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Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling

Cash Wilcke interview

The first word I use to describe Iowa wrestler Cash Wilcke is athlete.  From what I have seen of Wilcke in the room and  in competition, you see flashes of explosiveness, balance, quickness, and strength of an overall athlete.  When I see that in a wrestler, I always think there is potential for much more than what I am seeing for results.  There is no limit to what an athlete in the sport of wrestling can do because athleticism is something you cannot  coach. Either a wrestler has it or they do not.  Cash Wilcke has it.

Wilcke finished last season very strong.  After placing eighth at Big Ten’s, Wilcke earned an at-large bid at 197 after a wrestler had to withdraw from the NCAA’s due to injury.  That may turn out to be the turning point in Wilcke’s career as he took full advantage of his opportunity at nationals.  After a first round win over the fifteenth seed, Wilcke dropped a 4-1 match to the fourth seed.  He then won back to back matches by decision and then dropped a 7-6 match in the Round of 12, aka – The Blood Round.  It was Wilcke’s performance at the end of the year that showed how much he had developed throughout the season.  As a freshman basically wrestling up a full weight class, he found himself an eye blink away from being an All American.  

In high school Wilcke was a successful four sport standout at OA-BCIG in Ida Grove, Iowa in wrestling, football, baseball, and track.  When it takes the towns of Odebolt, Arthur, Battle Creek, and Ida Grove to make a school that is still 1A, we are talking small towns.  Being from a small town myself, I take notice of Iowa wrestlers from small towns.  I cannot recall more than a couple of 1A wrestlers from western Iowa over the years.

I just believe that what we saw last year was a tip of the iceberg so to speak of what Cash Wilcke can become as an Iowa Wrestler.  You can tell by the way he carries himself that he is more confident and ready to go this year.  It will be interesting to see how the last year has shaped and formed Wilcke as a wrestler.  In my opinion, nobody has developed more from the Iowa Wrestling strength program than Wilcke over the last two years.  I believe the potential is definitely there for Cash Wilcke to be an elite wrestler.  Now we need to see the results on the mat.  Should Wilcke continue to develop like he did last season, I am confident that we will.

How did making it to the Blood Round in the Round of 12 at the NCAA’s last year help you prepare for this season?

Cash Wilcke: It helps a lot for this year and adds fuel to the fire.  I worked a lot harder in the off season this year than I did last year so I know I am right there.  I have been working hard this summer to get up there this year.

What weight are you going to compete at this year?

Wilcke: 197.  

How did your background of coming from a small town and 1A school and playing multiple sports help prepare you for college?

Wilcke: I played a lot of other sports in high school.  When I was playing other sports I was locked in and zoned in on just that sport.  Coming here it is wrestling all year around and that was the biggest difference from high school.  I have got a lot better in just the last two years I have been here.

What is your major and what are your plans for after college?

Wilcke: I definitely want to stay here and wrestle after college.  My major is Sports and Rec Management.

Who is you favorite teammate to watch wrestle?

Wilcke: I love watching Kemerer wrestle.  He was my roommate last year and is fun to watch and he scores a lot of points.  And I like watching Stoll wrestle too.

Who is your favorite Iowa wrestler of the past that you like to watch tape of or hear stories about?

Wilcke: Lincoln McIlravy.  He’s got a nice Boot Scoot and ducks and that type of stuff and that’s right up my alley and I love that stuff.  

What are your goals for your wrestling career?

Wilcke: National championships.

What is your favorite part of being an Iowa wrestler?

Wilcke: Wrestling.

What has your experience been like as an Iowa Hawkeye?

Wilcke: It’s unbelievable.  I cannot imagine wrestling anywhere else.  This is awesome.  

What are you looking forward to most this season?

Wilcke: Going to war with my dudes.  It should be fun this year because I have more experience and I already know what it is going to be like.  Last year was kind of experimental, but I had some good leadership last year.  Hopefully I can show the younger guys this year what the older guys showed me last year.      

Alli Ragan of HWC to compete in Beat the Streets LA

Hawkeye Wrestling Club member Alli Ragan will be competing in the Beat the Streets Los Angeles dual meet.  Team USA will face Japan in Women’s wrestling on Sunday, October 29 as part of the Beat the Streets Los Angeles 4th Annual Benefit.  Ragan will face Kiwa Sakae of Japan at 59 kg/130 lbs.  The competition will take place in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles.

Ragan captured a Silver recently at the 2017 World Championships, a Silver in the 2016 Women’s Non-Olympic weight World Freestyle Championships, and placed fifth at the 2014 World Championships.  Originally from Carbondale, Illinois, Ragan recently joined the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  This will be her first competition as a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Olympic Gold medalist and two-time World Champion Helen Maroulis 57 kg/127 lbs. and three-time World Champion Adeline Gray 72 kg/158 lbs. will be competing for Team USA. There will be ten matches using the newly formed weight classes recently released by the UWW.  Japan and the United States are the top two Women’s wrestling programs in the world.  

A Benefit celebration will take place after the dual meet with all proceeds going to Beat The Streets Los Angeles.  The BTSLA provides wrestling events and leadership building activities in 24 schools and training center in the Los Angeles area.  Over 650 boys and girls benefit from the money raised at events like this.  

To order tickets or for more information:

I will keep you posted on results.


United States Roster

50 kg/110 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)

53 kg/116 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Gracie Figueroa, Selma, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)

57 kg/125 lbs. – Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)

59 kg/130 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC)

62 kg/136 lbs. – Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)

65 kg/143 lbs. – Maya Nelson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

68 kg/150 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)

72 kg/158 lbs. – Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

76 kg/167 lbs. – Victoria Franscis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)


It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Gilman and Brooks at the Men’s Freestyle National Team Camp

Hawkeye Wrestling Club members Thomas Gilman and Sammy Brooks are taking part in the Men’s Freestyle National Team Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Gilman is fresh off of winning a Silver at the 2017 World Freestyle Championships at 57 kg/125 lbs.  

Brooks recently stormed through the U.S. World Team Trials to make the U23 World Freestyle team at 86 kg/189 lbs.  Brooks will now represent Team USA in the first ever U23 (Under 23 years of age) World Freestyle Championships  in Bydgoszcz, Poland, November 21-26.

Former Iowa Wrestling national champion and Freestyle World Silver medalist Royce Alger, a coach for Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, was also invited to coach at the camp that will be held on October 17-19.

HWC Shoot is a huge success

The 9th Annual Hawkeye Wrestling Club Shoot was held Saturday.  A total of twenty-seven teams competed through the rain at the Highland Hideaway Club outside of Riverside, Iowa.  It should be no surprise that rain would not stop a crowd of Iowa Wrestling’s fans, coaches, and HWC wrestlers.  

The HWC has had a great run of events as we have seen a record breaking increase in the fundraising and turnouts for each event this year.  Great job and thank you to all of the supporters of the HWC and the HWC Board for the organizing of these events.  It is very easy for me to see the impact of the recent fundraising on the HWC and the Iowa Wrestling program.  Let’s keep it going.  

From Aaron Robertson, Hawkeye Wrestling Club Board member and organizer of the HWC Shoot:

“Our 9th Annual HWC Shoot was a huge success despite being the first year participants had to shoot in a steady rain.  Watching everyone covered in mud but refusing to quit and continuing to push forward was a representation of what Iowa Wrestling is all about.

Twenty-seven teams competed and the Amana Sportsman Club was the winning team.  Doug Lee of that team was the highest scoring shooter of the day with 95 out of 100.”

The next event for Hawkeye wrestling fans will be the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Clinic and wrestle offs on November 3-4.  I will keep you up to date leading up to and through the wrestle offs on my blog and Facebook page:

To register for the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Clinic with guest clinician Jody Strittmatter:

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Opening Day

Opening Day for Iowa Wrestling is a great day for me and a lot of fans.  Tuesday October 10 was the official first day of practice for the Iowa Wrestling program. This marks my thirty-fifth year of going to practices in the Iowa Wrestling room and if anything, it is getting better for me as a fan.  Each year is a new beginning while building on the past.  

By Opening Day every year I have already had a good look at the new recruiting class when they were working out on their own.  There is always the changing of the guard of the previous year’s seniors that are now in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club and changing roles to help the new guys like HWC members had helped them.  

The real big change on Opening Day is intensity.  No matter how intense a workout gets when Iowa wrestlers are working out on their own, it is nothing like Opening Day.  Tom and Terry Brands are legendary for their intensity.  You could feel the intensity in the air and even as just a fan I find myself sitting up a little straighter in the bleachers in an environment like that.  

The anticipation of the upcoming season is in the air and there is a sense of urgency once the official practices begin.  I really do not have a lot of new thoughts to add for this blog as my previous blogs about the last two Open Practices have taken care of that.

To start with, I downright love what I am seeing from our number one rated Recruiting Class of 2017. This class may be headlined by Lee and Warner, but this group from top to bottom is full of hard workers and very tough wrestlers.  I am expecting a lot of success from this class of recruits.  

I am also excited about the new members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  Seeing Thomas Gilman, Cory Clark, Sammy Brooks, and Alex Meyer working with the younger wrestlers as the torch is being passed down has been the cornerstone of Iowa Wrestling since their great success began over forty years ago.  When I interviewed Iowa Wrestling legends for my book: Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling, they all brought up the importance of the Hawk Club wrestlers that helped to develop them when they first arrived on campus.  The Hawkeye Wrestling Club may have been the most important aspect of the success of the Dan Gable era.

All of the energy, resources, and fund raising for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club in just the last six months has definitely made a huge difference in the Iowa Wrestling room already.  The recent success of Thomas Gilman winning a World Silver and Sammy Brooks making the U23 World Freestyle team is a great influence on the younger wrestlers.  Alex Meyer had a great showing in the Greco Roman U23 World Team Trials.  Having that Greco-Roman influence in the room and program will only help.  Cory Clark is getting healthy and about to begin what I think will be a great career in International Freestyle wrestling.  Great job to keep those four graduating seniors in the room and with the HWC and great job by those wrestlers for their recent success.  All of this adds up to momentum for the entire Iowa Wrestling program.

Iowa Wrestling will put a very tough team on the mat this year and will have at the most two seniors (Sorensen and Laux) and very few juniors.  We will see a lot of sophomores, freshman, and possibly a true freshman in the lineup this season.  Yes, the future looks great, but I am pretty excited about the present.

As a fan, I am hoping for a healthy Sam Stoll this year.  This guy has faced a season ending injury in each of the last two years and has come back better than he was before.  That speaks of a lot of heart, toughness, and guts.  I am a big fan of Stoll and I want justice to be served in seeing him get the opportunity to showcase what he has.  I have found over the years to never place limitations on someone with that type of toughness.

I spoke briefly with Tom Brands on Saturday at the Open Mat.  I told him that Iowa Wrestling is my entertainment and that I plan on being very entertained by his wrestling team this season.

Iowa Wrestling 2018.  Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.


Iowa target recruit Hidlay shines at Who’s #1

Trent Hidlay of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania had a very impressive performance at Who’s #1 by pinning second ranked Julian Ramirez of Florida (Blair Academy) at 170 lbs. Who’s #1 is a dual meet format by FloWrestling with a great assembly of some of the top high school wrestlers in the country. With the score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation from both wrestlers getting an escape, Hidlay kept the pressure on and countered a throw while attacking on a shot that caught Ramirez on his back for the pin just :20 into overtime.  Hidlay was definitely the aggressor throughout the match by pushing the pace and taking shots.  His pressure was a deciding factor in the match ending so quickly by fall in overtime.  Hidlay is ranked number one and Ramirez number two at 170 lbs. by FloWrestling at this time.  

With that type of attacking style that I saw against a flexible, strong, and counter wrestler, Hidlay already looks the part of being an Iowa wrestler.  In my opinion, Hidlay is the top prospect that Iowa Wrestling is pursuing to add to the Recruiting Class of 2018 that already has Nelson Brands (Iowa City, Iowa – 152 lbs.) and Anthony Cassioppi (Roscoe, IL – Hwt).  Hidlay had his official recruiting visit to Iowa on the weekend of September 23.  According to Flo, Iowa is a finalist of four schools that Hidlay is looking at including Lehigh, North Carolina State, and Purdue.  From what I saw Iowa Wrestling fans, we definitely want Trent Hidlay in the Black and Gold of Iowa Wrestling. National Letter of Intent Signing Day is Wednesday, November 8.  

Iowa Wrestling coaches Terry Brands and Ryan Morningstar were in attendance for the Who’s #1 that was held on the campus of Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Penn State recruiting commits went 0-4 in the Who’s #1 dual meet.  A tip of the hat to FloWrestling for putting on a great show.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Brooks wins U23 World Team Trials

Former Iowa Hawkeye All American Sammy Brooks defeated Myles Martin of Ohio State in two straight matches to win the U23 World Team Trials at 86 kg (189 lbs.).  Brooks had a great tournament at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN that started off with two tech falls before defeating Minnesota All American Brett Pharr 4-0 in the semifinals.  Brooks defeated Ohio State 2016 national champion Myles Martin 9-5 and 13-8 to sweep the best of three series in the finals.  

Brooks will now represent Team USA in the first ever U23 (Under 23 years of age) World Freestyle Championships  in Bydgoszcz, Poland, November 21-26. From my understanding, U23 has replaced Universities as an International World Championship.  Brooks was a two-time All American for the University of Iowa at 184 lbs. in 2016 and 2017.

Alex Meyer also had a very good tournament by placing fourth at 80 kg (176 lbs.) in Greco-Roman.  After winning an 11-8 quarterfinal match, Meyer dropped a very close match to reigning Junior GR World champion Kamal Bey in the semifinals, 9-7.  Meyer responded with a tech fall before dropping a decision to place fourth. Considering this was Meyer’s first Greco-Roman competition since he was in high school over five years ago, I thought this was a great showing. Give Meyer some more specific GR training and he will be a force in the GR World Team Trials next year.  Meyer was an All American at Iowa in 2016 at 174 lbs.  

The performance of Brooks and Meyer will only add to the momentum that Iowa Wrestling has going for them with Thomas Gilman’s World Freestyle Silver performance this summer and a team ready to roll for the upcoming season. This is also great for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club that has had a huge spike in members, a new head coach, and increased fundraising recently.

Having an Iowa Hawkeye representing Team USA in a World Freestyle Championships at 189 lbs. will also be a nice addition to the recruiting pitch for Iowa Wrestling to prospective recruits.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.


86 KG

Champ. Round 1 – Samuel Brooks (NYAC/HWC) won by tech fall over Shabaka Johns (Indiana Pride Wrestling Academ) (TF 10-0)

Quarterfinal – Samuel Brooks (NYAC/HWC) won by tech fall over Nick Thompson (Rochester Community) (TF 10-0)

Semifinal – Samuel Brooks (NYAC/HWC) won by decision over Brett Pfarr (Minnesota Storm) (Dec 4-0)

Finals FS 86 

Round 1 – Samuel Brooks (NYAC/HWC) won by decision over Myles Martin (Ohio State/Ohio RTC/TMWC) (Dec 9-5)

Round 2 – Samuel Brooks (NYAC/HWC) won by decision over Myles Martin (Ohio State/Ohio RTC/TMWC) (Dec 13-8


GR 80 KG

Champ. Round 1 – Alex Meyer (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) received a bye () (Bye)

Quarterfinal – Alex Meyer (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) won by decision over Carter Nielsen (NMU-OTS) (Dec 11-8)

Semifinal – Kamal Bey (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) won by decision over Alex Meyer (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) (Dec 9-7)

Cons. Semi – Alex Meyer (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Aaron Trygstad (Otero County WC) (TF 8-0)

3rd Place Match – Carter Nielsen (NMU-OTS) won by decision over Alex Meyer (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) (Dec 7-2)


A look at Iowa Wrestling’s Open Mat

A good crowd saw another tough workout for the Iowa and HWC wrestlers for an Open Mat on Homecoming weekend.  A few thoughts:

  1. I had not been in the room for a week and a half.  It was easy to see that the team had certified for weight this week.  They definitely look different with the drop in weight and appear to be in-season shape and ready to go in early October.
  2. Sam Stoll and Patricio Lugo look better every time I see them.  Stoll looks so much quicker at his new weight in the 265 lbs. range.  Lugo is a mix of talent and toughness that is only going to get much better over time and he should be a real force next year.  I also really like what I am seeing from Cash Wilcke. His success this year will not surprise me.   
  3. I mentioned in a blog when Spencer Lee gave his verbal commitment to Iowa in April of 2016 that my only concern was if he would be big enough for 125 in college.  Well, that is definitely not a concern now.  Lee has really developed physically over just the last six months and he looks the part right now.  Let’s give him a couple of months to work his way back into shape and go from there.  As an Iowa Wrestling fan, it is very challenging not to get excited about wanting to see Lee’s career start sooner than later.     
  4. I was able to speak briefly with Thomas Gilman and thank him for the great entertainment of following him at the World Championships and to congratulate him on his success.  I do not believe you can overstate the importance of Gilman’s World Silver performance to the Iowa Wrestling program.  That was a huge step in the right direction for Iowa Wrestling to build the entire season around.
  5. Cory Clark looks T-O-U-G-H!  I would say the time to rehab his injuries have allowed his body to heal and grow.  He looks noticeably bigger now than just five months ago.  I really think this new system of weigh-ins two days in a row at scratch weight for International wrestling is just perfect for Clark.  He will still need to get a little bigger and stronger and work his way back into competition shape.  I feel as though Cory Clark has a huge upside in Freestyle wrestling.  I can see him getting a lot of four-point and two-point moves on his feet and be a consistent turner on the mat and of course being very difficult to score on.  I believe Cory Clark’s best wrestling is still in front of him.  The Gilman-Clark one-two will continue at the next level and as a fan I will be watching and writing about them.  
  6. Matt McDonough is working out real hard.  Will he be competing again?  
  7. To say it again from the last Open Practice, there are some seriously big dudes in the Iowa Wrestling room right now.  I do not know if I have ever seen that many big guys in that room before.  That is saying a lot.  The weight room is definitely getting used.
  8. A shout out to a couple of Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers that I really appreciate as a fan.  Jeren Glosser (Eddyville-Blakesburg HS/Eddyville, IA) (149 lbs.) and Paul Glynn of Bettendorf, Iowa (133 lbs.).  Those guys are fighting hard every workout and are just flat out tough.  For the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, Bobby Telford is in that grind out a tough workout every time as well and I look for him to have a great year in Freestyle.  
  9. I was able to sit by Olympic Gold medalist and Hall of Famer Randy Lewis, aka: The Great One.  I always enjoy talking to LewBoo as I find his knowledge of wrestling to be as good as anyone I have known, especially about International Freestyle wrestling.
  10. The “Diamond-in-the-rough” in the Iowa room is Myles Wilson, a true freshman from Colorado.  Should he pick up technique and strategy to match his physicality, look out.  Wilson is not missing anything that cannot be learned and earned with a lot of hard work.
  11. That was probably the best I have seen Vince Turk in quite some time.  The wrestle off between Turk and Carter Happel at 141 lbs. will be a good one because they are both peaking at the right time.  I would think that weight will not be decided until long after the wrestle offs on November 3-4 unless the first to start takes off once they hit competition.  Too close to call for me at this time.
  12. I really believe Iowa is going to be a hell of a lot better than people are expecting this year.  Of course seeing Spencer Lee only added to that for me.  A coin flip on whether or not Spencer Lee wrestles this year or not in my opinion.  I told Tom Brands that Iowa Wrestling is my entertainment and that I plan on being very entertained following his team this season.
  13. Iowa Wrestling will probably have a practice before the Minnesota football game on October 28.  I will be sure and keep you posted.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.         

Meyer and Brooks to compete in U23 World Team Trials

Former Iowa wrestlers and current Hawkeye Wrestling Club members Alex Meyer and Sammy Brooks will be competing in the U23 World Team Trials on October 7-8.  The Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN will be the host for the World Team Trials for Mens and Womens Freestyle and mens Greco-Roman.  

This is the first year for the Under 23 years old division for the UWW.  The winners of the trials will represent Team USA at the first ever U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, November 21-26.

Meyer, and All-American at 174 lbs. for Iowa, will compete at 85 kg (176 lbs.) in Greco-Roman.  Brooks, a two-time All-American at 184 lbs. for Iowa, will compete in Freestyle at 86 kg (189 lbs.).

TrackWrestling will have a live broadcast of the entire U23 World Team Trials at

I will post updates on: