AMES — Missing half of its regular lineup from this past season, what in the world is Iowa State’s wrestling team going to look like next season?
It’ll be young, that’s for sure. How young?
“If a kid comes in and believes he can be a national champion and I believe he can be a national champion, we are going to wrestle him,” coach Kevin Jackson said. “If not, we’ll redshirt him. ”
Previous Cyclone coaches Bobby Douglas and Cael Sanderson were steadfast in redshirting ALL their incoming freshmen. Jackson may not have that luxury with his new class, which is nearly 10 deep right now as the spring signing period approaches.
Three newly-crowned Iowa high school state champions will join the team: Centerville’s Mike England, Kyven Gadson of Waterloo East and Urbandale’s Mike Moreno. Finalists Trevor Voelker of Adel-DeSoto-Minburn and West Des Moines Valley’s Brandon Jones also will be Cyclones.
Three others — Joey Cozart (Brandon, Fla.), Ryak Finch (Safford, Ariz.) and Luke Goettl (Clarksdale, Ariz.) — are among Jackson’s first full recruiting class.
Does the coach prefer they sit or throw ‘em in there?
“I don’t know if I have any rules,” Jackson said. “This is only my second year.”
Ideally Jackson would like to get his newbies acclimated to the type of training and tactics he employs and allow their bodies to develop.
Results can happen quickly with the right person.
“We only had our hands on Andrew Long for seven months and he made great strides,” Jackson said of Long, who was an NCAA tournament finalist at 125 pounds in his first season on the mat, though he redshirted as a true freshman. “We have some other guys in the room who are equally as talented and can put themselves in that same situation.”
Sophomores Jerome Ward (184), Andrew Sorenson (157) and Dalton Jensen (141) will be expected to step it up, as will senior-to-be Jon Reader.
Jackson has high hopes for redshirts Trent Weatherman and Boaz Beard, too.
Year two of the Jackson era will be a rebuilding one.
“Next year I think we are going to do things a little smarter from a training aspect,” Reader said. “One thing I can promise you, we are going to work hard. We are going to be young but we are going to fight.”