Kevin Jackson can hardly wait.
Iowa State’s first-year coach has been talking about Dec. 6 since the day he was hired.
Iowa vs. Iowa State.
No. 1 vs. No. 2.
Two-time defending NCAA champions vs. national championship hopefuls.
Sundays’ 6 p.m. dual meet at Hilton Coliseum is about as good as it gets in the sport of wrestling.
“We circled it. I know they circed it on their calendar,” Jackson said. “It’s a big part of the sport and one of the reasons I’m happy to be here.”
Jackson inherited a team capable of achieving some lofty goals.
The Cyclones boast a handful of All-Americans and a national champion in Jake Varner. One thing ISU’s talented senior class has yet to do is beat its in-state rival.
A victory Sunday would be the first step towards a big finish to their careers.
“Our goal is to win a national championship and the national championship goes through Iowa City,” Jackson said. “We are going to see where we are at right away. I anticipate our guys performing at a high level.”
Jackson and his coaching staff — along with volunteer assistants and training partners Nate Gallick and Trent and Travis Paulson — have been pushing a more scoring-driven approach.
Varner has made a living off winning matches 3-1 or 4-2. Jackson wants to see the star 197-pounder light up the scoreboard.
That goes for everybody. He’d like it to start this weekend.
“We are getting after some points,” Jackson said. “We are trying to wrestle with a higher level of intensity and take advantage of all scoring opportunities.”