AMES " Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson sat down and spoke.
Mike Moreno, his sophomore 165-pounder, listened.
"'Mike, you know you've come a long ways in a short period of time,'" Jackson recalled saying on a recent bus trip. "'I mean, can you believe the year we had last year and where we're at now?' He just kind of looks at me and shakes his head and says, 'Coach Jackson, I was in a different place.'"
Not anymore, thanks largely to the mettle-testing journey.
Moreno stands 17-5 entering Saturday's Big 12 dual at West Virginia.
He cut weight to wrestle at 157 pounds last season and got hurt early, quashing hopes of competing in confidence-boosting open tournaments and the prestigious Midlands Championships.
Moreno ended up 4-13, while yielding bonus points in eight of those losses.
"I think it was necessary," the son of 1992 Cyclone all-American Mike Moreno said in retrospect. "I think people need to take those lumps."
Not that they were easy to absorb for the former state champion from Urbandale.
Moreno " whose brother, Gabe, is a redshirt freshman at ISU " stands as one of several Cyclone wrestlers on the rise after enduring rebuilding mode last season.
Creston-Orient-Macksburg three-time state champion, wrestler Jake Marlin, received the, nickname last year as some Panther teammates referred to each other by, superhero characters. University of Iowa will benefit from his talents in the future.
Marlin confirmed that he orally committed Sunday to wrestle next year for the Hawkeyes and head coach Tom Brands, following an official visit to the campus last weekend.
Iowa wasn't at the forefront of his list as Marlin was considering the University of Nebraska and University of Wisconsin. He was won over during his trip that began Friday and concluded Sunday.
"It just clicked," Marlin said. "It's unlike any place in the world. They have one of the best followings. They are constantly one of the top teams in the nation."
Marlin said his style meshes well with the team and coaching staff.
"I would say," Marlin said with a laugh. "I'm a little bit crazy."
He is a really good, too. According to Creston Coach Darrell Frain, Marlin owns a 148-5 record. Marlin has won Class 2A individual titles at 130, 135 and 138 pounds for the Panthers. He expects to compete at 138 again this season, attempting to become the 22nd four-time state champion in Iowa history.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum announced Wednesday that Iowa governor Terry Branstad will declare Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 Dan Gable Day across the entire state. A special presentation will be made at the NWHFDGM in Waterloo, where Gable was a three-time state champion at Waterloo West.
"Dan Gable embodies commitment, perseverance, and dedication"values that are the foundation of the great state of Iowa and its people," said Branstad in a news release. "I am honored be part of this historic event."
Almost everyone knows Gable's resume, including two-time NCAA champion and three-time national finalist at Iowa State and the 1972 Olympic gold medalist, at Munich, Germany. His Olympic title was highlighted by the fact he didn't allow a single point in competition.
Gable coached the University of Iowa from 1977-1997, guiding the Hawkeyes to 15 NCAA team titles and 21 Big Ten championships. Gable was honored in April with, a bronze statue outside of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
When it boiled down to it, Broc Berge had to follow his heart.
It's unfortunate for University of Minnesota wrestling fans, but Berge's heart decided his best option was to leave his home state.
After a long recruiting battle and many sleepless nights, the Kasson-Mantorville senior standout gave his verbal commitment this week to wrestle for the University of Iowa.
Berge was considered the nation's No. 1 recruit at 195 pounds by several publications. He's ranked the No. 11 overall recruit in the country by Amateur Wrestling News. With Simley's Jake Short already committed to Minnesota, Berge was the state's top remaining prospect.
The Mantorville native is a two-time state champion, and a 2012 USA Junior National Freestyle runner-up.
Berge was perfect last season, going 48-0 with 28 pins on his way to the Class AA state title at 195. He went 40-1 as a sophomore and won the state crown at 189. As a freshman, Berge placed fourth at 189.
About a month ago, Berge said he narrowed his college list to Minnesota and Iowa. Wisconsin and North Dakota State had offered Berge full-ride scholarships, but he said it never was about the money.
CHARLES CITY " The Floyd County Community Foundation is hosting an evening of powerful stories about Iowans on Oct. 18.
These stories will be presented by inspirational speaker Mike Chapman at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 502 Clark St.
This event is free and open to the public. The evening will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by Chapman's presentation at 6 p.m.
Chapman, a native of Waterloo, is the publisher of the Iowa History Journal.
He had a 35-year newspaper career from which he retired in 2002, and in 2009 he retired from an 11-year career serving as the executive director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum.
Chapman has written 23 books, 14 of them on wrestling, and his articles have appeared in dozens of national and regional magazines.
As a reporter, he has attended 43 NCAA wrestling tournaments, two Olympics and two World Championships. He has won numerous awards for journalism and writing and has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times by four different amateur wrestling organizations.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. " Cael Sanderson accomplished just about every notable achievement during his illustrious career as an amateur wrestler and collegiate coach.
However, there's one notable exception.
In nine tries as a wrestler and coach at Iowa State, and now the coach of Penn State, Sanderson has never defeated Iowa in a dual meet.
"Is that true? Is that right?" Sanderson deadpanned this week during practice.
"I think there are a lot of coaches who probably haven't beaten Iowa during their careers. Iowa's just had some great teams, some great coaches, a lot of great athletes. It's not something that I'm worried about."
Sanderson's next chance comes Sunday when the second-ranked Hawkeyes visit the No. 3 Nittany Lions at Rec Hall.
Penn State, the defending NCAA champion, is 3-0 in its last three dual meets, all against Big Ten foes on the road. The Nittany Lions won 28 of 30 individual bouts and outscored their opponents 117-9.
"I think we're a more talented team. I'm proud to say that," said Penn State's 149-pounder Frank Molinaro. "We've got more athletes on our team and we've got guys who are better wrestlers, I believe. I believe we're going to win."
Wrestling isn't just part of Adam Pavlenko's life. It's ingrained in who he is. It's what his family does, from his dad to his brother to him.
Some of his earliest memories are from when he started wrestling at age four.
"Wrestling is big for us," Pavlenko said.
Pavlenko, an accomplished amateur wrestler out of Marcos De Niza (Ariz.) High School, believes his wrestling background will help him as an Iowa State linebacker. Pavlenko, a 2012 recruit, verbally committed to the Cyclones over the weekend.
"Wrestling makes you mentally tough," Pavlenko said. "There can be a big grind in football, and you pull out of it because you've been through hell because wrestling is that hard.
"You have to go and train at a level other sports don't approach. You have to push yourself to a different level."
ISU has now landed two accomplished wrestling linebackers in the last month. Kane Seeley, from Perry, committed in mid-July. He went 47-0 last season and won the Class 2A state title at 215 pounds.
Pavlenko's earned All-American honors at the 215-pound weight class, qualified for state every year of high school and won the state championships in Greco and freestyle wrestling "numerous times."
Iowa State University Sports Information Director Tom Kroeschell confirmed that wrestler Trent Weatherman has been suspended indefinitely from the Cyclones team after violating team rules. Weatherman was arrested for the second time in three months early Saturday morning.
According to the online arrest report for the City of Ames Police Department, Weatherman, 21, from Huxley, was arrested for simple assault at 2 a.m. July 2. The arrest is his second since being arrested in April for public intoxication with a 0.23 blood-alcohol level.
Kroeschell told SourceMedia Group News that Cyclones Coach Kevin Jackson was out of town and unavailable for comment.
Mark Palmer of College Wrestling Examiner reported the suspension earlier Wednesday, citing other media sources.
Weatherman went 15-15 at 157 pounds as a red-shirt freshman for the Cyclones last season. He placed fourth at the Big 12 Conference tournament. Weatherman was a four-time state finalist for Ballard High School, winning the Class 2A 152-pound title as a junior and senior in 2008 and 2009. He compiled a 180-8 record as a prep, earning high school All-America honors from Amateur Wrestling News.
Eric DeVos can only guess how many miles he's put on his Jeep Cherokee in recent years just crisscrossing Iowa to tangle with the other top wrestlers his age.
The Waverly-Shell Rock state champion has made countless trips to Cedar Falls, where he occasionally gets on the mat with Denver-Tripoli's Dylan Peters. He's made dozens of stops in Iowa City to workout with West High's Phillip Laux and spent several weekends in Des Moines training with Southeast Polk's Cory Clark.
The odometer on DeVos' Jeep, like many of the opponents who have stepped on the mat with the top wrestlers in Iowa's high school class of 2012, has taken a beating during the group's pursuit of greatness.
"In the past three years, I'd say (I've driven) at least 10,000 miles just for workouts," DeVos said. "I put a lot of miles on it, that's for sure."
Yes, there's competition for the attention of college coaches, for scholarship money and for state titles. But there's also camaraderie with the 2012 class.
"We want each other to succeed," DeVos said. "We want to make each other better. I look at it like you want to win the state championship and that's your goal, but it's really about getting better, making improvements and developing yourself as a wrestler."
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The hotbed of amateur wrestling finally gets the chance to host one of the sport's premiere events.
The United States Olympic Committee and USA Wrestling announced Tuesday that Iowa City was selected to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena April 21-22, 2012. It is the first time Iowa City will host the event that will feature men's and women's freestyle and men's Greco-Roman competition with wrestlers vying for a chance to qualify for the 2012 Ol;ympic games in London, England.
"It's pretty dang exciting," former University of Iowa wrestling coach and Olympic champion Dan Gable said. "The Olympics is the highest thing in our sport."
Iowa City was one of three finalists, including Council Bluffs and Columbus, Ohio. Greensboro, N.C., Hampton, Va., Oklahoma City and Pontiac, Mich., also bid as host. The last three hosts were Las Vegas, Nev., in 2008, Indianapolis, Ind., in 2004 and Dallas, Texas, in 2000.