Iowa Style Apparel

Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling

The first $million donor for “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world”

The name of Bob Nicolls will forever be remembered by Iowa Wrestling fans.  Mr. Nicolls announced on my thread on Hawkeye Report entitled: ‘“The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” We need this’ that he had made a huge commitment to Iowa Wrestling.

From Hawkeye Report:

I had the pleasure of visiting with Tom and Luke yesterday. He wants a facility that will be great for a long time. I will be supporting it with 1 million and discussing with other potential donors, the Foundation, and Athletic Dept. I didn’t ask about the size or cost of the facility, it’s conceptual now. Staff wants to get this done.

I was not a wrestler, but love the sport. I’m standing up and asking/challenging/pushing others to match me or do what you are able to do. Iowa = Wrestling, it’s in an Iowans fabric. We cannot have other schools beating us in facilities in this day and age. Facilities matter to kids, whether we like it or not.

And BTW, we have a great staff that absolutely works their asses off….hard and smart. I hate seeing BS in this Forum suggesting otherwise. Another coach of a non-rev sport was once told by Gable that in order to succeed with his program, “You gotta have the jack (dough)”. Think Roy Carver. We have gotta help the coaches out. It’s time to step up.


Join me as a supporter…….


Bob Nicolls

Franktown, CO

bnicolls, Thursday at 8:39 AM


I nearly fell off of my chair when I read that.  Talk about a bolt of lightning coming down in a great way.  I cannot agree more with Bob about our staff and the negativity that is out there from some people online.

The original blog of The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world: 

I contacted Bob and asked him about his background and involvement as an Iowa Wrestling fan:

Bob: “My freshman year was Gable’s first year as head coach.  I was a track distance runner in high school.  A friend of mine went out and ran on scholarship for track at Iowa.  So I visited Iowa from LaGrange, Illinois and liked it but decided not to be a walkon for the track program.  Then we placed third the first year and then reeled off nine straight titles.  Being apart of that time, wrestling and Iowa being #1 was totally congruent.  

As you roll forward through the years, you almost kind of take it for granite.  But now with other school’s facilities being better than ours, their coaches certainly are not better than ours.  We have the best coaches that work the hardest.  But those guys should not have to apologize for our facilities compared to some other school that kids are considering.  More specifically places like Ohio State, Penn State, you see Rutgers and some other places are building or have new or better wrestling facilities.  In my mind I felt like it is time to step up and give support to something that is just integral to Iowa and being an Iowan.”

I appreciate Bob’s commitment, passion, and support for Iowa Wrestling.  Bob Nicolls is the owner of Monarch Investment and Management Group in Franktown, Colorado.

You may have noticed that I used the work “first” in the title of this blog.  That is because I believe more million dollar pledges will be coming in from the private and corporate sector to build this facility.

For ideas or to show your support in this project, please contact:   Randy Novak of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club:

I will continue to bring you updates on this exciting project. 

“The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.”  Gotta believe it’s gonna happen.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Todd Conner

Tom Brands interview

There is an awful lot going on for Iowa Wrestling.  Recruiting is in full force, Hawk Club members are getting ready for the U.S. Open, and the young Iowa wrestlers are preparing to compete soon as well.  I thought it was way past time to get a Tom Brands interview to get all of us Iowa wrestling fans up to date.  These interviews always get me pumped up about Iowa Wrestling, but this one did more so than any in recent memory.  There is a lot to be excited about in Iowa Wrestling.

We will be talking about the Cory Clark story from this season forever.  What a great story of toughness to overcome two serious injuries.  What is the impact on your program of Cory Clark not only winning a national title, but the obstacles that he had to overcome.

Tom Brands:  That was very big for our program and very big for Cory Clark.  He had a goal to be a national champion and he achieved that goal.  We had a great job out of our medical staff and training staff.  The support was there.  But nobody did more than Cory Clark himself.

What Hawk Club members will be competing at the US Open in a couple of weeks?

Tom Brands: We will have four guys entered.  Both Dardanes, Telford, and Burak.  We have some young guys that could potentially be in the trials.  In Rochester, MN there is the last chance qualifier.  There are a lot of good things that can happen between now and June when we go to Lincoln (NE) for the Trials.  The first step is the U.S. Open April 27-29.  Bobby Telford will be at Hwt, Chris Dardanes at 61 kg, Nick Dardanes at 65 kg, and Nathan Burak at 97 kg.    

Any Iowa wrestlers competing at the Junior tournament in Vegas as a qualifier for Junior World Team Trials?

Tom Brands: We will have seven or eight freshman going there.  We are looking forward to that.  That is important for their development.  That is important for their International goals.  So we will have our Hawk Club wrestlers and our freshman going to Vegas in two weeks and then to Lincoln for the Trials in June.

Any Hawks competing at University World Team Trials?

Tom Brands: We will have a bunch of Hawks compete in Akron, Ohio June 1-4.  We are looking forward to that as well.

I know you cannot get into specifics, but where are you at in the recruiting process for the Class of 2018?

Tom Brands: We know that it’s important to get to these juniors early.  We have a training camp coming up where we have a good group coming in and we have some of our signed recruits coming in.  We are excited about that with our recruiting.  We have work to do but we are not behind.  We just need to nail some of these commitments down and feel good about it.

You recently placed nine wrestlers on the Academic All Big Ten team including three of your ten starters.  I know that academics was your number one priority when you took over as head coach.  Can you tell us about why you push your wrestlers to succeed in the classroom and academics?  

Tom Brands:  That’s important to our program.  It’s important to our administration.  It’s a real topic in college athletics now.  It has to be a top priority one with our administration.  The thing is that the way that entrance into college is changing and you are going to see that continue for a trend because you are going to have a higher quality of students coming in.  So you are going to see more emphasis trending towards academic honors.  It has not been announced yet, but it looks like we may have three Academic All Americans.  That has not happened in a long time.  That would be Alex Meyer, Brandon Sorensen, and Michael Kemerer.  That is very important to the program.  We’re proud of that but we know the fans want the whole ball of wax and we want that too.    

Of your five seniors that you lose in the lineup, will any of them be staying in the Hawk Club?

Tom Brands:  It looks like four of them and we are excited about it.  Cory Clark, Thomas Gilman, Alex Meyer, and Sammy Brooks all look to be staying.  We have had conversations will all four of those guys.  Clark will be getting some of those nicks and injuries taken care of.  There is a lot going on in Iowa Wrestling.  

What are your thoughts on the Iowa State coaching choices?

Tom Brands:  That was a real compliment to us when Iowa State hired four Iowa Hawkeyes.  Three of those Hawkeyes, I coached during my tenure.  Two of them won three national championships in this current program and staff.  One was a four-time All American.  That is a compliment to this program that those guys are that passionate about wrestling and that passionate about coaching.  We are excited about that.     

There are some frustrated Iowa Wrestling fans and supporters that want to donate money directly to the Iowa Wrestling program.  They are having issues of wanting to make sure that their money goes directly to Iowa wrestling.  What can they do?

Tom Brands:  If someone wants to donate money to Iowa Wrestling, they need to get ahold of Tom Brands or Kevin Collins who is the Associate VP of Athletic Development and Assistant AD at the University of Iowa Foundation.

I would like to add that everyone thinks Iowa Wrestling is rich.  That is not true.  We need funds.  In addition to that, you have to compliment the Hawk Wrestling Club people like Randy Novak, Tim Grissel, Mitch Kelly, Aaron Robertson.  You have to compliment those people because they are the ones keeping our heads above water with our events.  

Our personal in our program is strong.  Matt McDonough and Dan Dennis are strong names in wrestling and then you have the four guys that are going to compete. Mike Evans has taken a job at Campbell.  We are adding four new guys to the Hawk Club including the national champion, including the three-time All American who was a Junior World medalist (Gilman).  We are adding Sam Brooks who has International potential.  So our club will go from seven members to ten members this fall. 

How is Sam Stoll coming along with his rehab from knee surgery?

Tom Brands: Sam Stoll is an anchor to our program.  Just like Gilman was the starting anchor, Sam Stoll was our ending anchor in a traditional sense.  Gilman at the front end and Stoll at the back end, that was huge.  His rehab is coming along fine.  He’s serious, he’s optimistic.  His mind is in the right place.  He’s a shy guy when it comes to the media.  He shuns the media at times because he doesn’t want to talk about it.  I can speak for him and say that the procedure went well.  His rehab is right on track and actually a little ahead of schedule.  We need Sam Stoll to be at his best and he is motivated to be at his best.     

You led the country for the eleventh straight year in attendance, which is every year since you became the head coach of Iowa Wrestling.  What have you done and what will you continue to do to see that the Iowa Wrestling program continues to lead the country in attendance?

Tom Brands: There’s great interest in any event that has wrestling in it at the University of Iowa.  There are a lot of reasons for that.  It starts with our administration.  It starts with Josh Schamberger at the Iowa City/Coralville Visitors Bureau.  That also starts with the leadership of the program.  In 2010 and 2011 we started to push hard for the Olympic Trials.  We went to Colorado Springs and put on a presentation and won it hands down.  There wasn’t even a competition in 2016 to get it back because of the job we did.  So we had two consecutive Olympic Trials in Iowa City.  We have the World Cup in April of 2018.  We had the Kinnick event for Grapple on the Gridiron.  All of those are cutting edge.  It is important to our program that we keep bringing in high level events.

Here’s the other thing we are proud of. We are proud of the revenue we are generating by those events.  This isn’t something where we just want to put something in Iowa City because wrestling is important to the University of Iowa.  We have generated significant revenue for the University of Iowa from the Kinnick dual and both Olympic Trials.  The same will be true for the 2018 World Cup.  And do not forget the Big Ten Championships where we blew the attendance out of the water.  You look at the attendance of Big Tens at Iowa versus the University of Indiana, there was at least three times as many fans at Iowa in the stands.  That is a boom and boost to the coffers of the University of Iowa.  It’s a badge of honor for our program.  It’s important to our staff, and it’s important to our fans.  We are going to continue to do that.

When do you expect the outstanding Iowa Wrestling recruiting Class of 2017 to arrive in town to begin their career as an Iowa Wrestler ?

Tom Brands:  We’re going to have some of them in town in camp that we have coming up.  Some will come to town right after graduation.  The others will be training and competing for age group championships. Warner will be trying to make the Junior World team.  The other ones will also be training for Fargo.  And then we have a guy named Spencer Lee that everybody knows his story and he will be getting on campus as soon as he graduates from high school.  


The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world

I have been planning, researching, and creating this idea for over fifteen years.  It is said that timing is everything in life.  Well, if there was ever a time to release this proposal, now is the time.  Simply put, I want “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” to be the home of Iowa Wrestling.

My goal of this blog is to give a brief rundown of what I have in mind.  I of course understand that this will be a complex project.  However, you have to start somewhere. In my book: Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling, I wrote that little things add up to big things for the success of Iowa Wrestling.  You have to start somewhere and get the little things adding up as soon as possible and with faith, hard work, and perseverance, success will be achieved.

I have played the lottery once a week since 2002.  Every time I buy a lottery ticket, I think about how I would give a bulk of the money won to either start or completely build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” to be the home of Iowa Wrestling. Maybe this blog will end up being my winning lottery ticket.

Please keep in mind that this is a wrestling facility for today and tomorrow’s young people.  This is not what you would like, it is what a high school wrestler today and in the future would like and want to be apart of.  Times have changed, and the Iowa Wrestling facility is wayyyy behind the times.  Soon to be fifth best wrestling facilities in the Big Ten, at best, and falling.

To start with, I was there the opening night of Carver Hawkeye Arena on January 3, 1983 when Iowa defeated third ranked Oklahoma in wrestling, 35-7.  Carver Hawkeye Arena was state of the art.  The new wrestling facility was ahead of its time.  But that was 1983.  There was a renovation of Carver Hawkeye Arena in 2011. There was an addition put onto the wrestling room.  The addition helped, in some ways.

It is past time for the Iowa Wrestling program to take their facilities to the next level.  Much like they did when they moved into Carver Hawkeye Arena in 1983.  You probably know my wrestling background.  If not, there is a The author tab on my blog that provides my background.  To start with, let’s take a look at my research.  I traveled across the country for a sales job from 2002-2008.  Those travels took me to twenty-four states and the campus of at least one college in all of the Power 5 Conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac 12, and ACC).  I would simply walk in the door of the college weight room and training facilities, for football if they had a separate facility, and ask for a tour.  I would tell them that I was an Iowan and had went to the University of Iowa. I was in town on business and a big sports fan that enjoyed working out.  All of which is true.  I would then ask for a tour.  I was never turned down.  I would either get to walk around on my own or get a strength coach or a grad assistant to give me a guided tour.  I would ask questions about what was new in the training world if I did not recognize something.  

I have been lifting weights since junior high and consider myself to be fairly well read on what is new.  Having read fitness magazines in high school, competed in powerlifting in high school, and of course my wrestling background.  Between growing up in Lisbon and then being around the Iowa program for years, I was not lacking in confidence about my knowledge of training for wrestling.  I assure you, there was always something to learn.  Who gave me the best tour?  A strength coach from Nebraska, Arizona, and Texas gave me the best tours.  I would spend up to an hour asking questions and learning while getting a tour of their facilities.

Throughout this process, I was of course thinking of what Iowa Wrestling could get in the form of a better wrestling facility.  However, it is difficult to imagine because I had never seen anything that was all that close for a wrestling facility.  That all changed in January of 2010.  I went on a weekend roadtrip to watch my good friend Ryan Morningstar from my hometown of Lisbon, Iowa wrestle for the Hawks in his senior year.  The Friday night dual was at Michigan.  Yes, we won (36-0).  

On Saturday before we left Ann Arbor, we went to the new Michigan wrestling complex that was very new.  My jaw dropped as I was looking at what was definitely the next level.  My pride, and even moreso my ego was crushed that their was a wrestling facility out there at this elite level.  And in the Big Ten to boot.  I must admit, it still stings.  You can view this facility at:

For starters, the Michigan wrestling facility is a stand alone complex.  This entire facility was built just for wrestling.  If I remember right, you turn off of a fairly busy street and go up a small hill and then it is a quiet (at least when I was there) area with buildings for the University of Michigan.  My first thought was parking.  Having went to the University of Iowa and eventually living in Iowa City for twenty years, parking was always an issue, especially at Carver Hawkeye Arena.

I was not shy about walking around and taking in the sights.  There are certainly things that I believe Iowa would do different, but the basis of my idea of a stand alone wrestling facility is pretty darn close to what Michigan has.  The main donor, or the lead gift as it is stated on the website for the Michigan facility, was Ralph Bohna, a 1964 Big Ten wrestling champion for Michigan.  That visit by chance left a huge impression on me as I was able to see the next level.  By the way, we will see the benefits of great recruiting by Michigan this coming season.  They are loaded.  Not a coincidence.

Since that trip to Michigan, I have been fine tuning my ideas on this project.  I always take note of the upgrades to mainly football programs around the country. Facilities is always mentioned when I watch Recruiting Nation on ESPN.  Most of what I know and do for my blog about Iowa Wrestling recruiting is what I learn from college football recruiting over the years of following Iowa football.  Facilities are absolutely vital to recruiting.  As we know, recruiting is everything to the success of a sports program, or real close to it.

This is what I mean when I say: “The greatest wrestling training facility… in the world:”

  1. A stand alone facility just for Iowa Wrestling.  After the remodeling of Carver Hawkeye Arena in 2011, Iowa shares a receptionist and has same amount of office space as Iowa Women’s Volleyball.  Read that part again.    
  2. Location: Off of Mormon Trek Road behind the Athletic Hall of Fame
  3. Build with plenty of room surrounding it for future growth and development.
  4. Two story building with a loading dock for a semi.
  5. Ample parking.  Three days after coaching in the corner of Cory Clark winning an NCAA national title, I saw Iowa Wrestling coach Ben Berhow putting money in a parking meter to go to his job in Carver Hawkeye Arena.  That is just wrong.
  6. A full service Cafeteria.  Nutrition is more important in wrestling than any other sport.  I do not know how even the biggest wrestling hater could argue that.  I wrote a letter to Tom Brands when he began as head coach about this in 2006.  Why do we ask our wrestlers to grab a bite to eat anywhere after practice at 6 PM after a long day on their way to night class or study hall?  H-u-g-e part of this project.  Work with the University of Iowa or if needed the Kirkwood Culinary program.  Gotta have this.  The state of Iowa is the breadbasket of not only the United States, but for the world.  I would think we could feed our own Iowa Wrestlers.
  7. A study area with a large room and individual office rooms like you see in a public library.  After practice, it would be great if the Iowa wrestlers could have their study halls right in the wrestling facility.
  8. A Hall of Fame to properly display Iowa’s twenty-three NCAA championship trophies.  Where are the championship trophies stored now?  I don’t know either.  Ouch.  Also to showcase the fifty-three Iowa wrestlers that have won a national title and all of the Iowa wrestlers that have won Olympic and World titles and medals.  Also showcase the thirty-five Big Ten championship trophies.  Have a section for the Iowa Wrestling academic awards. Great matches and dual meets from the past would always be playing on several large flat screen tv’s. I got this idea while on my travels touring the University of Oklahoma football hall of fame.  It is a better hall of fame than what the Green Bay Packers have and that was before Oklahoma football recently upgraded.
  9. Offices that project winning like the Iowa wrestling program does.  The 2011 remodeling of Carver Hawkeye Arena left what I call a broom closet with no windows to serve as the offices for Iowa Wrestling.  I have spent over twenty years working in an office of some sort.  This is the worst that I have seen.  A real sore spot for me probably because I have worked in an office for years now.  Sorry, just being honest.    
  10. Conference rooms for meetings for coaches, wrestlers, and recruits and their parents.
  11.  Top of the line locker room and athletic training setup with the latest in injury/muscle recovery technology.
  12. A wrestling room at least the size of three and a half large wrestling mats and bleachers for fans.
  13. A weight room to bring Iowa Wrestling up to date.  I never understood why they made the weight room so small in Carver.  Even with the recent edition, the current Iowa Wrestling weight room is not big enough.  I have worked out in the Iowa Wrestling weight room on a regular basis since August of 1985 and weight/strength training is very important and close to me.  We need a much better weight room.
  14. Have a shuttle to Kinnick Stadium on football game days.  This would be a great opportunity to host boosters, recruits, and fans.  Set up tailgaters in the parking lot and on the lawn for Iowa Wrestling parents,fans and boosters.
  15. The name of this facility?  The Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, of course.  A bigger and better stature of Gable in the front than what we now have at Carver Arena.
  16. Have the complex built so that Iowa Wrestling can take the mats out and have banquets for fundraisers right in the wrestling room.  With a full service cafeteria, a banquet for fundraising in the fall and late spring every year would be doable.  How cool would that be?
  17. A neon sign outside in front of the building that would have daily information like practice times for the week and that day, upcoming competitions, and to welcome visiting boosters,fans, and of course, recruits.
  18. Three Flags in the front.  The middle and biggest one being the American flag with the State of Iowa flag and an Iowa Wrestling flag on each side.  Show your pride and let people know what they are looking at.  Iowa Wrestling prepares wrestlers to represent not only the state of Iowa and the University of Iowa, but the United States of America in International competition.

The cost and how to pay for “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.”

The three main steps:

1.Get the University of Iowa to say this project is a go and really get behind it.  Raise a lump sum to build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” and create an endowment at the same time.  An endowment is money that is to never be spent.  The interest off of the endowment is collected yearly to support the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  All with the goal of Iowa Wrestling winning.

2.Present a goal of how much money is needed.  Wrestling people are very goal orientated.  Have the old fashioned thermometer reading with a wrestling twist.  Have levels of donors like: Letterwinner, Varsity, Big Ten Champ, All American, National champion, O.W. National champion, World champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Hall of Fame.

If I remember right, the Michigan wrestling facility cost $8 million in 2009.  The facility I have in mind I am guesstimating to be in the be in the $20-$25 million range.  Combine an endowment of $10 million in for a lump sum of $30-$35 million to be raised.  Of course it would take professionals at the University of Iowa Athletic department to come up with an exact amount.  

3.Raise the money.  Here are some thoughts:

Get sponsors for complete sections or departments and all that is needed.  For example, the John Deere, Resilite or Pioneer Wrestling Room. Get Hy-Vee, Fareway, AE Dairy or Sysco Foodservice for the cafeteria.  Get a bidding situation for Nike, Asics or Under Armour for…anything that is needed.  Maybe the training room.  Casey’s and Kum & Go are huge in Iowa.  Go after Power Lift, Hammer Strength and other manufacturers for the weight room.  Des Moines is the insurance capital of the country so take a look at that.  Pitch to Harley-Davidson, Ford.  Microsoft and Google have a very big presence in Iowa.  Iowa is very well known for education.  I could go on and on.  Now if their were people that wanted to sponsor any part of the new facility, of course that would be more than ok.  I really want a blend of private and corporate donation.  If nothing else, to help the donor along for a tax deduction and to promote their brand.  You could have this be a first come – first serve situation or have an auction like on eBay.

Absolutely any type of business or person could sponsor the Hall of Fame and offices.  I worked in food ingredients for seven years and foodservice for a year.  I assure you, there are a lot food/ag based companies in Iowa.  Maybe the Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.  We here in Iowa are number one in pork, soybean, corn, and egg production in the entire country.  The companies and money is there.

Really emphasize the blend of donations, regardless of size, from people and companies.  Have the entry level of donations to be up to $100 so that anybody can contribute starting at $1.  Also emphasize the blend of a huge corporate donation and an individual’s $20 donation. It all adds up and provides the opportunity to get everyone involved.  And of course, all contributions will be tax deductible.

This is an idea for private donors.  My niece recently had a baby and had an online setup to make it easy for someone like me to go out and buy exactly what she wants.  Do the same thing for this project.  Maybe someone wants to donate money specifically for the Hall of Fame in the form of flat screen TV’s or tiling.  Something that really interests them.  There are numerous former Iowa Wrestlers and fans/boosters that are in construction and/or own hotels and businesses.  If someone has a special interest in weight training, study rooms for academics, landscaping, great nutrition for our wrestler in the cafeteria, whatever the special interest. Provide them the opportunity to donate to what they know a lot about or are extra passionate about.  Once the donation was made for something specific in “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world,” social media and word of mouth would be the best advertising you could ask for to attract more donors.   

Think of the attachment a fan would have if they knew that the money they donated to the “Greatest wrestling training facility… in the world” went to something very specific like a chair, floor mat, a lamp, anything.  Just a thought on personalizing the donor process.

Make it very, v-e-r-y easy for someone to simply reach for their smart phone, go to a designated website, and donate money to contribute in the construction of “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.”

I have had a commercial planned for at least five years that would be easy to do that would involve the Iowa Wrestling coaches that would be great for recruiting and to raise money for this project.  It would be perfect.

Wrestling people are extremely competitive.  Push that hot button with a sledgehammer at a high rate of speed.  After making a donation to something specific in the building process of “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world,” the trash talking on Hawkeye Report, Facebook, and Twitter would be…great.  This would be iron sharpening iron at its best.  Just an idea.

A process like this would also offer effective transparency so that donors would know where their money was going and how it was being used.  I would be all for that.

I have always taken an interest in the donors not only at the University of Iowa, but at other colleges as well.  My interest in that area went up another big level after seeing the Michigan wrestling facility. has been a great source for me over the years getting information about athletic donors and what is called “The Arms Race” in college athletics.  It is a necessary part of recruiting for today’s young student athletes.  For those of you that have read my work before, recruiting is at the core of everything I write about for Iowa wrestling.  Iowa Wrestling fans, we need a stand alone wrestling facility to not only catch up with the times, but to set the standard for years and generations to come.   

Recruiting and wrestler development at all levels would be the main goal in this project.  Yes, it is needed.  Ohio State will have a new wrestling facility inside a soon to be built $40 million plus project.  Penn State just received a $6 million dollar endowment for their wrestling program and have it seems like unlimited financial support. I already talked about the Michigan wrestling facility.  

Just before I was going to release this blog, I came across an article about the “Arms Race” on Flo.  Now Rutgers is building a huge wrestling facility.  There is also news about the Ohio State facility.

Iowa Wrestling will soon have the fifth best wrestling facilities in the Big Ten, at best, and falling.  How does that sit with you, Iowa Wrestling fans?

Let’s be honest.  I am calling Iowa Wrestling for STALLING in facilities.  Actually, the caution for stalling should go out to all of the fans like me and you.  We are the ones that need to push and make this happen.

We are competing against football money and/or much more populated and richer states.  I need to also mention Oklahoma State wrestling benefitting from the largest donation in collegiate history in the T. Boone Pickens $250 million plus donation to Oklahoma State athletics.  He has actually donated much more than that overall.  

For the lack of a more professional phrase, all of this really pisses me off.  More than anything, I want Iowa Wrestling to win.  What can we do to help Iowa Wrestling? Build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.”  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan are football states that also have wrestling.  Iowa is a wrestling college and Iowa is a wrestling state.  Iowa Wrestling is the flagship athletic program in the entire state of Iowa.  We do not have the population or money that the other states/colleges have, but we do not have professional sports either.  In Iowa, wrestling is our identity with Iowa Wrestling being at the top.   

One more thing, we have the most wrestling fans of any other college wrestling program in the country…by far!  It does not matter if these other states have more people and more money if they are not  wrestling fans.  We outnumber wrestling fans of these other top programs, 2,4, even 10:1.  Iowa Wrestling has led the nation in attendance in every one of the eleven years that Tom Brands has been our head coach.  Just compare attendance of Iowa Wrestling against Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Rutgers. Some years we will outdraw all of those programs combined.  Remember the Grapple on the Gridiron?  Over 45,000 fans.  Iowa Wrestling also has hosted the last two Olympic Trials and crushed previous attendance records and will host the World Cup next spring.  That is a lot of money coming into the area.  What are area merchants doing to give back to Iowa Wrestling?  Here is a great opportunity.  What I am getting at is that there would be a great return on investment by building “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.”

Should the University of Iowa put together a professional presentation complete with a 3D walk through of what the facility will look like, Iowa Wrestling fans,the money will come in from individuals and corporate America.  

To quote legendary United States General George S. Patton:

  “America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”

There will be people and companies that will donate to this project that are not even Iowa Wrestling fans, have never lived in Iowa, and are maybe not even wrestling fans.  Why?  The brand that is Iowa Wrestling stands for hard work, determination, toughness, no-nonsense, perseverance, and above all…winning.  America loves a winner and I am confident that the money will come in.  I would not be surprised to see donations made from people and companies from foreign countries.  That may be difficult for non-wrestling people in the decision making process at the University of Iowa to understand how famous Iowa Wrestling truly is on a global scale. Maybe we can convince them on the world-wide appeal, notoriety, respect, and admiration for the brand that is Iowa Wrestling.

I feel very strongly about the following:

The biggest obstacle in building “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” to be the new home for Iowa Wrestling will not be the millions of dollars needed for construction.  The biggest obstacle, by far, is getting the University of Iowa to get behind this project and say it is a go. Get this project to the point that Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta has a news conference to announce the beginning of the fundraising to build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world,” and it is a done deal.  I am that confident that the money will be raised.

Here is what I am thinking of for an Iowa Wrestler’s day centered around “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world”:

  1. 6:30 AM – Arrive at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex, The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world, off of Mormon Trek behind the Athletics Hall of Fame.  There is plenty of parking for the Iowa wrestlers, coaches, and staff at no charge.
  2. Hit a morning workout followed by breakfast.  Have the diet of every Iowa wrestler customized to each specific wrestler and monitored for optimal results.
  3. 8-9 AM – Study time in a private office.  Also an opportunity to meet with an academic advisor to prepare for the day’s tests or assignments.
  4. 9-9:15 AM – Plan the following day’s menu selections via smart technology for the cafeteria to plan and prepare the needed food.
  5. 9:15 – 10AM – Relax in the lounge that will have various gaming options and places to catch a nap if needed.
  6. 10:15 AM – Pick up lunch that is prepared because the Iowa Wrestler will be on campus during the lunch hour.  The meal can be stored in a temperature sensitive container for food and beverages with the company logo of a donor on the side.  This will also emphasize the “Taking a lunchbox to work” mentality.  Remember, this is “Iowa” and “Wrestling.”
  7. 10:30 AM – Take the University of Iowa Cambus that stops by the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex at least once an hour to take the wrestler to their classes on the east or west campus.
  8. 2:30 PM – Return to the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex by Cambus.  Get a light snack and hydrate.  Then report to the Athletic Training center for any pre-practice preparation for any injuries.
  9. 3-5:30 PM – Practice
  10. 6 PM – Supper at the in-house Iowa Wrestling cafeteria with a pre-planned meal. If the Iowa Wrestler has a night class, then supper will be waiting for him after practice so that he has enough time to eat before going to class.
  11. 6:45 – 7:45 PM – Study group and possible academic planning with an advisor. If attending a study group is not needed, then the Iowa Wrestler can relax in the gaming room or lounge.
  12. 8 PM – Catch a movie with teammates in the lounge theater, hit a late night workout, or call it a day and drive home.  Have contests or criteria to see who picks the movie for movie night.  

As far as the impact on recruiting, my theory is simple.  Take great care of your current wrestlers with this new facility, and the recruits will want to be apart of that.  As far as a timeline goes, I also have that planned out.  Have everything ready to go so that the University of Iowa launches the fundraising portion no later than in August before football starts.  Actually, now would be a better time.

Have scheduled fundraisers/pre-season socials in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Des Moines, and Council Bluffs/Sioux City in September and October.  Get Iowa Wrestling fans pumped up about the upcoming season and raise money for the new facility.  Make fundraising part of the HAWK Klub parties after home dual meets. Keep the fans updated and engaged.  Have fundraising events before and after home dual meets.  Have a huge fundraiser when we are hosting the World Cup a year from now.  Ton of options are available if you want it bad enough.  Again, the $ and support is out there.  

Set the goal so that ground is broke in March of 2018 so that Iowa Wrestling can move into their new facility in early August just in time for the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018 members who are being recruited by Iowa right now.  Have the Grand Opening on Friday, August 31, 2018 on Labor Day weekend before the the Northern Illinois game the next day.  Or on Friday, September 7, 2018 the day before the Iowa-Iowa State football game.  Let’s make sure that the announcers for ESPN/BTN know about this.  I can see the new wrestling facility being shown at least once during every home football game and the announcers talking about it because they got a great tour the day before.  I can hear Gary Dolphin and Eddie Podolak talking about “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” now.  We will get support from the media. I will take care of that and make sure that the media has constant updates if needed.

I hope this gives an example of what I am thinking of.  I have been planning this for so long, yet this is the first time I have ever presented these ideas to anyone.  This is just a brief rundown of what I have in mind.  My goal was to peak some interest and to get the ball rolling.  I have never spoke to the Iowa Wrestling coaches about this and they know nothing about it until now.  Good or bad, this is my idea.

My next step will be to see if their is someone in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area that could help me with a 3-D presentation of what I am thinking.  I would want the theme of what it would be like for an entire day for an Iowa Wrestler and for a visiting recruit.  Maybe I can trade advertising on my blog for the service.  Do you know of anyone?  Please contact me at:    

I would really like to meet Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta and interview him for my blog about this.

As far as the haters and whiners that will trash this idea and say it will never happen, please do.  The Iowa Wrestling Nation is a powerful force that I believe in.  This project may not make sense or not be normal to some.  But neither is being the best like winning twenty-three NCAA wrestling titles.  Being the best is never about being normal or making sense.  It is the extra that makes Iowa Wrestling the best.  The Iowa Wrestling training facility should be the best as well.


For ideas or to show your support in this proposal, please contact:

Randy Novak of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club:

This project is my idea, but Randy has the contacts and skill set to take this to the next level.  I have known Randy for over 25 years and I am confident in his abilities.  I will be available to Randy and the University of Iowa athletic administration should they need anything from me on this proposal.


These points need to be repeated:

1.Raise a lump sum of $30-$35 million.  Use that money to build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the World” and have the balance in an endowment to support the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

2.Please keep in mind that this is a wrestling facility for today and tomorrow’s young people.  This is not what you would like, it is what a high school wrestler today and in the future would like and want to be apart of.  Times have changed, and the Iowa Wrestling facility is wayyyy behind the times.  Soon to be fifth best wrestling facilities in the Big Ten, at best, and falling.

3.The biggest obstacle in building “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world” to be the new home for Iowa Wrestling will not be the millions of dollars needed for construction.  The biggest obstacle, by far, is getting the University of Iowa to get behind this project and say it is a go. Get this project to the point that Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta has a press conference to announce the beginning of the fundraising to build “The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world,” and it is a done deal.  I am that confident that the money will be raised.

Either you can complain and give up about Iowa Wrestling not being on top of the college wrestling world or you can get in there and fight.  I choose to fight, and this is my way.

My chapter about Gable in my book: Domination: An inside look at Iowa Wrestling was titled: “Never accept not being the best.”  I heard Gable tell his wrestlers that many times over the years.  I will not accept Iowa Wrestling not being the best.

Let’s pull together, get the Iowa Wrestling facilities up to date, and kick some ass Iowa Wrestling style.

If you believe in this project, you can do a lot to promote it.  You can repost on Facebook or retweet on your Twitter account, and/or get the word out by telling people about it.

Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.  The greatest wrestling training facility…in the world.

I want Iowa Wrestling to win.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Todd Conner

Iowa Wrestling Fan, LLC


Warner dominates in Dream Team Classic

Iowa Wrestling recruit Jacob Warner had a dominating performance in the Dream Team Classic held at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL on Saturday night.  Warner represented Team Illinois against Dream Team USA.  Warner, ranked number one in the country at 195 lbs., scored a 22-6 tech fall over Andrew Davison of Indiana.  Warner was relentless and attacking at all times to score takedown after takedown against nationally fourth ranked Davison who has signed to attend Michigan.

Warner is from Washington, Illinois where he recently won his third state title.  He also placed third at the UWW Cadet Freestyle World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia last fall. Warner is ranked as the ninth best overall recruit in the country for the class of 2017 by Flo.  I would not trade Warner for any other recruit in this class in the country. This recruit just looks better every time I see him and he has a great career in college and International wrestling in front of him.  Warner is apart of the outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017 and will wrestle at 197 for the Hawks.

A look at the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018

Recruiting season is in full force for college wrestling.  Iowa had a very good recruiting class in 2016 that are true freshman in the program right now. This coming season we will see several of those recruits in the starting lineup.  The recruiting class of 2017 is outstanding.  Those recruits will be showing up this summer in Iowa City to begin their career as an Iowa Hawkeye and I look for all of them to redshirt.   

I look for Iowa to recruit the middle weights hard and also the light weights for the Class of 2018.  Iowa Wrestling has very good momentum on their side for recruiting from their success in 2016 and 2017.  The connections that Iowa has made in recent recruiting classes in Pennsylvania and Ohio will be a strong factor in this year’s recruiting class.  Recruits from Iowa are also always the foundation for Iowa Wrestling.  There is not a more influential force for recruits than the wrestlers already in the program.  That should bid well to have Kemerer, Marinelli, Lee, and Warner in the Iowa Wrestling program as recent recruits when 2018 recruits visit this summer and fall. It is vital for Iowa to put together another very strong recruiting class for 2018 and I am confident that they will.

Here are some prospects for the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018:

Iowa has already received a verbal commitment from Nelson Brands of Iowa City (West HS), Iowa.  Nelson is the son of Terry Brands and nephew of Tom Brands.  Yes, this kid is Brand’s strong and tough.  Brands is improving at an amazing rate and I look for him to climb up the recruiting ranks. Brands won a state title last year at 138 lbs. and this year at 152.  Projecting his weight in college is just a guess.  I can see Nelson Brands wrestling anywhere from 165/174/184.  He grew a lot from last year.  It is just difficult to project how much more he will grow.

Of all the recruits out there right now, I want to see Iowa get Sammy Sasso the most.  I already knew about Sammy Sasso of Nazareth, Pennsylvania heading into the season so I was able to follow his matches online. This guy is tough and dominating.  How tough?  He wrestled three different weights this season that I know of in search of the best competition.  He had very few close matches.  Nazareth is in District 11 in eastern PA that has been very well know for producing real tough college wrestlers for decades.  Sasso was rated number one by Flo at 145 but he dropped to 138 for the state tournament.  At State, Sasso had two falls and a tech fall before winning 8-0 in the finals to capture the 138 lbs. AAA title.  Sasso also looked great winning Flo Nationals last weekend.  Flo has Sasso ranked as the sixth best recruit overall for the recruiting class of 2018 and number two at 138 lbs.  It is always a guess with weight for college, but I see Sasso starting out at 149 and possibly moving up to 157.

The recruiting world was buzzing recently with Gavin Teasdale decommit to Iowa and giving a verbal commitment to Penn State.  I am confident about Iowa Wrestling replacing Teasdale with someone at least as good.  The first name that comes to mind is Roman Bravo-Young of Tuscon (Sunnyside HS), Arizona.  RBY opened up his recruiting after the Teasdale announcement as he was committed to Penn State at the same weight.  Look for Iowa to get right in there and pursue RBY. What a great story line it would be every time RBY would compete for Iowa against Penn State, especially if/when against Teasdale.  It could happen.

RBY has credentials a mile long of titles he has won including state and national titles and is ranked as the number four recruit in the class of 2018 by Flo Wrestling.  He was also a teammate of incoming Iowa Wrestling recruit Jacob Warner at the 2016 UWW Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia last September.  RBY is projected to wrestle at 133/141.  Absolutely everything is up in the air until the National Letter of Intent signing day on Wednesday, November 8.  I see this being the top story for the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018.

Here is a very good article that I found online.  This should tell Iowa Wrestling fans all that they want to know about what type of person Roman Bravo Young is and the great wrestling environment that he comes from.

The top recruit in the state of Iowa is definitely Brody Teske of Ft. Dodge.  Teske placed second at Cadet Nationals last summer in Fargo at 120 lbs.  He is also on pace to be an undefeated four-time State champion.  Teske had about as dominating season as you can have.  In winning the 120 lbs. 3A State title this year, Teske was 49-0 and scored bonus points in every single match.  Of his forty-nine wins, Teske had 24 pins, 15 tech falls, and four major decision.  He also had six wins by forfeit or injury default.  You cannot get a whole lot more dominating than that.  Teske was named as the Dan Gable Mr. Wrestler of the Year in 3A.

I was able to see Teske wrestle at the Independence Invitational in January and I was impressed.  Ft. Dodge has a long tradition for top wrestling and for being a very tough town.  That definitely adds to Teske as a recruit.  Teske is ranked third at 120 by Intermat and as the thirtieth best recruit in the class of 2018 by Flo.  I would think that by being the biggest recruit in Iowa that Teske is being pursued by numerous colleges in and outside of Iowa. Teske is projected to wrestle at 125/133.

Another tough recruit from Iowa is Joel Shapiro of West Des Moines Valley. Shapiro was 46-0 with 30 pins this season in winning a 3A state title.  At Cadet freestyle nationals last summer, Shapiro placed seventh at 170 lbs. and recorded four tech falls.  In college Shapiro will probably be in the 165/174 range.

I had a blog in January about how great the recruiting is in the state of Ohio and I that I expected Iowa to continue to sign huge recruits from that state. True freshman Alex Marinelli of St. Paris Graham broke the ice for Iowa Wrestling recruiting in the state of Ohio last year.  Rocky Jordan is one of those elite recruits in Ohio this year. Jordan in the younger brother of Ohio State wrestlers Bo and Micah Jordan.  His dad, Jeff Jordan, is Rocky’s head coach at St. Paris Graham, the same program that sent us elite recruit Alex Marinelli.  Most would think Rocky is a lock for Ohio State, but Iowa is an option.  Jordan won a state title at 152 lbs. with a 8-0 major decision in the finals.  With a 6’1” frame, guessing a weight for Jordan is tricky.  With a frame like that, he could be anywhere from 157 to 184.  I predict Jordan filling in at 174 or 184 in college.   

Ryan Thomas is another top recruit in the St. Paris Graham program.  Thomas won a state title at 160 lbs. this year and is ranked nineteenth in the country at 160 by Intermat.  The St. Paris Graham program is turning out so many tough college wrestlers that it is easy to see Iowa pursuing Thomas.  I would put Thomas in the 165/174 range.

One of the biggest recruits out there to not commit in the Class of 2018 is Trent Hidlay of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.  Hidlay is ranked sixth nationally at 160 lbs. by Intermat but the five wrestlers ranked ahead of him are all seniors.  Hidlay is ranked as the sixteenth best recruit in the Class of 2018 by Flo.  Hidlay won a state title this season and looked great winning Flo Nationals last weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, absolutely nothing is chiseled in stone for recruiting until the National Letter of Intent signing day on November 8 at 7 AM EST.  Iowa Wrestling fans, it will be another roller coaster time period between now and then with a lot of drama, rumors, lies, B.S., and speculation.  The internet has taken recruiting to a whole other level.  That is recruiting, folks.  I for one am looking forward to the ride.  Recruiting is a lot of what I do for Iowa Wrestling Fan.  I will keep you up to date the best that I can as we see the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018 take shape.  I am very confident that we as fans will really like the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Todd Conner

Iowa Wrestling recruits compete in national tournaments

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits Aaron Costello and Myles Wilson competed in the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa this weekend.  Costello placed second at Hwt with a 4-1 record.  Costello recorded two pins and two decisions on the way to the finals where he lost by a fall to Anthony Cassioppi of the Hononegah Wrestling Club.  Costello was a state champion for Western Dubuque (IA) this past season.

Wilson did not place at 182 lbs. with a 3-2 record.  Wilson had two falls and a technical fall for his wins.  He won a state title at Glenwood Springs, Colorado this past season.

Costello and Wilson are apart of the outstanding Iowa wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017.

Sammy Sasso of Nazareth, Pennsylvania won his second straight FloNationals title. Sasso won the title at 145 lbs. Sasso recorded two major decisions, a fall and then a decision in the semi-finals. In the finals, Sasso defeated Brock Wilson of Bethlehem, PA, 9-3.  Sasso listed Iowa as one of his five final choices in a Flo interview in January.  He is ranked number two nationally at 138 and as the sixth best recruit in the Class of 2018 by Flo.

USAW Folkstyle Nationals

Aaron Costello, 285 lbs.

       Champ. Round 1: Aaron Costello (Basement Boys Wrestling Club) over Dan Mangold (Staley High School) (Fall 1:01)

       Champ. Round 2: Aaron Costello (Basement Boys Wrestling Club) over Elias Aguilar III (TEAM NEVADA) (Fall 0:21)

       Quarterfinal: Aaron Costello (Basement Boys Wrestling Club) over Zachery Nemec (Bushido Storm) (Dec 6-1)

       Semifinal: Aaron Costello (Basement Boys Wrestling Club) over BRADY Briskey (Team Utah) (Dec 1-0)

       1st Place Match: Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah Wrestling Club) over Aaron Costello (Basement Boys WC) (Fall 5:19)


Myles Wilson, 182 lbs.

       Champ. Round 1: Myles Wilson (Bald Eagle Wrestling Club) over Amara Kanneh (Coon Rapids Mat Bandits) (Fall 1:19)

       Champ. Round 2: Cameron Caffey (Carbondale WC) over Myles Wilson (Bald Eagle Wrestling Club) (Dec 6-3)

       Cons. Round 2: Myles Wilson (Bald Eagle Wrestling Club) over Tyler Schlegel (Bloomington South Wrestling Cl) (TF 17-1)

       Cons. Round 3: Myles Wilson (Bald Eagle Wrestling Club) over Brandon Tessau (Ubasa Wrestling Academy) (Fall 2:02)

       Cons. Round 4: Owen Pentz (Team Utah) over Myles Wilson (Bald Eagle Wrestling Club) (Fall 4:45)



Sammy Sasso – 145 lbs.

Round 1: Sammy Sasso, Nazareth, PA major decision over Mason Smith, 14-3

Round 2: Sammy Sasso, Nazareth, PA by fall over Jacob McNutt, Grundy, 3:48

Quarter-finals: Sammy Sasso, Nazareth, PA by major decision over Kasper McIntosh, PWC 14-6

Semi-finals: Sammy Sasso, Nazareth, PA over Peyton Mocco, AWA 12-10

Finals:  Sammy Sasso, Nazareth, PA over Brock Wilson, Bethlehem, PA 9-3  


Nine Hawkeye wrestlers named to Academic All-Big Ten team

The Iowa Wrestling team placed nine wrestlers on the 2017 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference team.  To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten, the student-athletes must be a letterwinner and in at least their second academic year.  They must also carry a grade point average of 3.0 or better.  

Three of the wrestlers to make the team were varsity and all have achieved All American status on the mat as well.  Senior Alex Meyer was an All-American last season at 174 lbs. and was a two year starter for the Hawks.  Meyer also won the J. Donald McPike award last week for having the highest GPA on the wrestling team.

Brandon Sorensen and Michael Kemerer were also named to the academic team.  Sorensen, a junior, is a three-time All American at 149 lbs.  Michael Kemerer just finished an outstanding freshman season where he placed third at 157 lbs.

To have 30% of you varsity lineup and another wrestler that saw varsity action in Phillip Laux on this academic team is impressive.  From someone that was around the program,  I can tell you that the first order of business for Tom Brands when he took over as head wrestling coach at Iowa was to improve the academics.  Should you ever hear Coach Brands talk to the team before a practice, you will hear the emphasis that he puts on academics.  Strong academics is selling point of Iowa Wrestling that I believe should receive more attention.  

Congratulations to the student-athletes and the Iowa Wrestling program.  

2017 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference team

Name – Year – Major – Hometown

Stephen Alvarez – So. – English & Creative Writing – Spring Valley, Calif.

Michael Kemerer – So. – Business – Murrysville, Pa.

Phillip Laux – Jr. – Finance – Brighton, Iowa

Logan McQuillen – Sr. – Health & Human Physiology/Biology – Monticello, Iowa

Aaron Meyer – So. – Health & Human Physiology – Pleasant Hill, Iowa

Alex Meyer – RS Jr. – Chemistry/Human Physiology – Pleasant Hill, Iowa

Keegan Shaw – So. – Business – Altoona, Iowa

Brandon Sorensen – Jr. – Sport & Recreation Management/Enterprise Leadership – Cedar Falls, Iowa

Vince Turk – So. – Communications Studies – Hampshire, Ill.

Warner to compete in Dream Team Classic

Iowa Wrestling recruit Jacob Warner of Washington, IL (Washington HS) will be competing in the 20th annual Dream Team Classic Dual Meet that will be held April 8 at 7 PM at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL near Chicago.  Even though Warner is ranked #1 in the country at 195 lbs., he will represent Team Illinois against the Dream Team All-Stars from around the country.  Warner will face Andrew Davison of Indiana, ranked fourth in the country at 195.

Warner recently won his third straight Illinois state title.  He was a 2015 Cadet national champion in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman.  This past summer, Warner won a bronze medal in the UWW Cadet World Freestyle Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia. Warner is projected to wrestle at 197 for the Hawks.

Warner and fellow Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017 teammate Max Murin competed in the Pittsburgh Classic, also known as the Dapper Dan, this past weekend.  Warner defeated third ranked Jake Woodley of North Allegheny, PA, 5-3.  Nationally fifth ranked Murin of Central Cambria, PA lost by fall to seventh ranked Tanner Litterell of Tuttle, OK.

Warner and Murin are in the outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017 that also includes Spencer Lee (PA), Aaron Costello (IA), Zach Axmear (IA), and Myles Wilson (CO).

A last look at 2017 and first look at 2018

Iowa Wrestling fans will remember the 2017 NCAA tournament by the gritty performance of Cory Clark. Somehow Clark won an NCAA title at 133 lbs. with a torn up shoulder and wrist.  That type of toughness is the foundation of Iowa Wrestling.  Iowa finished fourth in the team race with 97 points.  The Hawks lose 58.5 points from this year’s tournament to the graduation of Cory Clark, Thomas Gilman, Topher Carton, Alex Meyer, and Sammy Brooks.  As a fan I would like to thank those five seniors for representing Iowa Wrestling so well on and off the mat.  That was a great class to go through the Iowa Wrestling program.  I have no doubt that all five of these wrestlers will be successful in whatever they do.  

That leaves the 2017-2018 Iowa Wrestling team with half of a team to replace.  Brandon Sorensen will be the team leader next year as the lone senior.  I always appreciate the consistency and toughness of Sorensen.  I look for Sorensen to remain at 149. Michael Kemerer had a great freshman year that found him scoring nineteen points and placing third at the NCAA tournament.  Kemerer will be back even better at 157 next year.  Cash Wilcke at 197 won three huge matches at nationals and was one match shy of being an All-American.  Those three wrestlers will be the core of the 2018 Iowa Wrestling team.  

Sam Stoll had knee surgery in January instead of late March like last year.  That extra time will help him prepare for the upcoming season.  Stoll has at least two years of eligibility remaining.  A sixth year from medical hardship is a possibility as well.  For now, I will list Stoll as a junior.  I look for Stoll to come back better than ever and to provide leadership for the entire program.

I am giving you one last look at 2017 as a way to see what needs to be replaced and then a look at next year.  So much of who takes the mat for Iowa Wrestling next season will depend on the off-season so my projected lineup is nothing more than a good guess at this time.  

I expect the entire outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2017 to redshirt.


My pre-season projection for the 2018 team race:

  1. Penn State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Michigan


My projected 2018 Iowa Wrestling lineup:

125 – Phillip Laux, Sr

133 – Carter Happel, Redshirt Fr

141 – Vince Turk, Soph

149 – Brandon Sorensen, Sr

157 – Michael Kemerer, Soph

165 – Alex Marinelli, Redshirt Fr

174 – Kaleb Young/Joey Gunther, Redshirt Fr/Soph

184 – Cash Wilcke, Soph

197 – Mitch Bowman/Steven Holloway, Jr/Soph

Hwt – Sam Stoll, Jr


2017 NCAA tournament points:

Total points scored by Iowa Wrestling – 97

Seniors scored 58.5 points at nationals.

Returning points – 38.5

Junior – 16.5 points

Freshman – 22 points


2017 NCAA National Tournament results for Iowa Wrestling:

125 – Thomas Gilman 32-1 placed 3rd and scored 17.50 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by major decision over Brent Fleetwood (Central Michigan) (MD 19-6)

   Champ. Round 2 – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by major decision over Nathan Kraisser (Campbell) (MD 22-8)

   Quarterfinal – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by fall over Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State) (Fall 6:04)

   Semifinal – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) won in sudden victory – 1 over Thomas Gilman (Iowa) (SV-1 4-2)

   Cons. Semi – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by decision over Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) (Dec 5-2)

   3rd Place Match – Thomas Gilman (Iowa) won by decision over Nicholas Piccininni (Ok St) (Dec 13-6)


133 – Cory Clark (20-3) placed 1st and scored 20.00 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Cory Clark (Iowa) won by decision over Connor Schram (Stanford) (Dec 4-0)

   Champ. Round 2 – Cory Clark (Iowa) won by decision over Pat D`Arcy (Princeton) (Dec 10-5)

   Quarterfinal – Cory Clark (Iowa) won by decision over Stevan Micic (Michigan) (Dec 6-4)

   Semifinal – Cory Clark (Iowa) won by decision over Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) (Dec 7-4)

   1st Place Match – Cory Clark (Iowa) won by decision over Seth Gross (South Dakota State) (Dec 4-3)


141 – Christopher Carton (26-10)  scored 2.50 team points.

   Prelim – Christopher Carton (Iowa) won by decision over Joshua Heil (Campbell) (Dec 4-0)

   Champ. Round 1 – George DiCamillo (Virginia) won by major decision over Christopher Carton (Iowa) (MD 13-4)

   Cons. Round 1 – Christopher Carton (Iowa) won by major decision over Cole Martin (Wisconsin) (MD 16-4)

   Cons. Round 2 – Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) won by decision over Christopher Carton (Iowa) (Dec 9-6)


149 – Brandon Sorensen (31-5) placed 3rd and scored 16.50 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) won by fall over Matthew Zovistoski (Appalachian State) (Fall 2:11)

   Champ. Round 2 – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) won by decision over Andrew Crone (Wisconsin) (Dec 6-2)

   Quarterfinal – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) won by decision over Micah Jordan (Ohio State) (Dec 3-0)

   Semifinal – Zain Retherford (Penn State) won by fall over Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) (Fall 2:37)

   Cons. Semi – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) won by major decision over Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech) (MD 8-0)

   3rd Place Match – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) won by decision over Micah Jordan (Ohio State) (Dec 4-0)


157 – Michael Kemerer (33-3) placed 3rd and scored 19.00 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won by major decision over Jake Danishek (Indiana) (MD 14-3)

   Champ. Round 2 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won by tech fall over Chase Delande (Edinboro) (TF-1.5 6:34 (22-6))

   Quarterfinal – Dylan Palacio (Cornell) won by fall over Michael Kemerer (Iowa)  (Fall 3:28)

   Cons. Round 4 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won by major decision over May Bethea (Pennsylvania) (MD 14-3)

   Cons. Round 5 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won by major decision over Paul Fox (Stanford) (MD 15-6)

   Cons. Semi – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won by major decision over Tyler Berger (Nebraska) (MD 10-1)

   3rd Place Match – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) won in sudden victory – 1 over Joseph Smith (Oklahoma State) (SV-1 7-1)


165 – Joseph Gunther (20-10) scored 1.00 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Brandon Womack (Cornell) won by major decision over Joseph Gunther (Iowa) (MD 12-3)

   Cons. Round 1 – Joseph Gunther (Iowa) won by decision over Lorenzo De La Riva (CSU Bakersfield) 19-13 (Dec 3-1)

   Cons. Round 2 – Joseph Gunther (Iowa) won by decision over Branson Ashworth (Wyoming) (Dec 6-3)

   Cons. Round 3 – Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) won by decision over Joseph Gunther (Iowa) (Dec 8-3)


174 – Alex Meyer (26-9) scored 2.00 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Alex Meyer (Iowa) won by decision over Austin Dewey (Boise State) (Dec 6-1)

   Champ. Round 2 – Alex Meyer (Iowa) won by decision over Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) (Dec 7-5)

   Quarterfinal – Bo Jordan (Ohio State) won by decision over Alex Meyer (Iowa) (Dec 4-3)

   Cons. Round 4 – Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) won by decision over Alex Meyer (Iowa) (Dec 13-10)


184 – Sammy Brooks (28-4) placed 4th and scored 16.50 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Sammy Brooks (Iowa) won by decision over Nicholas Gravina (Rutgers) (Dec 7-3)

   Champ. Round 2 – Sammy Brooks (Iowa) won by fall over Dakota Geer (Edinboro) (Fall 3:44)

   Quarterfinal – Sammy Brooks (Iowa) won by fall over Emery Parker (Illinois)(Fall 6:01)

   Semifinal – Bo Nickal (Penn State) won by fall over Sammy Brooks (Iowa) (Fall 1:02)

   Cons. Semi – Sammy Brooks (Iowa) won by decision over Myles Martin (Ohio State) (Dec 6-2)

   3rd Place Match – TJ Dudley (Nebraska) won by fall over Sammy Brooks (Iowa) (Fall 2:38)


197 – Cash Wilcke (19-13) scored 2.00 team points.

   Champ. Round 1 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) won in sudden victory – 1 over Tom Sleigh (Bucknell) (SV-1 4-2)

   Champ. Round 2 – Jared Haught (Virginia Tech) won by decision over Cash Wilcke (Iowa) (Dec 4-1)

   Cons. Round 2 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) won by decision over Josh Marchok (Stanford) (Dec 6-2)

   Cons. Round 3 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) won in sudden victory – 2 over Frank Mattiace (Pennsylvania) (SV-2 4-3)

   Cons. Round 4 – Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion) won by decision over Cash Wilcke (Iowa) Dec 7-6)