Amateur Wrestling news, gear and photos from the side of the mat.

Blog Archives

Olympic wrestling trials return to Iowa City in 2016

May 7th, 2015 by Tom

2012 USA Wrestling Olympic Trials

The road to the Summer Olympics for the country’s wrestlers will again go through Iowa City.

USA Wrestling announced Wednesday via social media that the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 8-10. The event returns after being held at CHA in 2012.

The announcement was a chance for fans and members of the local community to circle the date on their calendars. The date had to be finalized so the national team could be determined in relation to the international wrestling schedule.

“People around the country and in the Iowa City and Iowa community are going to want the ability to make plans,” USA Wrestling Director of Communications and Special Projects Gary Abbott said. “As soon as the details were established, and we could give a specific date for the Olympic Trials and make a commitment to Iowa City, we wanted to get it out right away.”

The 2012 Trials smashed USA Wrestling attendance records for the event, totaling more than 50,000 total spectators over four sessions of the two-day event. A group of local wrestling leaders and event producers flew to Colorado Springs, Colo., to pitch for the 2012 Trials, contending with other sites. This time their previous results provided all the persuasion they needed.

“Because of the success of the Iowa City event in 2012, USA Wrestling had a continued conversation with Iowa City about the possibility of returning,” Abbott said. “The decision was a decision to continue our working relationship with the people in Iowa City, both the university and the (Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau) and all of the people that were part of making 2012 such a good success.”

The state’s support of the sport and long history of success makes a perfect marriage with the event.

“We’re thrilled this day has arrived,” UI Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a statement. “From the moment the last Olympic Trials left our community, we knew we wanted the event to return. Wrestling fans from around the world experienced the Hawkeye tradition in 2012 and we’re excited and honored to do it again.”

ICCACVB President Josh Schamberger said he was relieved of the official announcement. Bringing the nation’s top amateur wrestling event back to Iowa City was a top priority for him.

“We are very happy,” Schamberger said. “I would feel as if I let down, not just the wrestling friends and program here, if our organization didn’t do everything that we could to help the university land this but I’d feel I’d have let down the whole entire state, being wrestling is such a big deal.”

Schamberger said the local group, that included legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable, Iowa head coach and Olympic champion Tom Brands, Cornell Coach Mike Duroe and UI’s Les Steenlage, had a vision to create a lasting home for the event here. They did enough to earn another turn.

“I don’t think there was anybody on the local organizing committee that had any hopes that it would go any other place,” Schamberger said. “I’m looking forward to playing our role and putting on a bit of an encore together for 2016 and as soon as that is done, hopefully, we can start on 2020.”

The event made a big economic impact, generating $5.6 million for local communities. It wasn’t contained to the Iowa City and Coralville area. Schamberger said some fans stayed as far away as Cedar Rapids during the event.

“It was substantial,” Schamberger said. “It’s one of the largest amateur sporting events that the Corridor hosts and has hosted. When you have the ability to bring something to this community that does so much good for the wrestling program and the university but also does a lot of good for the town, that is a win-win.”

The Olympic Trials will be the exclamation mark on a banner year in 2016 for Eastern Iowa wrestling. Iowa also will host the Big Ten Championships and Cedar Rapids will host the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in March.

“If you’re a wrestling fan in Iowa, it’s really kind of like Christmas,” Schamberger said. “We’re going to be really spoiled in 2016. That is just awesome.”

Cyclones’ Moreno in better place in 2013

January 29th, 2013 by Tom

Nick Moore - Wrestler

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.

"If I just follow his lead, I know great things will come for me," Gabe said.

The team-wide growth began accelerating on the heels of a gut-wrenching 32-3 loss Dec. 1 at arch-rival Iowa.

"They weren't tired, they weren't exhausted," Jackson said of his athletes after that match. "They didn't get beat because of conditioning and things like that. We just didn't go out there and lay it on the line and let the chips fall where they may."

Point taken.

The Cyclones (4-3, 0-1) have won three straight dual meets.

Moreno is one of five top-20 wrestlers in the lineup " and also one of seven freshman or sophomores slated to start in Morgantown.

"We're definitely clicking more as a team," said ISU's Kyven Gadson, a sophomore and fellow legacy wrestler tabbed No. 11 by Intermat at 197.

No one's clicking more " in terms of a reversal of fortune " than Moreno, whose dad was coaching Gabe to a state 3A title at 145 pounds last season.

"Everybody's going to struggle," said the eldest Mike. "But everything happens for a reason. And his struggles last year are going to help him out in life. Flat out, it's going to help him."

It already is.

All of Moreno's losses this season have come against ranked foes.

Four of the five were lost be a total of seven points and two ended in overtime.

"The fact that I'm not getting blown out, that was cool for a while, but now, it's not just OK to keep it close," he said. "It's time to be a man. It's time to start getting these Ws."

Clearly, a different "different place" is now in sight.

"His expectation is to be an all-American before his dad was," Jackson said.


"My goal isn't just to be on the podium this year," Moreno said. "It's to win it this year. It's above and beyond and that's how it has to be."

Same goes for Gabe.

It's how dad wants it to be.

"They're ahead of where I was," Mike Moreno said of his sons. "And I'm proud as hell about it."

Creston-OM wrestling champion Marlin commits to Hawkeyes

October 27th, 2012 by Tom

Captain America plans to return, to Iowa City.

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.

Marlin said he will wrestle 141 pounds with a possibility of growing into the 149 weight class. He has big aspirations, and considers the Hawkeye wrestling room the place to achieve them.

"I'm planning on winning at least two (NCAA titles)," Marlin said. "That's my goal."

Frain said he thinks Iowa is a perfect for the Marlin. He said former Hawkeye Mario Galanakis has been on the Panthers staff, guiding Marlin. Frain said he has witnessed Marlin's ability to zone in on a feat and never, slow down, until it is accomplished.

"Once he gets a goal he gets focused on it," Frain said. "He puts blinders on and he goes and goes until he

According to Amateur Wrestling News, Marlin was a double All-American at Fargo, N.D., in 2010, placing fourth in freestyle and seventh in Greco-Roman. He said his performance this summer her his stock, dropping him from national rankings, but he is fueled to prove doubters wrong.

"Right now, I'm working hard," Marlin said. "I'm ready to go."

According to AWN, Marlin is the second prep to commit to the Hawkeyes, joining Broc Berge, a projected 197-pounder from Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.

Iowa governor declares Oct. 25 ‘Dan Gable Day’ to honor wrestling legend

October 20th, 2012 by Tom

 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.

Below is a news release from NWHFDGM:

Dan Gable Day to be declared by governor

WATERLOO"Iowa's greatest sports figure and Iowa's longest serving governor will be the focal point of a special presentation in Waterloo. Iowa governor Terry Branstad will declare October 25, 2012, as Dan Gable Day statewide with a special proclamation to be read at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

Gable was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on October 25, 1948. He turns 64 on the day of the presentation.

"Dan Gable embodies commitment, perseverance, and dedication"values that are the foundation of the great state of Iowa and its people," said Branstad. "I am honored be part of this historic event."

Gable won three individual state wrestling titles at West Waterloo (1964-1966) and compiled a 64-0 career high school record. He went on to win two individual NCAA titles at Iowa State University with a career college record of 117-1. Gable won an Olympic gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics without surrendering a point.

Gable went on to lead the University of Iowa to 15 NCAA championships and 21 consecutive Big 10 titles in 21 seasons (1977-1997) during his tenure as head wrestling coach. In 2000, Sports Illustrated named him the top sports in the state. There are three statues throughout the state dedicated to Dan Gable's legacy.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with a reception at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. A short program will begin at 10 a.m. with comments from Governor Branstad and Dan Gable. The proclamation declaring October 25, 2012, as Dan Gable Day will be read aloud by Governor Branstad.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum is located at 303 Jefferson St. in Waterloo. Contact the museum at (319)233-0745 or [email protected] with questions about the event. This event is free and open to the public.

Recruiting battle finally over for Berge

October 19th, 2012 by Tom

 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.

Berge visited both Iowa and Minnesota recently. The visit to Iowa went well, Berge said.

"I like (coaches) Tom and Terry Brands a lot," Berge said. "I will get the same coaching down at Iowa as I do in our room from (former Hawkeye and current K-M co-head coach Jamie Heidt). That was a big pull for Iowa. I got along with the guys really well. Plus, I saw some of their workouts and their intensity and just their overall attitude in the room, and it was the place I needed to be to succeed and win the national titles I'm hoping to get."

Berge said the recruiting process wore on him. He grew tired of the constant questions. Berge said it got to the point that after school he would go to football practice " he's also one of the area's top running backs " then go straight home every day, simply to avoid the questions.

"It was stressful. It wasn't bad stress, but it was still stressful," Berge said.

Wrestling practice begins in a few weeks, and Berge said he wanted to make his decision immediately so he could focus on the KoMets' goal of winning a state team title.

Still, the decision was far from easy. Berge said he did feel allegiance to his home state. He said he felt pressure from Minnesota fans, but everything that happened in the recruiting process pointed Berge toward Iowa.

"I liked that Iowa City is a little smaller; I'm from a small town, and it just seems like the Cities would be more stressful and take away from my focus," Berge said. "With (friends) like (Jake) Short and Nick Wanzek (both of Simley) going to Minnesota, I did feel comfortable there. But Iowa just ended up being the best fit."

It helped that Terry and Tom Brands made it clear how badly they wanted Berge to be a Hawkeye. Berge said he felt that love right away from the Hawkeyes.

"It came down to me feeling that Iowa was the best place to shape me, not just as a wrestler, but as a person," Berge said.

Chapman will share stories of Iowans on Oct. 18

October 18th, 2012 by Tom

 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.

Chapman is also the founder of WIN Magazine, one of the nation's top amateur wrestling publications; the WIN Memorabilia Show, which draws 8,000 fans each year to the NCAA Championships, and the Dan Hodge Trophy, which goes each year to the top college wrestler in the United States.

He has interviewed,  Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, Lou Ferrigno and many others.

Chapman has appeared on numerous TV shows - including the networks ESPN, A&E, Fox Sports and Iowa Public Television. He has been the guest on over 200 radio talk shows.

PSU’s Sanderson seeks to end Hawkeye hex on mat

January 22nd, 2012 by Tom

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."

According to InterMat's latest individual rankings, eight Penn State wrestlers are ranked among the top 12 at their respective weights, including four ranked either 1 or 2: No. 1 Molinaro (149), No. 1 David Taylor (165), No. 2 Ed Ruth (174), No. 2 Quentin Wright (184), No. 6 Cameron Wade (285), No. 8 Nico Megaludis (125), No. 8 Dylan Alton (157) and No. 12 Morgan McIntosh (197).

Iowa counters with six ranked wrestlers: No. 2 Matt McDonough (125), No. 2 Tony Ramos (133), No. 3 Montell Marion (141), No. 6 Mike Evans (165), No. 9 Ethen Lofthouse and No. 12 Bobby Telford (285).

Despite the edge in ranked wrestlers, the match figures to be close.

"If we have the chance to get bonus points, we absolutely need them," Sanderson said. "We've got to win the close matches, the tight matches. Those are the matches that win these dual meets. Our guys have got to want it and we have to go fight for it."

Even if the Hawkeyes repeat the 22-13 win they posted a year ago, the Nittany Lions said they won't let it derail their goal of repeating as Big Ten and national champions.

"Win or lose, we plan on winning, it's not going to make our season either way," Sanderson said. "We're going to move on and prepare for the Big Ten (tournament). Do we want to win this dual? Absolutely. It's as big as it gets for us."

Wrestling background to help Pavlenko in Big 12

August 28th, 2011 by Tom

By Bobby La Gesse

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."

He said the physicality of wrestling helps on the football field, and moves like double leg takedowns help with tackling and hand contact. It also helps with conditioning.

"When wrestling season is over and I go to football, it's easy and comes to you pretty easy," Pavlenko said. "You get more out of it, because you are in better shape from wrestling."

He recorded 133 tackles last season and is a Rivals.com three-star prospect.

Pavlenko said he would consider wrestling at ISU, but added he wants to concentrate on football.

"Maybe in the offseason I would go in two or three times a week and stay in shape, but that all depends on the coaches" Pavlenko said.

At a minimum, he would like to wrestle Seeley at some point in the offseason.

"By then, I bet we'll know each other real good," Pavlenko said. "I imagine it would be pretty fun."

Weatherman suspended from Cyclones wrestling team

July 13th, 2011 by Tom

by KJ Pilcher

Trent Weatherman

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.

Iowa’s 2012 wrestling class could be one of all-time best

July 10th, 2011 by Tom

Iowa Wrestling

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."

Said Laux: "It motivates me to get better every day. I have a great opportunity to practice with them. I can test myself to see where I'm at and see what I need to work on. They help me out and we're all friends, no matter what."

This is a bountiful crop for the state. Iowans occupied nine of the top 82 spots in InterMat's list of the nation's top 100 college prospects in the 2012 class.

"Everywhere you look (in Iowa) there's some top-level kids," Urbandale coach Mike Moreno said. "Every year you're going to have some top kids in Iowa, but it seems like the level some of these kids are at in this senior class is pretty crazy."

The 2012 class is positioned to write its own chapter in the Iowa high school record books.

Only five wrestlers in Iowa history have finished their high school careers without a loss and two in the same class have never done it.

There could be three in 2012. Clark and Des Moines Roosevelt's John Meeks are undefeated three-time state champions. Davenport Assumption's Topher Carton is 121-0 in his prep career with a pair of Illinois titles and one Iowa championship on his resume.

There have only been 42 wrestlers who have reached the state finals four times. Peters, who owns a 148-1 career record and a 108-match winning streak, and Southeast Polk's Willie Miklus could join that group.

DeVos, who won state high school titles in Minnesota in seventh and eighth grade and another as a sophomore at Waverly-Shell Rock, has 227 career wins and needs 37 to crack the top 10 all-time on the national victory list.

What's more, there are others in the group who have won big on the national circuit. Laux and Iowa City West teammates Jack Hathaway and Justin Koethe won national titles at the Cadet level.

"It's shaping up to be one of the better classes coming out of here, I think," said Wyatt Schultz, owner of The Predicament, a publication that produces Iowa high school rankings. "You've got so many kids. This is a deep class."

The gold standard for Iowa high school classes is 1987. The group produced nearly a dozen Division-I All-Americans, including Olympic champion Tom Brands and two-time World champ Terry Brands.

Four-time state champions Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere headlined a talented 2005 group. Classmates Ryan Morningstar and Mitch Mueller won Junior National titles.

Borschel went on to win an NCAA title at Iowa and teammate Joe Slaton was an NCAA runner-up.

National champ Matt McDonough and NCAA runner-up Andrew Long have been the college stars of a talented 2008 class.

"It would be an honor to be mentioned (as one of the best classes)," Laux said. "But right now, I wouldn't even put us in the same class as (the others). We haven't done anything yet."

« Previous Entries