Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI have a combined 20 wrestlers who’ll take the mat today inside New York’s Madison Square Garden — site of the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Audio: Pat Curtis report :40
Penn State is favored to win their fifth team title in six years. The Hawkeyes, with wrestlers at 9 of the 10 weights, plan to challenge the Nittany Lions.
Iowa’s Sammy Brooks is the number-two seed at 184, but Brooks says everyone he’ll face over the next three days will be tough. “I’ve been working all year and seeding has never really been important to me,” Brooks said. “You’re going to wrestle who you’re going to wrestle and it’s going to be tough.”
Like Brooks, Cory Clark at 133 and Brandon Sorenson at 149 are the number-two seeds at their respective weights. Coach Tom Brands says all 9 Hawkeye wrestlers are capable of bringing home first place medals.
“We talk about things that we can control and that is…when you step out onto the mat, make sure you’re ready to go,” Brands said. “There’s a path and really that path is one match at a time. It’s that simple.”
Iowa State has six competitors in the tournament, led by eighth seeded Earl Hall at 133. Northern Iowa’s highest-seeded wrestler in Dylan Peters, the 9-seed at 125.