“Super Boosters” making a huge impact on Iowa Wrestling

There has been a huge surge of fan support for the Iowa Wrestling program and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club over the past two plus years.  There have been so many people step up and contribute in any way they can. The fundraisers for HWC events are continuing to break attendance and fundraising records.  Iowa has also led the country in attendance for home Iowa Wrestling meets in each of Tom Brand’s 12 years as head coach. Iowa Wrestling fans are excited and contribute in any way they can.

There are two main fronts to the fundraising effort involving Iowa Wrestling.  One is the money needed to fund the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Financing is needed to support the HWC members to train and pursue International success while aiding in the training of current Iowa Wrestlers.  No other college wrestling program has had an impact made on their program like the HWC has had on the success of Iowa Wrestling for decades. It is absolutely crucial to keep the HWC prospering and contributing to the success of Iowa Wrestling.  

The second aspect of the fundraising is the new wrestling facility.  What I coined as:

                                                                                          “The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the World.”

Iowa Wrestling is falling behind in what I refer to as the Arms Race in college wrestling and is in definite need of a facility upgrade.  The vision is looking much more like a reality to the point that this project is not if it will happen, but when.

What I came up with to describe the elite boosters that not only make substantial contributions, but them go out and recruit additional donors as well is the status of “Super Booster.”  

There have been two people that I feel are at the Super Booster level that have contributed to the fundraising effort for Iowa Wrestling and the HWC.  Bob Nicolls of Colorado really started things off when he pledged to donate $1 million to the new facility in April of 2017.  Having that first big donor step up and make a statement that this needs to happen and now is what really got this project off the ground.

Last month at the Des Moines Golf Outing I met Jim Sinclair.  The Des Moines area has provided great support for Iowa Wrestling for decades but over the last two plus years the support has increased dramatically.  Having Jim Sinclair right there in Des Moines to promote fundraising in the central Iowa region is very beneficial to the Iowa Wrestling program.

I asked Iowa Head Wrestling Coach Tom Brands about the impact on the Iowa Wrestling program of Bob Nicolls and Jim Sinclair with their efforts to raise money for the new facility and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

“The key words there are facility and Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  They have stepped up for both of those. The other thing is that they are not just contributors in a financial sense, they are spreading the word in the grass roots.  They have worked closely with Randy Novak to spread the word to the grassroots. It’s important.

These guys are volunteering their time to spread the word just like our Hawkeye Wrestling Club Board has done. So really they are like Board members.  You cannot overstate their importance. You can talk all day long and you still cannot overstate the importance that these two guys have had on the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.”

No one person has been more involved in the fundraising efforts for the HWC and The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the World than HWC President Randy Novak. When asked about the impact of Iowa Wrestling Super Boosters Bob Nicolls and Jim Sinclair, Randy responded:  

“I’m not certain I can do justice to try and put into words what Jim Sinclair and Bob Nicolls mean to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club and Iowa Wrestling. Simply put, they care enough about the success of both that they committed a substantial amount of personal money to the new facility AND the HWC.  There is NO doubt in my mind without both of these guys a new facility would not be talked about seriously right now. There is NO doubt in my mind our club would not be as successful without their support.

These guys have a passion for Iowa Wrestling and we are lucky enough to have them on our side. I don’t want to disappoint guys like Jim and Bob, and their help, advice and leadership motivate me to work harder and smarter to keep us headed in the right direction.”

I interviewed both Bob and Jim for my Iowa Wrestling Fan Blog and Podcast.  I felt the same fire and passion from two very intense Iowa Wrestling fans. Bob and Jim both graduated from the University of Iowa and they bleed Black and Gold.  That passion is a foundation to all that they do to help Iowa Wrestling.

When you combine like-minded Iowa Wrestling fans that have the passion, intensity, energy, and attitude to make projects like The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the World a reality, it makes me that much more proud to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

All donation to Iowa Wrestling, to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, or to The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility …in the World are tax deductible.

If you would like to donate to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club or to The Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the World, contact Hawkeye Wrestling Club President Randy Novak at:


Thank you to the entire Iowa Wrestling Nation that are apart of the greatest and most dominating  fanbase in the world.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!


Iowa Wrestling practice before Iowa-Maryland football game

The Iowa Wrestling team will have practice at 8:30 AM on Saturday, October 20 before the Iowa – Maryland football game. The bleachers have been filled with fans in the Iowa Wrestling room at four practices before a football game already this season. Iowa Wrestling fans are excited.

Kickoff for the Iowa – Maryland football game is 11 AM CST. This is also Homecoming so I am expecting the biggest crowd of the year for an Iowa Wrestling practice. Stopping by an Iowa Wrestling practice is a yearly tradition for a lot of Iowa football fans.  The Iowa Wrestling Coaches Clinic is also this weekend starting on Friday afternoon.

If you have never been to a practice like this, I highly recommend it.  It is great for the fans to get a good look at the Iowa Wrestling program and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  

Wrestlers and coaches from the program were taking pictures, signing autographs, and talking with fans at every Saturday practice this year.  Iowa Wrestling is always very accessible to meet with fans.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Iowa recruits competing in The Agony in Ames

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits will be competing at The Agony in Ames on Saturday, October 20.  Wrestlers from around the country will be competing in matches in the two divisions of high school and junior high/elementary.  The elementary/junior high competition begins at 2 PM followed by the high school division at 4 PM.

Cullan Schriever of Mason City, Iowa will face Vince Cornella of Colorado at 116 lbs.  Jesse Ybarra of Tucson, Arizona (Sunnyside HS) will face Jeremiah Reno of Missouri at 126 lbs.  Ybarra, Schriever and his brother Colby Schriever gave their verbal commitment to wrestle at Iowa on September 27 and are in the Recruiting Class of 2020.  

Cael Happel of Lisbon, IA and Drake Ayala of Fort Dodge, IA, are competing.  Happel, who in on my Recruiting Class of 2020 Wish List, will face Wyatt Henson of Missouri at 126 lbs. Ayala, on my Recruiting Class of 2021 Wish List,  is matched up against Braxton Brown from Texas at 106 lbs.  

Brandon Hoselton of Genoa, IL will face Brayden Wolf of Iowa at 195 lbs.  Hoselton is on my Recruiting Class of 2021 Wish List.

FloWrestling will cover the action live at www.flowrestling.org

To order ticket or for more information for The Agony in Ames:    http://theagonyinames.com/

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Cheesehead Invitational will feature future Hawks

I have been making plans to go out and see as many of the incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits this high school season as I can.  After the latest commitment of Ryan Sokol on Saturday, I began looking for any tournament that would hopefully have several Iowa Wrestling commits competing.  Well, I definitely found it.

Iowa Wrestling fans, if you want a good look at the future of Iowa Wrestling, may I point out the Cheesehead Invitational in Kaukauna, Wisconsin on January 4-5, 2019.  I have heard about this tournament over the past several years as being a very tough tournament. With the Iowa Wrestling committed recruits, I have to think this tournament will be even tougher this year.  

There will be five wrestlers competing in the Cheesehead that have already committed to wrestle at the University of Iowa.

Zach Glazier – Albert Lea, MN  (Recruiting Class of 2019)

Patrick Kennedy – Kasson-Mantorville, MN  (Recruiting Class of 2020)

Cullen Schriever – Mason City, Iowa  (Recruiting Class of 2020)

Colby Schriever – Mason City, Iowa  (Recruiting Class of 2020)

Ryan Sokol – Simley HS, MN  (Recruiting Class of 2021)


To sound like an infomercial,  “But wait, there’s even more!”

Southeast Polk HS of Iowa is competing at the Cheesehead.  I do not believe it is any type of secret that Iowa is recruiting Gabe Christenson of Southeast Polk.  Just saying there is a possibility of at least one more to be added to the list above.

I was not going to release this until my high school recruiting preview blog and podcast, but I must show my hand now.  I watched a lot of wrestling on my computer this past summer including Fargo. The one wrestler that stood out the most to me in Fargo for Cadet and Juniors was Nicolar Rivera from Stoughton, Wisconsin.  I see Stoughton is listed as a team at the Cheesehead.

I have had every intention of following Rivera’s upcoming freshman season since I saw him compete in July.  He really impressed me in winning the Cadet Freestyle title at 106 lbs. Rivera looks to have the complete set of skills including strength.  His strength reminded me of Eric Juergens who was a two-time NCAA national champion and four-time All-American at Iowa. Even though Flo has Rivera only ranked at #15 at 113 lbs., I still have him in the Top 2 on my Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2022 Wish List at this time.

Schools competing at the 2019 Cheesehead Invitational:

Albert Lea, MN*

Arrowhead, WI

Aurora Christian, IL

DeForest, WI

DeKalb, IL*

Desert Vista, AZ

Edwardsville, IL

Fennimore, WI

Freedom, WI

High Point, NJ

Joliet Catholic, IL

Kasson-Mant., MN

Kaukauna, WI

Lockport, IL

Lyons TWP, IL

Mason City, IA

Metea Valley, IL

Mt Carmel, IL

Mukwonago, WI

Neuqua Valley, IL

Pewaukee, WI

Platte County, MO

Simley, MN

Smithville, MO*

Southeast Polk, IA

St. Charles East, IL*

Stoughton, WI

Two Rivers, WI

Waterford, WI

Wrightstown, W

* denotes new team

I have no doubt that there will probably be at least one nationally ranked wrestlers at quite a few of the weights and D-I recruits there in bunches.  That is an impressive list of teams competing. I am sure that my fellow posters on Hawkeye Report will have a complete rundown of wrestlers to be watching for at every weight.

I have been going through my memory bank, and I cannot think of a regular season tournament that had this many Iowa Wrestling commits competing.  There may have been some tournaments in the past that had this many eventual Iowa wrestlers competing, but not in the committed stage.

Regardless, this will be one heck of a tournament for Iowa Wrestling fans to take a look at.  I did see on the website for the Cheesehead that a local TV station will cover the finals on a FOX network.  Will FloWrestling be there? I do not see it listed on their schedule. In the internet age, I would think that at least the finals would be live streamed for a tournament this big.

If fans had a hard time finding a spot to sit last year at the Cheesehead, it is going to get even more crowded as I am sure that at least a few Iowa Wrestling fans will be making their way to Kaukauna, Wisconsin in January.  You can count me in on that list. I would think an Iowa Wrestling Podcast or two on location would be in order.

Iowa Wrestling does not have any competitions on that weekend.  There is probably a real good chance that Iowa Wrestling Assistant Coach Ryan Morningstar will make it up for this tournament.

It is October 15 and I am looking forward to a high school regular season tournament in early January in Wisconsin because of recruiting. Gotta love it.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!


Elite recruit Howard rolls to a Gold at Youth Olympics

Elite recruit Robert Howard of Cranford, New Jersey, representing Team USA at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, rolled to a Gold medal at 55 kg/121 lbs.  In the finals, Howard dominated Herman Almendra of Argentina with a 17-6 tech fall. In the first round, Howard defeated 2018 Cadet World silver medalist Fujita of Japan by a 13-2 tech fall.  In the semifinals, Howard downed 2018 Cadet European champion Ostapenko of Ukraine, 10-5.

That is elite International competition that Howard dominated.  His attacking style is just what Iowa Wrestling fans love to watch in the Black and Gold for the Hawks.

Howard, who competes for national powerhouse Bergen Catholic, was ranked number one at 120 lbs. this past season and is already ranked number one at 126 lbs. for the upcoming season.   

Howard has represented Team USA at the Cadet World Freestyle Championships the last two years and placed ninth this year.  He won a New Jersey state title this season at 120 and placed second at 113 as a freshman.

Iowa Wrestling Assistant Coach Ryan Morningstar had in in-house visit with Howard on September 24.

Round 1: Robert Howard (USA) TF over Hayato Fujita (Japan) 13-2.

Semifinals: Robert Howard (USA) dec over Vladyslav Ostapenko (Ukraine), 10-5.

Finals: Robert Howard (USA) TF over Herman Almendra (Argentina), 17-6.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Hawks get a commitment from Sokol

The momentum of Iowa Wrestling out on The Recruiting Trail continues.  Ryan Sokol of Inver Grove Heights, MN (Simley HS) announced on Twitter that he has committed to wrestle for the University of Iowa.  As a sophomore, Sokol is projected to compete at 132 lbs. this season.

FloWrestling has Sokol ranked #9 overall for the Recruiting Class of 2021.  Sokol won a Cadet freestyle national title in 2017, placed fifth in state in seventh grade and third in eighth grade. His season was cut short due to injuries last year as a freshman.

Minnesota continues to produce great recruits for Iowa Wrestling.  

Sokol becomes the first member of the University of Iowa Recruiting Class of 2021.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Elite recruit Howard to compete in Youth Olympics

Elite recruit Robert Howard of Cranford, New Jersey will represent Team USA at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.  Howard, who competes for national powerhouse Bergen Catholic, was ranked number one at 120 lbs. this past season and is already ranked number one at 126 lbs. for the upcoming season. Howard will compete at 55 kg/121 lbs. in the Youth Olympics.   

Howard has represented Team USA at the Cadet World Freestyle Championships the last two years and placed ninth this year.  He won a New Jersey state title this season at 120 and placed second at 113 as a freshman.

Iowa Wrestling Assistant Coach Ryan Morningstar had in in-house visit with Howard on September 24.

Competition will take place on Sunday, October 14.  Round 1 will begin at 8 AM CST and Round II including consolations and finals is at 3 PM CST.


Round 1: 8 AM CST

Match 1: Robert Howard (USA) vs Hayato Fujita (Japan) Mat B

Match 2: Robert Howard (USA) vs Vladyslav Ostapenko (Ukraine) Mat B


Round 2: 3 PM CST

Consolations and Finals


You can watch the wrestling at:



From USA Wrestling:

55 kg/121 lbs. – Robert Howard, Cranford, N.J.

Ninth in 2018 UWW Cadet World Championships… 2017 and 2018 UWW Cadet World Team Trials champion… 2017 UWW Cadet World Team member… 2015 and 2016 New Jersey Schoolboy Duals Team member… Third in 2015 Northeast Schoolboy Regionals… Will be a junior at Bergen Catholic High School in the fall… 2018 New Jersey state high school champion at 120 pounds as a sophomore… Second in 2017 New Jersey state championships at 113 pounds… Born: March 1, 2002… Age: 16

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Opening Day

Opening Day.  To me that means the first day of official practice for Iowa Wrestling. Wednesday, October 10 was Opening Day of practices for college wrestling programs around the country.  This is my 37th year of going to Iowa Wrestling practices and this in some ways was the best Opening Day ever for me.

The Boys were in town.  Former Iowa wrestlers Royce Alger, Randy Lewis, and Rick Novak along with good friend Steve Cannon were all there. Terry Brands had his office invaded my all of us except Rick before practice and the stories were flying around at an Old School pace.  It took me back to the days in The Beach House for a little while.

Tom Brands started practice off with a talk about the new rules in college wrestling.  I will need to study up on the new rules before the season starts. That would actually make a great subject for an Iowa Wrestling Fan Blog and Podcast.

I had not been in the room in a couple of weeks.  I believe all of the Iowa Wrestlers have certified and they look it.  I have stated in a previous blog and I will say it again. Since the first full season of the new weight classes and one-hour weigh ins started in the 1998-1999 season, this is the most impressive looking Iowa Wrestling team that I have seen in that era.  The Iowa wrestlers are at weight and look like they are ready to go now. I know it is a l-o-n-g time until the NCAA’s in Pittsburgh in March, but damn, The Boys look like they are ready to go now. And I mean the entire program top to bottom.  The depth in Iowa room right now is reminding me of the Gable Era. Enough said.

Thomas Gilman is with Team USA at a training camp in Germany preparing for next week’s World Championships.  Forrest Molinari was working out hard in the room. She will be leaving soon to go and represent Team USA in the Women’s World Freestyle Championships.  The influence of having World Team members in the room is so very important.

I am sure that as fans we are all looking forward to wrestle offs.  Having that much competition at every weight is the grind in the room that will raise the level of performance on the mat in competition.  Iron sharpens iron.

Spencer Lee gave a boost to the Iowa Wrestling program last year that had such an impact it is challenging to calculate.  The Spencer Lee Effect, as I call it, showed what the next level is. Now we need to see additional Iowa wrestlers make that step to being a national champion. Lee definitely leads by example on and off the mat.

I see Iowa rated fourth is some preseason polls.  I always try to show respect to other writer’s work.  I will admit that I am not near the expert on the rest of the country like the writers for national publications and websites are.  I have a different approach to this and every season of Iowa Wrestling and college wrestling.  Of all the years that I have been around Iowa Wrestling, there is always competition out there. There is competition out there in anything you do in life.  The true competition for the Iowa Wrestling championship teams of the past has always been in The Room.  

I like what I see in the Iowa Wrestling room right now.  I see Iowa contending for All-American status at all ten weights this year.  Growing up in a wrestling dynasty in Lisbon, Iowa and now following Iowa Wrestling, I have learned to concentrate on the team that I am following.  I know what the best looks like because I have been around it quite a few times. As I mentioned, there is always competition out there in anything you do and college wrestling is no different.  Should Iowa Wrestling compete up to their potential, I am confident that they will win it all in Pittsburgh. The talent is there. The time to get the most excited about Iowa Wrestling is tournament time in March.  It is not even mid-October. Steady as she goes. Steady as she goes.

I have a feeling that this team knows what they have to do.  By that I mean that there is a room of like-minded wrestlers that know what the task at hand requires. There is really only so much a coach at this level or any level can do for an athlete. It is up to the wrestler to take accountability for their training, nutrition, academics, and lifestyle.  Iowa peaked at NCAA’s last year to a level that even I was not expecting by leading the country in bonus points. Peaking at the end of the season at tournament time is a road that this group has already traveled and that is very valuable experience.

Iowa Wrestling has recruited a team that is a little different than what I have seen in the past and they reflect the generation that they are a product of.  I believe this group will have their own unique way of reaching their potential as individuals and as a team. This is a new era of Iowa Wrestling. An era that in my opinion is going to write one hell of a chapter in the legacy and history of Iowa Wrestling.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!    


The new $Million Match for the HWC

I was able to attend the end of the HWC Des Moines Golf Outing last week in Norwalk. Among the speakers was Jim Sinclair of Des Moines. I have heard from several people connected to Iowa Wrestling and the HWC about how instrumental Jim has been as a booster for the Iowa Wrestling program. Jim grew up wrestling in Albia, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa.  Jim is an attorney in West Des Moines.

Jim talked about a new $Million Match program that the Hawkeye Wrestling Club has available now.  I was able to get an interview with Jim for this blog and for my Iowa Wrestling Fan Podcast.

Jim Sinclair:

There is a new fundraising program that allows Iowa Wrestling fans to basically double their money.  There is a donor that has pledged to match funds up to $1 million to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

This is a fully tax deductible donation.  For every dollar that is given, the donor will match it up to a million dollars.  The goal is that the $1 million in new donations will turn into $ 2 million.

That sounds like a great deal to me.  When you have Iowa Wrestling fans standing up and drawing attention to the fundraising effort, my confidence goes even higher about the future of Iowa Wrestling. The donor that is matching the donations up to $1 million has chose to remain anonymous,  The that donor, Jim Sinclair, Bob Nicolls and all of those involved with raising money for the HWC and Iowa Wrestling, thank you.

I contacted HWC President Randy Novak for his thoughts on the $Million Match.

Randy Novak:

From my standpoint, guys like Jim Sinclair are a Godsend to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  This guy has already helped us with the facility and now he is doing anything he can to help the Hawkeye Wrestling Club general fund get to a level where we are on par with some other programs as far as the amount of dollars we have in the bank.  

We need people like that. I am really confident that we will get to where we need to be.  We are lucky to have people like that to not only help us out but to stand up and tell people what our needs are and help me pass the message to our fans to get the word out.  So it’s going to make a big difference for us.   

I would like to suggest some type of a countdown for the $Million Match effort.  Maybe a logo and an updated total to the goal of one million. I will keep you up to date with any news about the fundraising of the HWC.

I will release my next Iowa Wrestling Fan Podcast on Monday with an interview with Jim Sinclair that goes into more depth about the $Million Match program. 

I am really looking forward to the first time that I walk into the Greatest Wrestling Training Facility…in the World.

The HWC is an integral part of the success of Iowa Wrestling.  Do you want to be a part of helping Iowa Wrestling win? Contribute to the HWC.

To join the Inner Circle of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club:  https://www.hawkeyewrestlingclub.com/inner-circle/

For information on donating to the Hawkeye Wrestling Club in the $Million Match, please contact HWC President Randy Novak at:


It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!


Iowa Wrestling commit Assad to compete in Who’s #1

Iowa Wrestling commit Abe Assad will compete in Who’s #1 on Sunday, October 7.  #1 Assad will face #3 Devin Winston of Missouri at 182 lbs.  Assad gave a verbal commitment to the University of Iowa for the Recruiting Class of 2019 on August 7. Assad, from Carol Stream, IL (Glenbard HS) won a Bronze at 86 kg/176 lbs. at the Cadet World Freestyle Championships this summer in Zagreb, Croatia..  Winston has verbally committed to North Carolina.   

Who’s #1 will be held in The Snake Pit of Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  FloWrestling will cover the action live.

Who’s #1 begins at 1 PM CST and Assad is the eighth match of the day.

182 lbs.: #1 Abe Asad (IL) vs #3 Devin Winston (MO)

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling Fan.

Go Hawks!