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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."

2012 Olympic Trials coming to Iowa City

January 19th, 2011 by Tom

By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter

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.

"The Iowa City local organizing committee was selected based upon their proven track record of hosting large and successful wrestling events, as well as a history of drawing strong fan support," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. 'We are committed to working tirelessly with the organizing committee and the entire community to host the most successful U.S. Olympic Team Trials in our history."

Iowa City is the perfect place to host it , according to past support of the sport. According to the UI wrestling media guide, Iowa has participated in front of 48 of the top 49 largest college dual crowds, including 32 against Iowa State University. Iowa City has hosted four dual meets that have drawn a crowd of more than 15,000, dating back to 1983"²s Iowa vs. Iowa State dual. In 2008, Iowa State's visit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena attracted a record 15,955 fans.

The Iowa City area and many other communities in Eastern Iowa are expected to benefit from the national t0urnament to be held in Iowa City. Fans are expected to attend the meet, spending millions on food, lodging and entertainment. Previous hosts have generated as much as $10 million to their community.

"Every hotel in the corridor will probably be full for those three days," Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Joshua Schamberger told KCRG-TV. "Not just Coralville and Iowa City, but Cedar Rapids as well."

Cornell College wrestling coach and former Hawkeye Wrestling Club Coach Mike Duroe, who was a member of the local organizing committee that gave a final presentation Jan. 12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., said 14.7 million people live within a 200-mile radius of Iowa City.

"This community is fired up to welcome our nation's best to Carver Hawkeye Arena and will come together as they have so many times to produce a Trials that is remembered for years to come," said Schamberger. "Our entire community couldn't be more excited by this news. We look forward to creating an athlete and fan experience that will carry on through London."

The accomplishment was praised by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa. He offered his congratulations to the UI Athletics Department , the ICCCACVB and the leaders from Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty.

"It is exciting that Iowa City has the opportunity to host an event that will showcase our nation's brightest wrestling stars as well as Iowa's rich wrestling tradition," said Loebsack. "I would like to congratulate the Iowa City local organizing committee, and I know they will host successful Trials that will help increase the visibility of the sport and highlight the best the University of Iowa and Iowa City have to offer."

Iowa Coach Tom Brands credited the efforts of UI assistant athletics director Les Steenlage, who is well-known for running NCAA championship events, including four at Iowa since 1986, Schamberger and Duroe.

"That team is top-notch," Brands said of the organizing committe. "It was a slam dunk if we communicated. We communicated."

Brands, who along with Gable, Brands' twin brother, Terry, and Lincoln McIlravy, represent the city and university's rich tradition in international competition. Tom Brands and Gable won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 1972, respectively. Terry Brands and McIlravy won bronze medals. Seventeen former Hawkeyes have earned spots on U.S. Olympic teams dating back to Leslie Beers in 1928. Many have coached at that level. Duroe has coached with USA Wrestling for 26 years, Gable has devoted more than 30 years, and the Brands brothers have contributed more than 10 years apiece.

"Wrestling is obviously, to a certain degree, religion in Iowa," Schamberger said.

The event promises to have a number of wrestlers from Iowa or the state universities competing for spots on the Olympic squad. In 2008, former Iowa wrestlers Doug Schwab and Mike Zadick qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

"Hopefully, we'll have several of those guys in contention so we can bring some local flavor," Gable said. "it's also nice to have local flavor when you're hosting an event.'

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club and clubs at Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa could provide some of that talent. Anamosa native and former two-time UNI All-American Moza Fay could be vying for one of the coveted spots, and having the event near home is thrilling.

"It's pretty exciting," former Hawkeye NCAA finalist Dan Dennis said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Dennis also said it's a perfect home for the tournament in a part of the country that appreciates the sport.

"I would think this is the best environment to have an event like this with our support of wrestling," Dennis said. "It really does. I can't imagine in a more ideal place."

Zadick has wrestled all over the world, including in Moscow as a member of the 2010 U.S. World Team. Zadick, an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes, said it is a big boost for the state, Iowa City and for wrestling. He is excited for a chance to compete in Carver-Hawkeye Arena again. The atmosphere is unmatched, and that includes the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials he experienced as a competitor.

"I've been so many places around the world," Zadick said. "There's nothing like Carver-Hawkeye Arena. There's nothing like it. Nothing even remotely close."

Gable set for next stage

January 12th, 2011 by Tom

Dan Gable Wrestling Coach

By MATT LEVINS

IOWA CITY "Dan Gable has been the face of amateur wrestling for the better part of the last half-century.

During that span, Gable has done just about everything there is to do for the sport of wrestling, both on the mat and off. He won two NCAA Championships during his competitive days at Iowa State University, losing just one match during his collegiate career. He went on to win a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, while not allowing a single point.

Gable then went into coaching. He was the head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa from 1976-1997, where he led the Hawkeyes to 15 NCAA national team titles and 21 straight Big Ten Conference championships. He coached 152 Al-Americans and 45 national champion during his 21 years as head coach at Iowa. He also coached the United States Olympic Freestyle team in 1980, 1984 and 2000.

Gable stepped down after the 1997 season and moved into an administrative position with the University of Iowa.

Gable has also served in numerous other capacities, including broadcaster on Iowa Public Television's College Wrestling series.

But most notably, Gable has been the greatest ambassador for amateur wrestling who ever lived. Gable is the face of wrestling. Whether it has been on the mat, in the corner, behind the microphone or at various gatherings, Gable has been at the forefront, the voice of the sport.

Gable "retired" from the University of Iowa at the end of December, freeing him up to do much more work behind the scenes. Just don't mention the word "retired" to Gable, for he knows his work has only just begun.

"Excuse me? What did you say?" Gable rebutted when asked about his "retirement." "That word is not in my vocabulary."

Gable recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the future of wrestling and his visions for the sport.

Remarkable Story of Cornell College Wrestling Dream Team of 1947

January 9th, 2011 by Tom

How a Small College Upset All Major Competitors to Win NCAA Wrestling Championship
Arno Niemand

Arno Niemand, longtime wrestling proponent, historian and member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, has written and published "The Dream Team of 1947, "a new book chronicling the extraordinary story of the 1947 wrestling team of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

The book tells the true story of a dedicated coach named Paul Scott, a nurturing small college and town, three young superstars fresh out of high school, and five service veterans who all bonded as a team, winning the "grand slam "of amateur wrestling. Cornell was the only school outside of Oklahoma to win the NCAA team championship, something no other private school has accomplished to this day. The Great Depression, World War II, the GI Bill, struggles with scholastic achievement and a serious car crash all affect the team's future in this real-life drama.

"Every once in a while, something happens in the world of sports that reminds us all why we care, and this story continues to inspire all who have heard it, "commented Niemand. "It's the story of the greatest team you've never heard of."

"This wrestling history is so enjoyable that I wonder why it took so long to be written, "commented Dan Gable, NCAA, World and Olympic champion, and legendary former coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. "Thanks for giving us another reason to love the sport."

More details can be found at http://dreamteam47.com. The book is currently available at Amazon.com and select book stores.

About Arno Niemand

Mr. Niemand is a 1956 graduate of Cornell University, where he was on the wrestling team. He was later inducted into the Cornell Hall of Distinguished Wrestling Alumni. He earned his MBA in 1958 from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. Throughout his life, Mr. Niemand has continued to support the sport of wrestling, and in 2008 received the FILA Gold Star, the highest award given to an individual by the world governing body of wrestling. In 2009, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, earning the Order of Merit.

As previous owner and chairman of Body Bar Inc., Niemand has sponsored the USA Wrestling Women's National Team since 2003.

SOURCE Arno Niemand

Should someone clean up MMA fighting?

February 28th, 2010 by Tom

BY JENNIFER JACOBS - desmoinesregister.com

No one stopped 17-year-old Jerod Botts of Waverly from climbing into the cage for a mixed martial arts fight even though he was underage, didn't have a parent's permission and had never fought before. An experienced fighter beat him badly, leaving him with a broken nose, a cracked eye socket and vision damage.

When 20-year-old Zach Kirk of Shenandoah was paralyzed from the neck down in an amateur fight, the promoter who staged the event didn't offer to pay medical expenses " and wasn't required by law to do so.

The fist-pumping adrenaline rush and freewheeling style of combat draws young fighters despite the danger. The intoxicating swirl of bloody spectacle, thumping music and alcohol attracts crowds to bars and concert halls across Iowa.

Industry insiders, in interviews with The Des Moines Register, said they love the sport, but they believe certain practices in Iowa's amateur fight scene lead to exploitation and injuries and need to be cleaned up.

Iowa is one of 15 states with no regulation of amateur mixed martial arts fights. Amateur fighting is illegal in six states. Other states have either regulation by state officials or oversight by a third-party sanctioning body.

A bill to change Iowa's law has passed the Iowa Senate and is now before the Iowa House.

"There is a very dark side to some of these unregulated fights, "said Franklin DeToye, a mixed martial arts referee and trainer in the Quad Cities.

Some promoters let fighters into the ring even if they're impaired by alcohol or drugs, don't check IDs for birth dates, and pit lighter, rookie fighters against bigger, veteran foes. They don't require blood tests, leaving fighters vulnerable to catch a disease if an opponent with HIV or hepatitis gets cut and blood flies.

Iowa has more amateur fighters in mixed martial arts than most states because of the state's deep roots in wrestling, insiders said. Any Iowan can usually find a show at least once a week within 60 miles, they said.

Iowa doesn't regulate mixed martial arts fights if the contestants aren't paid. Iowa Labor Commissioner David Neil said some promoters pay fighters under the table " $100 to $1,500 per fight " to pretend they're amateurs to avoid following government rules. Neil has championed the drive to regulate amateur fights.

Sen. William Dotzler, D-Waterloo, who led the bill to unanimous passage in the Senate a week ago, said: "The more we expose some of the underbelly of the amateur fighting world, the more disturbing it is. There are good promoters, and there are promoters who are exploiting our youth."

The sport at its best showcases athletes skilled in boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, judo and other martial arts disciplines.

Adam Miller, a 25-year-old fighter from Cherokee, said the amateur circuit is a good way to test skills and stay fit. If fighters prove themselves, they can become professionals; even lesser-known fighters can earn $1,000 each bout, and the stars can earn hundreds of thousands in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or Strikeforce circuits.

Andrew Fichter, 21, an Iowa fighter who recently moved to New Mexico, said he was a quiet youth who never got in trouble. He got in the cage twice because "if I was ever in a situation where I needed to defend myself, I wanted to know if I was able to."

The sport at its worst is "a bunch of thugs street brawling, "said Jason Neef, who owns an online mixed martial arts data service.

Anyone can put on an amateur fight in Iowa, set whatever rules and "take any kid who saw mixed martial arts on TV and wants to fight now, "said Neef, of Kansas City. "For the safety of the fighters, it's a travesty."

Referee says some care little for fighter safety

DeToye, the referee from Davenport, said he has seen fighters under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs who were in no condition to enter the ring. In two cases, he argued with promoters to stop the youths from fighting. Both times, he was overruled, so he refused to oversee the bout. The promoters called in other referees willing to ignore the safety risks, he said.

In one case, the intoxicated fighter was badly beaten.

"The fighter was carried to a back room and left on the floor unattended, "DeToye said. "I found him there and called an ambulance. He was unconscious and choking on his own vomit from what I believed to be a concussion or worse."

In the other case, a young man with no mixed martial arts experience was matched against a professional fighter. When the rookie fighter's arm broke just seconds into the bout, "the ref didn't notice until I yelled, "DeToye said. "The crowd cheered as his arm dangled and flopped around."

A promoter in Iowa can insist an amateur fight continue, even if it's getting ugly.

DeToye said an amateur fighter was knocked unconscious twice in one night, then fought again in the next two weeks and was knocked out twice more. In professional bouts, fighters who are knocked out get a 30-day suspension to allow healing.

The lack of regulation in Iowa's amateur scene also troubles Charles Craft, a promoter who operates on the eastern side of the state.

"I'd rather do fights in Illinois, "said Craft, owner of American Combat Sports in Fort Madison. "They know what right and wrong is."

The Illinois State Boxing Commission doesn't regulate amateur events, but promoters there can choose to sanction their events with the commission. Minnesota uses official state regulators, as does Nebraska, which has tougher regulations than what Iowa is considering.

Some promoters working in Iowa already take steps to protect fighters beyond what lawmakers propose; others do little to ensure fighter safety, insiders said.

For some promoters, "it's all about action in the cage, "Craft said. "They want it as exciting, as brutal as possible, because that's what the fans want. It's bad in Iowa."

Amateur, professional fights could be regulated similarly

Iowa promoters disagree on just how much regulation is needed.

The proposed bill, Senate File 2286, would let the state take a 5 percent cut of gate receipts to pay for regulation at amateur events. It would also require promoters to carry $25,000 in health insurance per amateur fighter and $20,000 in life insurance, the same as for professional fighters. Supporters of the legislation think promoters, who make money on tickets and videos, can afford it.

"They're making a fortune on these kids, "Dotzler said. "If they're charging $25 at the door, and you've got 400 people, that's 10 grand."

Craft thinks that the health insurance coverage should be no higher than $10,000 per fighter and that life insurance is unnecessary because deaths are so rare.

Other promoters, such as John Halverson of Midwest Cage Championship in Des Moines, don't mind the insurance proposals, or the 5 percent cut.

"If that's what it takes to make the sport better, then I really don't see that as a hindrance, "he said.

Midwest Cage Championship stages shows a couple of times a month, with about four slots for amateurs and a dozen for professionals. Halverson said he has tapped the health insurance required for pro fighters just once, for a broken jaw.

Halverson sets rules to protect amateurs, such as a two-minute limit per round and a ban on any kicking.

Amateur fighters said it's not uncommon to use drugs or alcohol to loosen inhibitions and ease nerves before a bout. Even though the law doesn't call for it, Halverson requires fighters to pass an alcohol breath test.

"Let a kid fight after a couple drinks, he gets his arm or jaw broken, or worse he gets hit and goes into a coma, "Halverson said. "It's just foolish to drink. Your perception would be thrown off."

With regulation, Halverson said, "the 300-pound tough guy fighting the 150-pound guy that got dared into fighting by some of this buddies " those things aren't going to happen."


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Iowa’s Brent Metcalf sets lofty goals for this season and beyond

November 29th, 2009 by Tom

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Iowa's Brent Metcalf shoots in on North Carolina State's Darrion Caldwell during the 2009 NCAA finals in St. Louis. Photo by Larry Slater.

IOWA CITY "Brent Metcalf took the college wrestling world by storm during the 2007-08 season.

Metcalf's first season as an Iowa Hawkeye was a memorable one as he won his first NCAA title, led Iowa to the national team title and won the Hodge Trophy as the best college wrestler in the country.

He came back strong again last season, extending his winning streak to 69 matches before he was upset by North Carolina State's Darrion Caldwell in the 2009 NCAA finals. Metcalf helped the Hawkeyes edge Ohio State for the team title last March. Iowa won the title without crowning an individual champion.

Metcalf jumped right into freestyle competition after the NCAAs and placed second at the 2009 U.S. Nationals. He fell short of placing at the U.S. World Team Trials.

He just started his senior season as the nation's top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds for the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes.

Metcalf took time out of his busy schedule to grant an interview with USA Wrestling's Craig Sesker following a workout last week at the wrestling room in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

You and your Iowa Hawkeye team are favored to win NCAAs this year. How eager were you for this season to start?

We have a great group of veterans in this room, and we have a great group of young guys who are in here fighting hard every day. It's great to see, that's for sure. The young guys are really pushing the older guys and keeping them honest. The way last year ended, we are not in here feeling like we are the national champions and feeling like we are on top of the world. It was disappointing how we finished. We feel like we are still fighting for something because we really didn't get what we wanted. There are a lot of guys in here who are really motivated.

You are a senior now, how different is that for you?

It shouldn't be any different. You live and train the same way. The philosophy is the same whether you are a freshman or a senior, so for me it's not any different. You can't go into panic mode or think this is all or nothing because it's my last shot as a senior. For me, I have a job to do and I do it at the highest level that I possibly can. The biggest thing for us again is we're a little bit ornery and a little bit unsatisfied because we didn't get what we wanted last season.

What did you learn from finishing second at the NCAA tournament last season?

My philosophy on wrestling is the guy who wants it the most is going to win. If I'm going to answer the question "why did I lose the match? "because I didn't want it the most. Do I feel like I didn't want it the most? No, probably not, but that's got to be my answer because that's my philosophy. What I have to take away from that is I have to make sure I'm going out there to take a championship away from my opponent. You don't step out there to just continue what you're doing. It's not another match. You can't be complacent. You've got to get yourself amped up and get your mind and body ready to win a championship every single time. Especially in those big matches. I need to go out there and win and take what I want. I have to have extremely high motivation to win every time I go out there. I need to have a high sense of need and want and desire. If that's what was lacking last year, then that's what has to change this year. I felt good going into that match. I just have to work toward that perfect preparation to get ready for a big match.

Did you take a break after the World Team Trials?

After the World Team Trials, I took a pretty good break and spent time with my family and my fiancée. I'm not a big break guy. It's harder to take a break when you're not happy about how you've wrestled. I was still thinking about those losses. When you don't perform the way you wanted to it's hard to take your mind away from wrestling because you're constantly thinking about it.

You lost close matches at the 2009 World Team Trials to Olympian Doug Schwab and eventual Trials runner-up Jared Frayer. Does that just add more fuel to the fire when you compete internationally?

I don't know if losing is motivation. I think the fact that I didn't perform the way I performed against those guys in this practice room is what motivates me the most. I wrestled both those guys a lot in the room. I felt like I took a step back when I lost to them at the Trials. You can't concede anything to them, even if they are your coaches. I just need to learn from that and keep improving.

What kind of advice has Iowa head coach Tom Brands given you entering this season?

Just keep doing what I'm doing "continue to have that same drive and motivation. Once you get to being the best, you still have to find what pushed you to get to that level. You have to go back to your younger days and think about what you did when you were scrapping and trying to prove yourself.

What is it like being around twins Tom and Terry Brands on a daily basis?

It's an honor, and a dream come true. It's awesome. These guys were my idols when I was growing up. It's more than just wrestling when you talk about Tom and Terry Brands. They care about you personally and they take the time to get involved with your life and what you're doing off the mat. They are special people who live the right way. I've become a better person by being around them. They teach you how to lead a championship lifestyle "from the way you treat your girlfriend, to the way you treat your neighbor, to the way you treat your teammates, to the way you take care of yourself. They live by very high standards on and off the mat.

How excited are you about competing internationally in freestyle wrestling once you are done with your college career?

My goal is to win multiple World and Olympic championships. I have very high standards for what I want to do internationally. Last year, there was maybe too much focus on freestyle where I maybe looked past the NCAA Championships to the World Championships. Right now, the focus is on this season and Omaha 2010 for the NCAA Championships. I want to win the NCAA title and then worry about everything that comes after that.

Jake Herbert came right out of Northwestern earlier this year and won a silver medal in his first trip to the World Championships. Did you watch any of his matches at the World Championships in September?

It doesn't surprise me, what Jake Herbert did at the Worlds. He's a competitor. He wrestles offensively and he doesn't hold back out there. He goes to his offense and he works really hard out there to win. His style is similar to mine in that respect. I hope he's not happy with the silver and I know that he isn't. Hopefully, he will continue to work hard and he will get where he needs to be. It doesn't matter where you come from as long as you have that drive and focus to be the best. Like I said, I want to be the best wrestler in the World. I know I have to keep working hard to get there.

Iowa Extends Dual Win Streak to 45, But Brands Isn’t Happy

November 28th, 2009 by Tom

Andy Hamilton "¢ Iowa City Press-Citizen

The top-ranked Iowa wrestling team did enough Friday to beat up on two more opponents and set another school record for dual dominance.

But the Hawkeyes didn't do enough to appease coach Tom Brands during wins against Bucknell and Rutgers in Lewisburg, Pa.

"There is seven minutes to wrestle and much, much more has to happen in those seven minutes, "Brands said. "I'm not sure we understand that right now. We could understand it, but then what's the hesitancy? That's the disconnect. We've got to figure it out. There's got to be more happening in seven minutes."

The Hawkeyes (7-0) won 16 matches while beating Bucknell 29-7 and handling Rutgers 33-9 to extend their school record of consecutive dual wins to 45 and match the program record for most wins on the road with 31.

Freshman Matt McDonough registered a pin and a technical fall in a pair of victories at 125, Daniel Dennis posted a technical fall and a major decision at 133 against No. 13 David Marble of Bucknell, and Jay Borschel notched two majors at 174, including a 10-1 demolition of Bucknell's ninth-ranked Shane Riccio.

McDonough, Dennis and Borschel have scored bonus points for the Hawkeyes in all seven of their matches this season.

Top-ranked Brent Metcalf had his string of five straight pins snapped when he went down to the wire before pulling out a 3-2 win against No. 13 Kevin LeValley of Bucknell at 149.

"(LeValley) had a game plan and the game plan worked, "Brands said. "We get sharper finishing and we can widen the gap that way. If we do finish, the gap is probably wider there, but there's not enough attempts. There has to be more attempts."

The Hawkeyes are off until the Dec. 6 showdown with No. 2 Iowa State in Ames.

"That's what we live for, "Brands said. "We better get sharper quick."

Iowa 29, Bucknell 7

125 -- Matt McDonough (UI) tech. fall Derrik Russell 19-4, 7:00.

133 -- Daniel Dennis (UI) maj. dec. David Marble 14-5.

141 -- Dan LeClere (UI) dec. Zac Hancock 9-5.

149 -- Brent Metcalf (UI) dec. Kevin LeValley 3-2.

157 -- Brantley Hooks (B) dec. Matt Ballweg 6-1 .

165 -- Andy Rendos (B) maj. dec. Aaron Janssen 10-2 .

174 -- Jay Borschel (UI) maj. dec. Shane Riccio 10-1.

184 -- Phillip Keddy (UI) maj. dec. Rob Waltko 12-4.

197 -- Chad Beatty (UI) dec. Jay Hahn 11-5.

Hwt. -- Jordan Johnson (UI) dec. Joe McMullan 7-3.

Iowa 33, Rutgers 9

125 -- Matt McDonough (UI) pinned Vinny Dellafave 3:39.

133 -- Daniel Dennis (UI) tech. fall Billy Ashnault 20-5, 7:00.

141 -- Dan LeClere (UI) dec. Trevor Melde 7-3.

149 -- Brent Metcalf (UI) tech. fall Kellen Bradley 20-5 in 6:27.

157 -- Aaron Janssen (UI) dec. Braden Turner 2-0.

165 -- Gregory Zanetti (R) dec. Jake Kerr 8-6 SV .

174 -- Jay Borschel (UI) maj. dec. Daniel Rinaldi 16-3.

184 -- Grant Gambrall (UI) maj. dec. Jesse Boyden 11-3.

197 -- Chad Beatty (UI) dec. Lamar Brown 9-3.

Hwt. -- Dominick Russo (R) pinned Jordan Johnson 1:24.

Ex ISU Coach Jim Gibbons To Run for Congress

November 23rd, 2009 by Tom

By KATHIE OBRADOVICH "¢ [email protected]

Republican Jim Gibbons of Des Moines, a former Iowa State University wrestling coach, will run for Congress in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District.

The winner of the GOP primary will take on incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell.

Gibbons, 50, said Thursday that he is leaving his job at Wells Fargo Advisors to pursue a full-time campaign. "I think anything that you do successfully, you can't do that with one foot in and one foot out, "he said.

He said he began thinking seriously about running when he got a call from an old friend, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion from the University of Wisconsin.

"He called me up in the middle of the summer and he asked, 'Jim have you ever considered running for Congress?' And I said, 'Every day.' "

Iowa has had a few wrestlers in top-level political positions, including former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa City, and former Iowa House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs. Republicans have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to recruit former Hawkeye wrestling coach Dan Gable to run for office.

"I think we're used to being in the arena alone, and going up against your component. So I think that lends itself well to being competitive, "Gibbons said.

Gibbons, a national champion wrestler and All-American in his junior year at ISU, coached ISU's wrestling team from 1986 to 1992. The team won the NCAA championship in 1987.

He said he's applying his background in coaching to his campaign - focusing on fundamentals like raising money and building up his campaign team. He notes that his coaching background has taught him how to motivate people and his financial services experience means he knows how to reach and talk to donors and other supporters. He also has TV experience, as a commentator for ESPN, among others.

"Excessive government spending "is the issue he points to as a priority, although he's not ready to talk about what federal programs he would cut. He's a critic of the federal stimulus bill as failing to create or sustain jobs, and he opposes cap and trade.

Gibbons will face Dave Funk of Runnells, a retired pilot, in the GOP primary. Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale also has said he's considering running. Gibbons starts with an advantage over the GOP field in terms of name identification, and he'll likely be able to raise the money to mount a competitive challenge.

Cael Tries To Clear The Air RE Cyclones

October 5th, 2009 by Tom

by SEAN KEELER

State College, Pa. " The wrestling room is bigger than a VFW hall, the mats wide as a country mile. Four high-definition televisions hang on the walls, each one placed strategically a few feet apart from the next.

"It's a nice room, "Cael Sanderson says. "But obviously a room's not going to win for you."

He smiles. Penn State's Lorenzo Wrestling Complex opened in 2006 to the tune of $4 million. Tucked neatly into the west side of campus, it's more a penthouse than a palace, but every corner sparkles.
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"I think it was just a lot of bad information that was out there as to why I made the decision, "Sanderson said of the stunning coup that brought the former Iowa State wrestling coach here from Ames five months ago. "But really, that wasn't the reason that I took the job. I was just looking at a long-term opportunity here."

At the most recent NCAA wrestling championships, a dozen Pennsylvania natives were named to the All-American team; two were natives of Iowa. Steve Sanderson, Cael's father, told The (Penn State) Daily Collegian last spring that his son had discussed a move to State College for at least a year, if the job ever came open.

"People were saying that they offered me so much money that I couldn't turn it down, "the younger Sanderson says. "And whoever started that rumor, he's probably sitting back having a good time, I guess."

Sanderson doesn't deny that he got a nice raise - although he's not sure where the speculation of a 5-year, $2.5-million contract came from. And for the conspiracy theorists out there, he also takes issue with the inference that there was some sort of conflict with Cyclones athletic director Jamie Pollard.

"That's not true at all. I like Jamie, "Sanderson says. "He was supportive of the program. I mean, that's real simple. It has nothing to do with Jamie Pollard. That's not why (I left).

"I was looking at Penn State, just because of the long-term, the things that I've (already) talked about. It's really that simple. There's nothing behind-the-scenes or anything like that. Maybe it would be exciting if that was the case, but it's not."

That said, the divorce wasn't entirely peaceful. A day or two after his move was announced, Sanderson recalls, his wife answered the door at their home in Ames to find an irate Iowa State fan, who'd turned up to give them an earful of grief.

"We just didn't answer the door after that, "Sanderson continues with a chuckle. "A little later - actually, it was kind of funny, although my wife wasn't too happy about it - they threw some Iowa State wrestling gear on the front porch. Later that night there was some Iowa State wrestlers over at my house. They were pretty happy with it. They got some free shirts. It really wasn't a big deal."

Other than struggling to sell that house back in Ames, Sanderson says he's found closure with Iowa State. He'd even welcome a series with the Cyclones sometime down the road, if the schedules could get worked out.

"I would guess that it's something we'll be talking about doing, "Sanderson says. "But we haven't discussed that yet. I think they're in good hands. It's just - life goes on."

Sanderson's focus now is the Lions' first dual - at Lehigh on Nov. 13 - and proving that his bosses were wise in their investment. Cael's shiny new penthouse is wired for sound, as is the giant, glittering weight room behind it.

"If we want a workout at 3 in the morning on a Sunday or a Saturday, that's great, "Sanderson says.

Maybe it wasn't about money. But the perks sure as heck don't hurt.

Lackey, Hand Put On Clinic in Quad Cities

September 21st, 2009 by Tom

For most high school athletes, particularly those competing in fall sports, what looms ahead mostly is a diversion at this stage of the school year.

What Matt Lackey and Wes Hand are offering high school and upper-level middle-school wrestlers at Bettendorf's wrestling room, however, is anything but a diversion.

With five all-American awards between them "Lackey a national champion from Moline and Illinois, and Hand at Iowa "the pair has so much wrestling street cred that they can command a great deal of attention.

And they are, every Sunday evening, at Bettendorf's wrestling room from 5:30 to 7 p.m. offering clinics. There is no cost for the clinics, and the Q-C residents, Lackey and Hand, like it that way.

"As long as I have two cents to throw in and somebody to listen, I'll do it," said Lackey, who like Hand, doesn't have future coaching aspirations. "I'm always going to be a part of wrestling. I'll always be a coach. Obviously, Wes and I are not affiliated with anybody, so we're able to teach and help kids out when coaching staffs can't."

The clinic idea came from officers within the Bettendorf Wrestling Club, and though Bulldogs coach Dan Knight is offering his room and many of his team members are taking part, he's otherwise hands-off.

"Coaches can't have control of their kids (now)," Knight said. "Kids get tired of working out alone, and this is a chance to get different workout partners, and these are two guys that love the sport and love to come out and help kids learn it."

The clinic runs through Nov. 8.

"I didn't do a lot with the sport since I've been out of coaching, and this was a good opportunity to be a part of it," Hand said.

"The hay is made in these few months and in the spring. These are the months where you get that wrestling shape, develop your technique, and I like to do whatever I can to teach them."

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