Iowa Hawkeyes

Wrestling Weekend That Was: Hawkeye Wrestling Club chilled out

Observations in wrestling for Jan. 26-28

Wrestling season is quickly approaching its climax. Prep wrestlers in Iowa’s smallest classes begin the postseason Saturday, big schools will soon follow and college programs will face a similar situation. From chilling out with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club to warming up for the postseason, here is the Wrestling Weekend That Was.

Hawkeye Wrestling Club chilled out

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club has been a key staple around the University of Iowa wrestling program. The HWC provides wrestlers an opportunity to train and compete internationally. In turn, the current Hawkeye wrestlers benefit from being able to wrestle with and learn from the HWC members.

Former Iowa wrestlers like Tom Brands, Terry Brands, Randy Lewis and Ed and Lou Banach have won World or Olympic gold after their college careers were done. Recently, the HWC helped Thomas Gilman become a World silver medalist and Dan Dennis represent the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The club is dependent upon fundraising, allowing competitors to focus on training to become the world’s best. One of the most creative and fun events to raise money for support is the annual Arctic Plunge. Wrestlers, coaches, their family and fans take donations for a chance to don crazy costumes and dip in ice cold water. This year’s event had 54 participants at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville and brought in $186,232.36. An estimated 400-plus people attended.

“Fundraising for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club is instrumental to our club guys and our current collegiate athletes,” said two-time Hawkeye NCAA champion Mark Ironside, whose annual efforts earned him the honor of being the first member of the HWC Arctic Plunge Hall of Fame. “They both benefit from each other in many different ways. Raising the amount of money we did this year was so big for our guys. It takes a village.”

Ironside raised a little more than $32,000 and has been among the top fundraisers each of the seven years it has been held. This year, Ironside was third behind Matt McDonough ($32,382) and Hawkeye supporter and former Cedar Rapids Kennedy wrestler Nick Heeren, who raised a whopping $35,354 and jumped in the frigid water in memory of his late brother, Dan.

Jacob Warner and Nathan Burak represented the HWC Sunday at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix at Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Warner won a match at 202 pounds, while Burak competed at 213. Heavyweight Bobby Telford wrestled in the event Saturday, winning his opening bout.

Their participation is possible by the funds raised by the HWC and their cold-water waders.

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Taylor hits 100 wins

South Winneshiek wrestler Felicity Taylor recorded her 100th career victory Saturday, making her the first female wrestler in Iowa history to reach that win plateau on the varsity level.

Taylor won the 106-pound title at the Upper Iowa Conference held in Calmar. Taylor improved to 32-8 and won her third conference championship.

Parker upset

The defection of Kanen Storr left a hole at 141 for the Iowa State wrestling team. With two talented 133-pounders, the possibility of one taking his place was strong. It may be even stronger after Sunday.

Ian Parker moved up and defeated Oklahoma State’s two-time NCAA champion Dean Heil, 3-1, scoring the decisive takedown with a little more than a minute left. Parker was the lone ISU win in a 31-3 loss to the Cowboys.

Oh No-lf

Penn State NCAA champion Jason Nolf was assisted off the mat and injury defaulted his match against Rutgers’ John Van Brill Sunday. The two-time NCAA finalist and defending 157-pound champion is a key component to the Penn State lineup, which wrestles No. 2 Ohio State this week.

Penn State Coach Cael Sanderson did not talk to media after the dual that saw former Penn State 125-pounder Nick Suriano open the dual with a pin for the Scarlet Knights. Sanderson said on a weekly PSU Sports radio show that Nolf is expected to return for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

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Snyder wins gold at Yarygin

The Yarygin Grand Prix is considered one of the toughest tournaments in the entire world. Kyle Snyder captured his second straight gold medal performance at the annual tournament, winning the 213-pound crown for the second year in a row.

Snyder has won Olympic gold, two World titles and two Yarygin crowns in addition to being a heavy favorite to win his third NCAA title in March.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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