Solon's Tyler Linderbaum shows football and wrestling are a good match

Spartans senior and Iowa football recruit caps career with second state medal

Solon’s Tyler Linderbaum (right) wrestles Bishop Heelan’s Kobe Clayborne (left) in their 285-pound match during the Class 2A quarterfinals at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Linderbaum won by decision, 3-0. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Solon’s Tyler Linderbaum (right) wrestles Bishop Heelan’s Kobe Clayborne (left) in their 285-pound match during the Class 2A quarterfinals at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Linderbaum won by decision, 3-0. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The correlation between wrestling and football is well known.

The sports are bridged by the skills that lead to success in both. College football coaches have even expressed their preference to recruit players with wrestling experience.

The very fact was a selling point when Solon Coach Blake Williams began to persuade a basketball player to take the mat the summer between his freshman and sophomore year.

Tyler Linderbaum made the switch, replacing his older brother, Logan, as the heavyweight starter. Not only did he bolster his ability on the football field that made him a nationally-ranked lineman and University of Iowa signee, but the Spartans senior finished as a two-time state medalist, placing third in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 2A state wrestling tournament Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena.

Linderbaum is the latest in a fraternity of prep wrestlers, who continued their football career with the Hawkeyes. They include state champions Austin Blythe and Tristan Wirfs, who Linderbaum recorded a pin against last year, state finalist James Ferentz, who was on the New England Patriots practice squad and former Solon state placewinner James Morris.

“Wrestling has helped with a lot,” Linderbaum said. “Just from the mental side of things. It will help me for the rest of my life, going through all those hard practices (and) matches and just to fight through it.

“I think that is one of the biggest things. Also, I think I have gotten better with my hands and feet, knowing how to use leverage.”

Williams said wrestling enhances footwork, hand fighting, positioning, balance and one-on-one competition, which is crucial in the development of linemen and hard to replicate with drills and weightlifting alone.


“It has been fun to watch Tyler grow as a football player and a wrestler over the last three years,” Williams said. “You see a lot of articles that wrestling and football go hand-in hand and this is a prime example.”

Linderbaum noticed the better football players wrestled, so he decided to give it a try, despite liking basketball. In just his second prep season, Linderbaum finished fifth at state a year ago. He won 122 career matches. Did he imagine this type of outcome?

“Not at all,” Linderbaum said with a laugh. “I didn’t know how I was going to be. I still think I’m pretty new to wrestling. There still is stuff I don’t know.”

Linderbaum (38-1) showed his football prowess on the mat, almost tackling Dubuque Wahlert’s Blake Bradley to open the scoring in his final bout. He even drove him out of bounds a couple times. Linderbaum showed toughness, getting a reversal and three nearfall to win, 7-3, in tiebreaker overtime.

“It feels awesome,” Linderbaum said. “Obviously, it isn’t what I wanted to finish at but to come back from a loss with two good wins was nice.

“To finish my high school career with a win feels even better.”

Solon had three finalists, including fourth-place 120-pounder Zeb Gnida and Zack Bevans, who was sixth at 152.

Wrestling ended up being the right option for the 6-foot-2, 270-pounder expected to play offense for the Hawkeyes. He would encourage others to give wrestling a chance.

“I know it has helped me out but everyone is different in what they need to get better at,” Linderbaum said. “I’d say give it a shot and it would benefit them. Not only for football but for the rest of your life.”



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Cascade hadn’t had an Iowa state wrestling tournament place winner since 2005 when Brad Staner (HWT) got sixth. Junior Nolan Noonan hadn’t even started elementary school yet.

On Saturday, Noonan became Cascade’s first placewinner in 13 years. Noonan (126) got sixth, becoming Cascade’s 12th all-time place-winner. Noonan lost to Wyatt Crocker of Logan-Mongolia by fall in 39 seconds in the fifth-place match.

Noonan went 3-3 in the tournament and finished 54-8 this season.

(Ben Visser contributed to this report)


Former University of Iowa three-time NCAA finalist and Centerville two-time state champ Chad Zaputil highlights the list of 2018 IHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductees.

Zaputil was a three-time state finalist and a four-time qualifier, posting a 121-5 career record as a prep. He closed his career with 67 straight wins, going 95-1 his last three seasons. As a Hawkeye, Zaputil was a three-time Big Ten champion and was a member of three national champion teams. He went 109-8-1 as a Hawkeye.

Zaputil is joined by Waterloo East two-time state champion Don Buzzard, former Waverly-Shell Rock state title coach Rick Caldwell, Eagle Grove three-time state titlist Mark Kist, former Spencer Coach David Schaefer and Centerville four-time state champion T.J. Sebolt, who was the first Iowa prep to reach 200 career victories, going 207-1 and becoming the state’s 17th four-timer.


Cedar Rapids Prairie led Metro and Iowa City programs with six medalists, placing all but one of its qualifiers on the awards stand.

Senior Trenten Wennermark placed third at 138, claiming his second straight medal. Derek Horak (182) and 195-pounder Ashton Stoner-DeGroot placed sixth. Austin Kegley (106), Conrad Braswell (120) and Mike Jasa (170) placed eighth for the Hawks.

Iowa City West had four placewinners. In addition to two finalists, Graham Gambrall (132) and heavyweight Guy Snow each placed sixth.


Three Iowa City High wrestlers earned medals, including fifth-place Ethan Wood-Finley at 106 and Joey Harney, who was eighth at 138.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy heavyweight Josh Vis completed a major turnaround season after a losing record a year ago. Vis finished seventh at heavyweight and was one of two Cougars placewinners.

Linn-Mar’s Jacob Wempen finished fifth at 170. Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Braxton Bolden closed his senior year with an eighth-place finish at 182.

In 1A, Iowa City Regina’s Ryan Schott placed sixth at 160.

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