely passionate and he is trying to build it from the bottom up, they can build an entire program and an empire.  Overall, I think there are a lot of options for kids right now.  In Pennsylvania, ice hockey is becoming very popular.  Lacrosse, different sports like that. There is so much that kids can do now that you cannot just say hey, sign ups are on Tuesday and two hundred kids show up.  It is important that you are super, super active.

What can Iowa Wrestling fans expect out of Spencer Lee and Max Murin?

Strittmatter: They love the sport of wrestling, number one.  They are workers.  They want their shoes on all day long.  They are the kind of kids that you have to tell that practice is over and you have to get home.  They are passionate about the sport.  They have different styles but are both passionate about the sport and getting better.  Off the mat they are amazing kids.  These are the type of kids that you want your son to become like them.  I’m not talking about anything to do with wrestling.  The type that I want my son to become like him.  Just awesome kids.

Starting with the beginning with the school year, could you take us through a year in the Young Guns.

Strittmatter: We start in September on Labor Day.  We start with basics and a lot of technique and a lot of live wrestling.  We will hit some tournaments like Super 32.  The last couple of years we have been fortunate that have had three wrestlers in Who’s Number 1. We have had three wrestlers compete in five consecutive years.  We get the guys ready for that.  Then it’s just a lot training, a lot of technique and correcting mistakes.  Then they go into their season.  We still see them a lot, but it’s different.  Summertime, spring, fall, kids are traveling with us and we are taking them to tournaments.  We have Saturday morning workouts where we will run and workout.  

Once they start their season, they do their own thing with their team and then they will come to us two nights a week.  That is one thing that is really neat about Young Guns kids in Pennsylvania.  Some clubs shut down for high school wrestlers throughout the year.  One practice a day is just not enough for them.  They want to get another workout in,  They want to get another feel.  Max wants to get down there so he can workout with Spencer.  And Max wants to get there to workout with Teasdale, with Verkleeren.  That is awesome to see them have that passion.  So September, October, November, December, January, February we will keep it going. And then we’ll back off live wrestling throughout the end of the year and then it’s about repetition drilling and feeling good.  Then in spring it’s freestyle season and we do that for all of April, May.  June, July we keep it going with camps like this until August.

I am asked all the time if we can sustain where Young Guns is at right now.  The positive role models have really set a standard that kids want to be apart of.  The future of Young Guns is brighter than ever right now.  

Are you peaking in a year cycle for the Pennsylvania age group state tournaments?

Strittmatter:  Absolutely.  We have kid’s state tournament, junior high state tournament, and high school state tournament.  They are back to back to back weeks.  

Do you have any influence on your wrestlers for academics?  There seems to be a trend that so many of the elite top recruits now are real good if not great students.

Strittmatter:  We talk about it every day at practice.  Number one, be a great kid.  I think kids need positive role models more than ever today.  They need someone telling them great things and backing it up by being a good role model.  This is something that my brother (John) and I talk about all of the time.  Right with that is academics.  You hear it all the time.  You can be the best wrestlers, but if you do not have academics you are not going to go very far.  You limit yourself in where you can go.  If you are a great wrestler and a great kid, and great academics you can choose anywhere you want to go in the country.  But if you only have one but you are getting in trouble you are limited on where you want to go.  That is something that we talk about every day at practice.  Being great kids, being great students.  And being hammers on the mat, too.  

Do you see Young Guns Wrestling Club going nation-wide?  Maybe more camps next year?

Strittmatter:  We rotate our camp every year.  This is our fourteenth year so we rotate every year between Iowa and Pennsylvania.  We have thirty Pennsylvania kids we brought to this camp and we have another seventy area wrestlers.  For our camps, we have something we are very, very comfortable with .  We have a lot of small camps where we have fourteen wrestlers where we can really grind all week long and really make an influence on them.  Then we have some big camps where we try and bringing some of the best clinicians in the country and bring in new technique.  Even coaches keep learning.  I keep learning.  

Where do you see as the future of college wrestling?

Strittmatter: I do not get to see college wrestling as much.  As a fan, it looks amazing.  The NCAA tournament is incredible.  With social media now wrestling is getting great coverage.  Now we have Boise State cutting wrestling.  That’s the part you don’t like.  The best are getting better, but what is happening at the middle and lower level?  As a fan, man it is fun to watch.  It is fun with the Big Ten Network how you can watch so much live wrestling.  It is fun as a fan, that;s for sure.      

There have been Young Guns wrestler represent our country and win Cadet and Junior World titles.  What is it like for you to see wrestlers from your club go out and win internationally while representing our country?  Have you ever wondered if you would have an Olympian at the Senior level?  Is that a goal?

Strittmatter: It’s really not.  Our goals are really simple. I get asked that a lot.  It is not wanting to have ten state champions in one year, or three Fargo champions.  The goal is to simply give the kids as many opportunities as possible  To help them.  Some kids you have to kick in the butt to get them going and some kids do that to me. They’re knocking at my door at 6 AM on a Sunday morning:

  “Coach, can we use your wrestling room?”

It’s simply about helping each kid.  I think we had over five hundred kids join Young Guns this past year in PA.  We probably had over two hundred each month so with four locations, we had it around fifty to a practice.  The kids are passionate.  They want to be the next NCAA champion.  Their parents are out in the hallway talking.  It’s just a great environment and great culture to be in right now.

Take us back to when you were in college and decided to transfer to Iowa.

Strittmatter: I loved Iowa when I was in high school.  I got second at Fargo.  It wasn’t like it is today with social media and getting exposed.  I got third at states my junior year and won it as a senior.  I wanted to go to Iowa.  Iowa signs a four-time state champ for 118.  His name was Eric Juergens.  I go to UPJ (Pitt-Johnstown) and I was a two-time D-II national champ, but I still wanted to go to Iowa.  Eric Juergens moved up.  I saw an opportunity for a weight that Iowa needed bad.  I came into Iowa and become friends with Eric who became my best friend and business partner when we created Young Guns. Iowa had the four-time undefeated state champion from Iowa and had their man at 118.  The weights changed and he had grown a little bit and went up to 133.  Iowa really needed someone at 125.  I wanted to go there and they needed someone.  My coach called up Coach Zalesky.  They watched me wrestle at Midlands. I won Midlands that year.  After the season, I flew out for my official visit and became a Hawk.

What is your greatest memory of being an Iowa Hawkeye?

Strittmatter: Probably the first time I ran out on the mat at Carver Hawkeye.  That was just a dream of mine.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, I loved the Brands brothers, Gable.  I wanted to be an Iowa Hawkeye from a young age.  I got a copy of Dan Gable Competitor Supreme.  My dad is a farmer.  One of his good friends is a farmer and a wrestling coach and somehow he got his hands on Gable Competitor Supreme.  Put it in the VCR and I fell in love then.  I wanted to be an Iowa Hawkeye.

On behalf of the Iowa Wrestling nation, I would like to sincerely thank the farmer friend for getting Gable: Competitor Supreme to a young Jody Strittmatter.  Nearly twenty-five years later, the impact of that event is still being felt by Iowa Wrestling, and for years to come.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.



Axmear and Costello to compete at Junior Duals

The Iowa Wrestling program will be well represented at Junior Freestyle Duals in Tulsa, OK this weekend. Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits Zach Axmear at 152 lbs.(English Valley HS) and Aaron Costello at Hwt (Western Dubuque HS) will be competing for Team Iowa – Red. Costello will also be competing in Greco Roman. Greco Roman duals will be on Wednesday and Thursday and Freestyle on Friday and Saturday.

Axmear and Costello are in the outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017 that was rated as the best recruiting class in the country.

Iowa Wrestling assistant coach Ryan Morningstar will be a coach on the Iowa freestyle team.  Coach Morningstar has been a fixture in the Team Iowa coaching corner for Junior Freestyle Duals as well as Cadet and Junior Freestyle Nationals in Fargo for years.

Junior Freestyle Duals and Junior Nationals in Fargo are the two marquee’ events of the entire summer.  These two events go a long way in high school wrestlers making a name for themselves or adding to their already established reputation.

I will post results on Facebook and Twitter:   



at Tulsa, Okla., June 21-24

Wednesday, June 21      

9:00 AM to 12:30 PM – Session 1 – Greco (Preliminary rounds 1 and 2)

1:30 PM to 7:00 PM – Session 2 – Greco (Preliminary rounds 3, 4 and 5)

Thursday, June 22

8:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Session 3 – Greco Gold/Silver, Bronze/Copper, Red/Blue, Green/Yellow (3 rounds)

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Session 4- Greco Finals and awards (1 round)

Friday, June 23

8:00 AM to 12:30 PM – Session 1 – Freestyle (Preliminary rounds 1, 2 and 3)

1:30 PM to 8:00 PM – Session 2 – Freestyle (Preliminary rounds 4, 5 and 6; preliminary Gold/Silver, Bronze/Copper, Red/Blue, Green/Yellow)

Saturday, June 24

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Session 3 – Freestyle Finals and awards (3 rounds)


HWC Paris raffle to support Thomas Gilman

ATTENTION ALL HWC AND THOMAS GILMAN FANS! Follow Thomas Gilman to Paris by entering in our raffle for a trip to Worlds to cheer him on!

Visit to purchase your raffle tickets and for full details!

The winning raffle will include two round trip airline tickets, five nights in a hotel, and all-session tickets to the 2017 World Freestyle Championships.

Winner will drawn live by Thomas Gilman July 31 online.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Show your support with a Thomas Gilman shirt

Thomas Gilman had an epic run at the World Team Trials last week to make our 2017 freestyle world team.  Now fans can buy a great shirt to show their support of Thomas Gilman and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club, Mark Ironside’s company, Ironsides Apparel and Promotions, and former Iowa wrestler Jeret Chiri, who designed the shirt, have worked together to create a great shirt for fans to buy and show their support.  Proceeds of the shirt will go to supporting Thomas Gilman and his family make the trip to Paris for the 2017 World Freestyle Championships in August.

You can order online or stop by Mark Ironside’s shop at 240 Prospect Place SW in Cedar Rapids to make your purchase.  The shirt will be available at the store and for shipping this Thursday, June 22.

To order online:

Thomas Gilman put on an amazing display of endurance and toughness to make our world team and represented Iowa Wrestling so well for his entire career.  I cannot wait to get my shirt and to show my support.

I am always saying that Iowa Wrestling fans are the best fans in the world, in any sport. Here is a way to show how great we truly are.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Iowa Wrestling well represented at World Team Trials

Iowa Wrestling will be well represented at the World Team Trials this weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska.  On Friday, the Hawks will have Paul Glynn (60 kg), Jeren Glosser (66 kg), Keegan Shaw (66 kg) and Alex Marinelli (74 kg) competing in the UWW Junior World Team Trials challenge tournament.  The action begins at 10 AM CST at the Bob Devaney Sports Center with a challenge tournament with the winner facing the number one seed in a best of three series at 5 PM.  

The winner at each weight will qualify to represent Team USA at the 2017 UWW Junior World Freestyle Championships in Tampere, Finland on August 1-6.

Five members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club will compete in the U.S. World Team Trials challenge tournament on Saturday.  Nathan Burak (97 kg), Bobby Telford (125 kg), Thomas Gilman (57 kg), Chris Dardanes (61 kg), and Nick Dardanes (65 kg) will be in action.   

The winner of the mini-tournament will face the number one seed in a best of three format on Saturday night.  The winner of each weight will represent Team USA at the 2017 UWW Freestyle World Championships in Paris, France on August 21-26.

I will have updated results on Facebook: and on Twitter:


Friday, June 9

Junior WTT Challenge Tournament

Preliminaries, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals

Consolations and Consolation Semifinals

Junior Freestyle: All weights

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Final Trials: Best of 3 Series: Match #1, Match #2 and Match #3 (if needed), 3rd Place

FILA Jr. Freestyle: All weights

5:00 PM – 7:30 PM


Saturday,  June 10

Senior WTT Challenge Tournament

SESSION IPreliminaries, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Challenge Finals/Consolations and 3rd Place, Challenge Tournament Finals, True Second Place Matches from Challenge Tournament

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

SESSION IIFinal World Team Trials – Best of 3 Series (Rd # 1, Rd # 2 and Rd # 3(If Needed)

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

***All times are CST***


Iowa wrestlers competing at UWW University Nationals

Thirteen members of the Iowa Wrestling team will be competing at UWW University Freestyle Nationals in Akron, Ohio this weekend.  The Freestyle tournament will begin Saturday at 8 AM (CST) and conclude on Sunday afternoon at the University of Akron.  To be eligible for this tournament, wrestlers must be between the ages of 17-27 and either be enrolled in a college or graduated from college in the last year.

Three-time All American Brandon Sorensen (70 kg) will headline the Iowa wrestlers competing.  Sorensen placed second in 2016 and fifth in 2015 at this tournament.  Phillip Laux (61 kg) has placed three times at this tournament by placing fifth in 2014, fourth in 2015, and sixth in 2016. Sorensen and Laux will be seniors next season for the Hawkeyes.  

Iowa wrestlers competing:

Perez Perez – 57 kg

Phillip Laux – 61 kg

Brock Rathbun – 61 kg

Aaron Meyer – 65 kg

Danny Murphy – 65 kg

Brandon Sorensen – 70 kg

Logan McQuillen 74 kg

Jeremiah Moody – 74 kg

Matt Malcom – 74 kg

Tristan McDonald – 74 kg

Kaleb Young – 80 kg

Mitch Bowman – 86 kg

Steven Holloway – 97 kg


University Freestyle Nationals schedule:

Saturday, June 3

University Freestyle: 8AM – 1 PM

University Freestyle – 2 PM – 7:30 PM

Sunday, June 4

University Freestyle – 7 AM to conclusion

*All times are CST*

I will be posting results on my Facebook page and on Twitter  I will also have a wrap up of this tournament on this blog.

HWC Banquet was a huge success

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club Banquet was a huge success.  There is definitely momentum in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club movement.  Every person I talked to mentioned the increased excitement of just the last 6-8 weeks.  The movement on wrestling bulletin board to raise over $100,000 and the two individual donations of $1 million certainly has Iowa Wrestling fan’s attention.

A record crowd of over 350 people at the Kirkwood Convention Center in Cedar Rapids were generous with the silent auction, live auction, and raffle that amounted to a record total of over $74,000 raised for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  The old record was just over $50,000.  That is a huge increase in a year.  I would not be surprised if they went over $100,000 raised next year.

The HWC has been innovating new ways for Iowa Wrestling fans to donate to the HWC. went live on April 17.  To date, there is $2,094/month coming into the HWC from their new recurring payment system that has been implemented.  That is a great start.  Just since Friday night at the banquet, over $900/month has been raised.  I spoke to Hawkeye Wrestling Club president Randy Novak and he is very excited about the impact that the new website and the recurring monthly payments will have on the fundraising efforts for the HWC.  The goal is to have $100,000/month coming into the HWC on recurring payments.  That goal will be achieved $1 at a time.  Donations for the recurring payments range from $10 to $250/month.  Every dollar counts and it all adds up.

                      The goal is to have $100,000/month coming into the HWC on recurring payments.

Mark Perry killed it in his speech at the banquet to the point that he received a standing ovation.  The added buzz of having Mark Perry coming home to be the new head coach of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club has sure added to the excitement of Iowa Wrestling and the HWC.  I also look for Mark Perry to be very effective at fundraising for the HWC as well.  I will be interviewing Mark Perry soon for this blog.

I was able to contribute to the silent auction.  I have designed a poster of Cory Clark.  A shout out to two-time Lisbon state champ J.J. Butteris for the great job he did as the graphic artist on the poster.  Donna Novak did a great job with the framing and matting to make the poster look its best.  Cory Clark and Tom Brands added their autographs to add even more value.  The winning bid of $600 went to Anders Kittelson of Decorah.  Anders is pictured with Cory Clark and myself at the banquet.  The Cory Clark poster will be available soon for fans to pick them up at no charge.  I will keep you posted on locations.  

There were so many people that worked very hard to make this banquet such a success.  I wanted to mention Tim Grissell and Randy Novak who are spending a lot of time and effort into making the Hawkeye Wrestling Club an even better club with more needed money being raised.

One thought that I had when I looked over the crowd Friday night was that a similar banquet could be held in Des Moines, Waterloo,Okoboji, and Chicago.  I really believe there are that many Iowa Wrestling fans out there.  Also, wouldn’t it be great if people could bid on items for the silent auction online?  Could the new HWC donor website have something setup like ebay for donors to bid on wrestling memorabilia or donated items 24/7, 365?  Look for the HWC to expand on their fundraising efforts.  I really like the goal of $100,000/month of recurring payments coming into the HWC.  Be sure and check out  They have a thermometer with the goals set.  I know wrestling people are very goal orientated so yet another effective system set up by the HWC.

With any questions,suggestions,or donations for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, contact HWC president Randy Novak at

Thank you to everyone that contributed to the HWC Banquet.  It was a huge success and I look for even more great fundraising events by the HWC in the future.  And of course, I want to see “The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the world” as the home of the University of Iowa Wrestling program to become a reality.  Events like this banquet only increase my confidence and faith that it will indeed happen.

As I am always saying:

               It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!    


Gilman wins Last Chance WTT Qualifier

Thomas Gilman of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club won the 57 kg title at the Last Chance World Team Trials in Rochester, MN.  After a bye in the quarterfinals, Gilman defeated David Terao, 9-4 in the semifinals.  After surrendering a takedown and a 4-point headlock, Gilman was behind 6-0 to Daniel Deshazer in the finals with :44 seconds left in the first period.  In typical Gilman fashion, he went to work with heavy hands and his patented single leg.  Gilman was awarded a point as time ran out in the first period for pushing Deshazer out of bounds to make the score 6-1 Deshazer.  

In the second period, Gilman continued to attack with a single leg takedown with 2:23 left in the period and he scored another takedown to cut the lead to 6-5 with 1:48 remaining.  Gilman then scored the go ahead and winning takedown with :38 left to take a 7-6 lead.  Gilman fought off several shots in the remaining seconds of the match to secure the win, 7-6.

Gilman has now qualified for the World Team Trials in Lincoln Nebraska on June 9-10 at 57 kg.  Hawkeye Wrestling Club members Bobby Telford (Hwt), Nathan Burak (97 kg), Chris Dardanes (61 kg) and Nick Dardanes (65 kg) have already qualified for the ladder tournament.  By winning the U.S. Open, former Iowa Hawkeye Tony Ramos has already qualified for the finals of the World Team Trials at 57 kg.  The ladder tournament of the World Team Trials will be on June 9 and the best of three finals will be on June 10.

I will have coverage of all the HWC and Iowa wrestlers competing at the WTT on Facebook and Twitter.

HWC Banquet Friday night – Seats still available

Wrestling fans, there are seats available for Friday night’s Hawkeye Wrestling Club Banquet.  This is a can’t miss for any Iowa Wrestling fan. This is a great opportunity to meet the Iowa Wrestling coaching staff, Dan Gable, HWC wrestlers, and Iowa wrestlers.  Whether you are a wrestling fan, a parent or a coach, be sure to bring young wrestlers with you to meet the Iowa Wrestling program.  A night like this could make a great lifelong Iowa Wrestling fan out of even a casual fan and have a huge influence on a young person.  There will be plenty of photo opportunities available to pose with your favorite coaches or wrestlers.

There is an impressive collection of Iowa Wrestling memorabilia and assorted prizes that is available for the raffle drawing, silent auction, and live auction.  The HWC banquet will be held at the Kirkwood Conference Center in Cedar Rapids that is a great host and location. Doors open at 5 PM Friday.   

The momentum, excitement, and participation level has never been better in the forty year plus history of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. The Hawkeye Wrestling Club just hired former Iowa Wrestling legend Mark Perry to be their new head coach of the club.  Coach Perry will be available to welcome him back home to Iowa Wrestling.

There is so much excitement going on with Iowa Wrestling with recent unprecedented fundraising, the number one recruiting class in the country coming in, and a very talented and growing Hawkeye Wrestling Club. I am expecting a very energized crowd and a great showing for this event.  The success and support of the HWC is absolutely crucial for the success of Iowa Wrestling.  Here is your chance to be apart of it.

For more information about the banquet:

You can reserve an entire table for your family and friends or for your company.  Tickets are also available for single and doubles. Walk-ins are welcomed on Friday. The HWC is a non-profit so all of your donations are tax deductible.   

To reserve a table or ticket(s), contact Hawkeye Wrestling Club president Randy Novak at

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.  Go Hawks!

2017 HWC Banquet

Friday, May 19

Kirkwood Conference Center

7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


5 PM – Doors open & Silent Auction begins

7 PM – Dinner

7:30 PM – Silent Auction ends

7:45 – Live Auction begins

Mark Perry comes home to Iowa Wrestling

From TrackWrestling:


Mark Perry makes the leap back to Iowa

Mark Perry makes the leap back to Iowa

Mark Perry spent the past eight years trying to replicate the wrestling-crazed environment that captivated him during his college career at Iowa.

He won’t have to emulate any longer.

After assistant coaching stints at Penn State, Cal Poly and Illinois, the two-time NCAA champion is rejoining the Hawkeyes. Calling it a “dream job”,  Perry told Trackwrestling in an exclusive interview that he has accepted an opportunity to oversee elite-level athlete development with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

“First and foremost, it’s Iowa wrestling,” Perry said when asked what made the opportunity appealing. “The state of Iowa is the mecca of wrestling in the United States, not just in Iowa City but all throughout the state.  Wrestling is ingrained in the culture and is loved like no place I’ve ever been, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be around the best of the best environments, both domestically and internationally.

“It’s my alma mater and I believe in the people who are running the program. From the staff to the administration to the army of Iowa wrestling fans who live and breathe wrestling, we’re like-minded and have a vision for where we want to take Iowa wrestling and the sport as a whole. On top of that, coach (Tom) Brands and company are giving me an opportunity to develop their top athletes in an organization that has been considered one of the best in American sports for decades. My passion for wrestling is extreme and this opportunity is a dream job for me.”

The addition of Perry comes on the heels of a significant fundraising campaign for the Hawkeyes that has already netted more than $2 million in gifts to help Iowa construct a state-of-the-art facility.

“It’s time to change the game and I can’t wait to get started,” Perry said.

The 32-year-old leaves Illinois after helping shape one of the most decorated five-year periods in program history. He was instrumental in the recruitment and development of Jesse Delgado and Isaiah Martinez, the school’s first multi-time NCAA champions since 1958.

Prior to Illinois, Perry spent one season at Penn State and two at Cal Poly, where he guided NCAA finalists Chase Pami and Boris Novachkov and watched the Mustangs go from 1-12 in duals the year before his arrival to 17-6 in his two seasons.

In the spring of 2010, Perry turned down an opportunity to return to Iowa as an assistant. He jumped to Illinois the next year.

“Would I have liked to have been around that (Iowa) environment? Absolutely, but the experiences since then have been extremely rewarding and great for my development as a coach and person,” Perry said. “I’ve hardened up a lot.  I’ve learned to adapt and do my best to try to win with less and I’ve been fortunate enough to help young men achieve some amazing things in the process.”

The success fueled speculation that Perry was biding his time waiting for a high-level head coaching opportunity to come along.

“For a long time, that’s what I visualized for myself and my goals were geared around that as well,” he said. “As I’ve grown as a coach, I realized those goals were more about self-satisfaction versus the impact I really want to make for the sport of wrestling.”

(Photo: Mark Perry is headed back to his alma mater after spending eight seasons as an assistant in stints at Penn State, Cal Poly and Illinois/John Sachs)